Every summer, LANDac organises the ‘Land Governance for Development’ Summer School in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This year, the Summer School will take place from 3 – 14 July.
The large-scale acquisition of land in the Global South – often referred to as “land grabbing” or “the global land rush” – has received much attention from academics, policy-makers and the media in recent years. Especially following the food crisis (2003-2008) and stimulated by the growing demand for bio-energy, pressure on land in developing countries has intensified. Besides the demand for agricultural land, current land acquisitions are also related to tourism development, mineral extraction, industrial development, urbanization and even nature conservation. Local populations are often left defenceless in this ‘rush for land’ and governments lack capacity to address these challenges – or are sometimes themselves the drivers. As a result, access to and use of land and other natural resources, particularly in the developing world, is being transformed irreversibly. Furthermore, crises such as climate change and COVID-19, and the measures taken worldwide to curb the pandemic, are of great concern to the land governance community, as alarming observations are coming in about the loss of livelihoods and deepening poverty, but also of government crackdowns on civil society, the suspension of land administration services and irregular land acquisition.
Land governance in developing countries must deal with the multiple pressures and competing claims, whilst balancing economic growth, environmental protection and social justice. This course provides a multidisciplinary analysis of the ‘land rush’ within the more general context of land governance in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We will look at the history and drivers of the process; the diversity of stakeholders and networks involved; and the global policy instruments of which inclusive land governance is an integral feature, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda; as well as highlighting the urgency of current challenges and discussing innovative governance solutions.