Conservation and land grabbing in African & Asian rangelands
In March 2013, people from conservation NGOs, development organisations and human rights groups met to explore interactions between conservation, large-scale land acquisition and community land rights. The meeting was organised by the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED)’s Poverty and Conservation Learning Group, the International Land Coalition (ILC), the Zoological Society of London and Maliasili Initiatives. The focus was on rangeland areas in Africa and Asia.
The areas most affected by “land grabbing” are the commons – land that local people traditionally use collectively – including much of the world’s forests, wetlands and rangelands. In some cases, land is acquired with environmental objectives in sight, such as setting aside protected areas to conserve biodiversity. However, current trends in commercial land acquisition present a major and growing threat not only to local livelihoods and human rights but also to conservation objectives. There is an opportunity for greater collaboration between conservation interests and local communities’ land-rights interests with their supporters in social justice movements.
The ILC Issue Paper Conservation and “land grabbing” in rangelands: part of the problem or part of the solution? (2013, 44pp) documents experiences from the rangelands of Mongolia, Kenya, India, Ethiopia and other countries in Africa and Asia. This is brought out by the ILC’s Global Rangelands Initiative, led in Africa by a coordination unit with members from RECONCILE (Kenya) and ILRI (in Ethiopia), who support ILC members to influence policy and legislation to support productive and sustainable use of the rangelands.