A really important report from the International Land Coalition and Oxfam is just out called ‘Uneven Ground: Land Inequality at the Heart of Unequal Societies’, along with 17 supporting papers. Through new analysis it shows that land inequality is even larger than previously thought, and that this has dramatic effects on poor people’s livelihoods, particularly those of women and young people.
The debate about compensation of former white farmers in Zimbabwe continues to rage. The compensation agreement signed in July agreed a total amount of US$3.5 billion to pay for ‘improvements’ to the land that was expropriated. After 20 years of discussion, this was a major step forward. However, there seem to be multiple positions on the agreement and little consensus, along with much misunderstanding. However, some things are happening, and a joint resource mobilisation committee has been established with technical support from the World Bank and others.
The data revolution – characterised by the transition to big data, open data and new digital data infrastructures  – is projected to make an astonishing 44 billion terabytes of digital data and information available by the end of 2020 . Despite this plethora of information now available to us, about 1 billion people in 140 countries still feel insecure about their land and property rights .
Leon Verstappen, who is a professor of private law at the University of Groningen and deputy judge at the Court of appeals in The Hague, has stepped down as Chair of the Land Portal Board, a position he has held since the establishment of the Land Portal Foundation in 2014. Leon recounts his engagement with the Land Portal since its inception as a project over more than a decade and its evolution up to the present day.
The fallout from COVID-19 has triggered narratives about profound changes to economic ordering. A closer look provides a more complex picture, particularly for countries in the global South.
As the world begins to reckon with the scale of COVID-19’s economic impacts, there is a growing sense that the pandemic will reconfigure the role of state and market for years to come.
The Parliament of South Africa has agreed to amend the Constitution of the country in order to make it explicit that it is possible to expropriate land without paying compensation in order to further land reforms. The supporters of this move - the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – argue that this is necessary to speed up land reforms in order to overcome the continuing extreme and still largely racially defined inequalities in land ownership.
Over the past year, during my work in western Uganda, I have had the opportunity to get to know Paolyel Onencan. Paolyel is the Executive Director of Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO). Paolyel and his BIRUDO colleagues are doing good work around Uganda’s oil and gas development in the Albertine Graben, by helping families get better deals on compensation from the oil companies (Total and China National Offshore Oil Company) working in the region.
Montenegro is preparing another millennial nationalization, as land grabbing becomes a country’s law, with 293 million square metres of seacoast territories to be seized. Private property is being treated as a money machine, leaving owners deprived.
The failure to secure the property rights of rural communities shows a clear policy gap between citizens and rights to land as per the Constitution and the attitude and practices of the state, traditional leaders, white farmers and mining companies in relation to such rights.
The artisanal mining sector in West and Central Africa is a rapidly expanding economic force employing millions of young people, often those who are the most vulnerable. Numerous ancillary informal economies are associated with the export of what are commonly known as “conflict minerals” such as diamonds, gold and coltan. Women grow crops and process food for the labor force of young men digging deep into the ground to pull out the ore and precious metals and stones.
Until now, a comprehensive study of national-level expropriation, compensation, and resettlement procedures in 50 countries across has not been conducted. My PhD research project, facilitated by the University of Groningen Faculty of Law, aims to bridge this gap by providing a broad comparative analysis of nation legal frameworks in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America to determine whether legal procedures in these countries adopt internationally recognized standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement.