Links & Resources: Land and Resource Grabs

Reports, investigative research, issue briefs, in-depth books and film on the global grab for land and oceans.


Access to Land and the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (2008-2014). Report presented to the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations, August 2010.

  • The report argues that, while security of tenure is indeed crucial, individual titling and the creation of a market for land rights may not be the most appropriate means to achieve it. Instead, the report suggests, the strengthening of customary land tenure systems and the reinforcement of tenancy laws could significantly improve the protection of land users. Drawing on the lessons learned from decades of agrarian reform, the report emphasizes the importance of land redistribution for the realization of the right to food. It also argues that development models that do not lead to evictions, disruptive shifts in land rights and increased land concentration should be prioritized.

Foreign Land Deals and Human Rights: Case Studies on Agricultural and Biofuel Investment. The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) and The International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), New York University School of Law, 2010.

The Global Ocean Grab: A Primer. Jennifer Franco, Nick Buxton, Pietje Vervest, Timothé Feodoroff. Transnational Institute, September 2014.
This primer unveils a new wave of ocean grabbing, answering the most important questions about the mechanisms that facilitate it and the impacts on people and the environment.

The Great Land Grab: Rush for World’s Farmland Threatens Food Security for the Poor. Shepard Daniel with Anuradha Mittal, The Oakland Institute, 2009.

International Conference of Peasants and Farmers: Stop Land Grabbing!  Report and Conclusions of the La Via Campesina conference that took place November 17-19 in Selingue, Mali.

Land grabbing in Latin America and the Caribbean. Cristóbal Kay, Jennifer Franco, Max Spoor, Saturnino M. Borras and Sergio Gómez. Journal of Peasant Studies, 39:3-4, 845-872, May 2012.

Land Grabbing Primer, Revised edition, TNI Agrarian Justice Programme. February 2013. (First edition published in October 2012.)

Land is Life!, La Via Campesina, 2013
This report brings together stories and analyses of farmers’ struggles for land all over the world, as well as Via Campesina calls to actions against land grabbing and for agrarian reform. This publication seeks to present Via Campesina’s struggle for land and its strategy that has developed over the last two decades.

The Land & Sovereignty in the Americas Series pulls together research and analysis from activists and scholars working to understand and halt the alarming trend in “land grabbing”—from rural Brazil and Central America to US cities like Oakland and Detroit—and to support rural and urban communities in their efforts to protect their lands as the basis for self-determination, food justice and food sovereignty. The series is a project of the Land & Sovereignty in the Americas (LSA) activist-researcher collective, coordinated by Food First and the Transnational Institute

Land Rights and the Rush for Land. Ward Anseeuw, Liz Alden Wily, Lorenzo Cotula, and Michael Taylor. International Land Coalition, January 2012.
This report summarizes the evidence that has emerged concerning land grabs in recent years. The report details how the poor are being left behind in the land deals, mainly because of weak governance. The report urges the host governments to acknowledge the resource rights of rural people, to make smallholder agricultural production the center of agricultural development, and to make the information surrounding the deals transparent to ensure fairness.

Oakland Institute Special Investigation: Research released by the Oakland Institute demonstrates that land grabs–largely unregulated land deals involving foreign corporations and speculators–continue to be promoted as a “development” solution for African nations. Development agencies including USAID and the World Bank Group are often the architects of these deals that promise benefits for Africans but fail to deliver.

o Ethiopia

o Mali (en français)

o Sierra Leone

o Mozambique

o South Sudan

o Tanzania

o Zambia

Over the heads of local people: consultation, consent, and recompense in large-scale land deals for biofuels projects in Africa. Sonja Vermeulen and Lorenzo Cotula. Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 37, Issue 4, 2010, Special Issue: Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change.

This article reveals how rural communities in Africa are under consulted or excluded from plans for land deals for biofuel production that will directly affect them. Local people are often not fairly compensated, and though their governments may promise to recognize their landowner rights, the host governments to land deals frequently cater to the interests of investors.



Alexander Reid Ross, ed., with contributions from Vandana Shiva, Noam Chomsky. Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab. AK Press, July 2014.

Stefano Liberti, Land Grabbing: Journeys In The New Colonialism. Verso Books, November 2013.

Tania Murray Li, Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier. Duke University Press, August 2014.

Tanya Kerssen, Grabbing Power. Food First Books, 2013.



Seeds of Discontent
A powerful documentary film draws attention to the role of a Swedish investment firm, Dutch pension fund and Norwegian church endowment firm in land grabbing in Mozambique.



Updated 12/2014