Keeping Land Local: Briefing Papers on Land Struggles, No. 3

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Land Struggles III: Keeping Land Local

Announcing "Keeping Land Local: Reclaiming Governance from the Market," the third issue of the Briefing Paper Series on Land Struggles by Focus on the Global South, the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform, and Land Research Action Network. You can download a free PDF in high resolution or low resolution.

The governance of land, forests, water bodies and natural resources has always been a deeply contested terrain, and one that has frequently resulted in conflicts among different actors who claim authority, legitimacy or expertise in making governance decisions. While local communities demand respect and protection of their rights to lands, resources and livelihoods, most national governance systems do not recognize the traditional, customary and collective rights of local users and their institutions to manage and protect them. Instead, transnational corporations, multilateral bodies, international financial institutions and many governments are increasingly promoting and putting into place market-led governance mechanisms for land, forest and water use and management, and environmental protection that prioritize short-term financial gains for a few over long term, multi-generational and multi-dimensional benefits for the majority. These governance mechanisms deny local peoples and communities access to crucial life-sustaining resources, advance the commodification of nature, and entrench an ecologically unsustainable, high carbon, economic growth driven model of production and consumption.

This collection of articles explores some of the challenges facing peasants, farmers, forest dwellers, fisher-folk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and other local communities in their efforts to build systems for the governance of land, water, forests and natural resources that are just, participatory, ecologically sound and foster genuinely sustainable forms of living.

"Keeping Land Local" is the third in the "Land Struggles" series, a collaboration between Focus on the Global South, the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform, and Land Research Action Network (LRAN). LRAN brings together activist researchers and peoples’ movements working on land and natural resource issues. It is coordinated by Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano, Focus on the Global South, and Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos. For updates, articles and other information please visit



Introduction: Redefining Governance; Challenging Markets, by Shalmali Guttal

Chapter 1: Shifts in Social Movement Thinking on Agrarian Reform, Land and Territory, by Peter Rosset

Chapter 2: In Your Name: Poor Peasants and the World Bank, by Mônica Dias Martins

Chapter 3: Standing on Contentious Grounds: Land Grabbing, Philippine Style, by Mary Ann Manahan, Jerik Cruz and Danilo Carranza

Chapter 4: Why the World Bank is Neither Monitoring, Nor Complying with the FAO Guidelines on Responsible Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, by Sofía Monsalve Suárez and Zoe Brent

Chapter 5: Banking on Land, by Philip McMichael

Chapter 6: Financial Capital and Land Speculation in Brazil, by Fábio Teixeira Pitta and Maria Luisa Mendonça, translated by Karen Lang

Chapter 7: Moving Forward: The Impacts of Order 01BB in Rural Cambodia

Chapter 8: Land Disputes and the Plight of Sea Gypsies in Thailand, by Niabdulghafar Tohming 

Chapter 9: Towards an Agrarian Revolution! by Shalmali Guttal 


Published in October 2014

See past issues: Volume I, Volume II

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