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Conservation and Land Grabbing: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

26 - 27 March 2013, London, UK

This 2013 PCLG Symposium - jointly organised by IIED, the International Land Coalition (ILC), the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Maliasili Initiatives - took place at London Zoo. The overall objective of the symposium was to examine the varied interactions between conservation and land rights/land grabbing in a variety of global contexts, and to encourage more strategic engagement by the conservation movement in land rights and tenure concerns. Key themes included:

  1. Key trends in land grabbing and specifically ‘green grabbing’ and land acquisitions for conservation since 2000 - including variations between countries and regions. What forms do they take? What are the key drivers? Is this a new phenomenon or a continuation of a historical process? Is it escalating? Who owns the land and who is acquiring it and for what purpose?
  2. Conservation as a source and victim of land grabs – Conservation may be one of the drivers of land grabs - to increase protected area coverage, to exploit valuable tourism or hunting opportunities etc. At the same time, in some locations, land previously set aside for conservation is being converted to other uses – agriculture, biofuels, etc.
  3. Conservation strategies for securing community land rights - what models exist for securing or strengthening local land rights that could work for both conservation and local livelihoods? What are the opportunities for a) scaling these up and b) integrating them within wider efforts to address land acquisition, landscape transformations, and community land rights.
  4. Towards greater safeguards and synergies - are there underexploited opportunities for conservation interests e.g. under the CBD, and efforts to address land grabbing e.g. through the FAO Voluntary Guidelines, to better link up through shared concerns and common interventions?

Workshop Documents:

A background note on the symposium.

The symposium agenda.

An IIED Briefing paper based on this symposium: Land grabbing: is conservation part of the problem or the solution?

The symposium report Conservation and land grabbing: part of the problem or part of the solution?

Further Documents:

ILC Rangelands Initiative Issue Paper No. 5 - 'Conservation and "Land Grabbing" in Rangelands: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?'

A report on the symposium for IRIN News - 'Balancing conservation and people's access to land'.

Workshop Presentations:

Introduction and background to the symposiym: Aims, objectives and outcomes
Dilys Roe and Tom Blomley, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UK


Session I: Setting the scene - Global and regional trends in land acquisitions

Global Trends in land acquisitions
Lorenzo Cotula, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UK

Why rangelands? 
Fiona Flintan, International Land Coalition, Italy

Overview of changes, trends, dirvers and threats in rangelands
Jabier Ruiz-Mirazo, International Land Coalition, Italy


Session II: Conservation as a driver of land-grabs?

Status and trends in protected areas (and protected area categories)
Neil Burgess, UNEP-WCMC, UK

Case Study 1: Overview of land grab for conservation in Cameroon since 2000
Guy Kounga, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, Quebec

Case Study 2:  Land use trends in Uganda
Chris Bakuneeta, PCLG Uganda

Case Study 3: The rise of private protected areas in Chile (please refer also to the paper: Private protected areas and land grabbing in Southern Chile, by G. Holmes).
George Holmes, Leeds University, UK


Session III: The impact of land grabs on conservation outcomes

Global trends in protected area downgrading, down-sizing and degazettement (PADDD)
Roopa Krithivasan, WWF-US

Case Study 4: Land acquisitions for agri-business in Cambodia  in relation to conservation goals
Tom Evans, Wildlife Conservation Society, US

Case Study 5: The impact of oil palm plantations on conservation in Liberia
Rob Small, Fauna and Flora International, UK

Case Study 6: The scramble for the Delta: The Tana Case study in Kenya
Dorothy Nyingi, National Museums of Kenya

Case Study 7: Reconciling Conservation and Investment in the Gambella-Omo landscape, Ethiopia
Cherie Enawgaw Beyene, Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority


Session IV: Securing conservation outcomes through strengthening of land rights - tools that work, and some that don't

ICCA Recognition study / global trends in community conserved areas
Harry Jonas, Natural Justice, US

Case Study 8: Legal tools for citizen empowerment and securing local land rights
Emily Polack, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UK

Case Study 9: Swallowed by a cayman: conservation, tenure and legal surrealism in the Philippines
Jan van der Ploeg, University of Leiden, Netherlands

Case Study 10:  Indigenous community mapping, land demarcation and territorial management - some cases relevant to conservation
Maurizio Ferrari, Forest Peoples Programme, UK

Case study 11: Resources, Rights and Responsibilities: approaches to strengthening natural resource governance in Indonesia
Helen Schneider and Zoe Cullen, Fauna and Flora International, UK


Session V: Securing conservation outcomes through strengthening of land rights in the rangelands

Case Study 11: Conservation  and pasture land use rights in Mongolia
Hijaba Ykhanbai, JASIL

Case Study 12:  Secure Land Rights: The Missing Nexus Between Conservation and Sustainable Rangeland Management? The Case of a Pastoral Group Ranch in Kenya
Stephen Moiko, International Livestock Research Institute, Ethiopia and McGill University, Quebec

Case study: Tana River Delta SEA and Land Use Plan
Serah Munguti, Nature Kenya


Session VI: Looking forward - Safeguards and Synergies

Strategic opportunities for bridging the gap between land rights and conservation
Peter Veit, World Resources Institute, US

FAO Voluntary Guidelines on land and forest tenure
Ruth Kelly, Oxfam, UK