The original French version of this article was prepared at the request of the Nature & Progress (Nature & Progrès) journal and published in November 2011 (No 85) issue in the section Resources : the plundering (Ressources: la spoliation).
Translated by Levi E. Johnson
"The world in which we live is changing more and more quickly, and the global threats that weigh on humanity are multiplying. One billion people suffer from hunger, not including those children and adults that die every year of famine, malnutrition or lack of access to safe drinking water. One in four people have less than the equivalent of one dollar of income per day. The world changes, but these figures do not improve in spite of the priority given to the discourse around the fight against poverty.
For two years, the media have reported extensively on the massive land grabbing of agricultural lands. They have alerted public opinion to violations of people’s rights and to the dangers of food insecurity in concerned regions. They do not state, however, that this phenomenon constitutes a global threat to humanity with irreversible consequences just as serious as those associated with climate change or loss of biodiversity. (...)
(...) Few people or institutions dare to denounce the nonsense of the current system. Consequently, the efforts of international institutions and civil society organizations work to design “voluntary directives” suggested to States as “guidelines for responsible agricultural investments”. These approaches can help in moving forward, but only on one condition, when constantly seeking to demystify what is understood by investment, that which is called property, and to carry out the widest possible public debate with the various implicated parties and populations.
In reality, true production investments have always come from producers, farmers, stockbreeders and fishermen. (...)
(...) Solutions exist, (...). Some are ambitious but essential, such as the establishment of a binding law at the global level around all the subjects concerning humanity’s future, making possible a world that protects global commons and public goods. Others are easier to gradually put in place, such as taxing ground rents and other kinds of unearned incomes, that would help identify resource theft and increase economic efficiency. These imply a re-examination of our conception of property and to recognize, regardless of the legal framework, that individual and collective rights always coexist, and the rights of future generations must also be given weight, even if they cannot be directly involved in the debate."
Read the full article on AGTER's website here.
Authors and Publishers
AGTER is an international association, created in 2005 under French law. AGTER works on the governance of land, water and natural resources.