Land grabbing & human rights: Report examines role of European corporate & financial entities

In May 2016 the report "Land Grabbing and Human Rights: The Involvement of European Corporate and Financial Entities in Land Grabbing outside the European Union" was published on behalf of the European Parliament. The report examines cases of land grabbing in Zambia, Uganda, Congo and Mozambique and describes a number of possibilities for action by the EU and its Member States to reduce global land grabbing.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre previously sought statements in relation to the following cases, which are mentioned in the report:

Neumann Kaffee Gruppe in Uganda

EcoEnergy in Tanzania

Socfin in Sierra Leone

Khon Kaen Sugar in Cambodia

Siemens and Voith in Honduras.

ABP and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) regarding the African Agricultural Trade and Investment Fund (AATIF) commented in media reports [BMZ only in German].

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1 May 2016

Land grabbing and human rights: The involvement of European corporate and financial entities in land grabbing outside the European Union

In early research on land grabbing, the initial focus was on foreign companies investing abroad, with a particular focus on those based in countries such as China, Gulf States, South Korea, and India. In recent years, it has become evident that the range of countries land investors originate in is far broader, and includes both North Atlantic - and EU-based actors... This study [...] offer[s] both quantitative and qualitative data illustrating the involvement of EU-based corporate and financial entities in land deals occurring outside of the EU. This study also analyses the global land rush within a human rights framework, examining the implications of particular land deals involving EU-based investors and their impact on communities living in areas where the investments are taking place... In [...] conclusion, [...] a series of recommendations on how the EU can more effectively address these issues [are offered]. 

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Author: Tobias Schwab, Frankfurter Rundschau

Immer mehr Kleinbauern verlieren ihr Land an Agrokonzerne, die in großem Stil Land kaufen... Auch deutsche Investoren haben Sambia und seine fruchtbaren Böden längst entdeckt... Das ist auch auf der ebenfalls im Mpongwe gelegenen Somawhe-Farm nicht anders – eine Plantage der Chobe Agrivision Company, die der Investmentfirma Chayton Africa mit Sitz in Mauritius gehört. Auch in diesem Projekt steckt deutsches Entwicklungsgeld. Im August 2011 investierte der African Agricultural Trade and Investment Fund (AATIF) zehn Millionen Dollar in das Wachstum von Chobe Agrivision. Größter Anteilseigner des AATIF ist mit 45 Millionen Euro das Bundesentwicklungsministerium (BMZ). KfW und Deutsche Bank sind mit jeweils 20 Millionen Euro engagiert. Der Fonds AATIF solle einen Beitrag zur Armutsminderung leisten, Beschäftigung schaffen und das Einkommen der verarmten Landbevölkerung steigern, teilte das BMZ im vergangenen Jahr auf eine parlamentarische Anfrage der Linken hin mit.

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5 December 2011

ABP concedes African forestry investment failed to meet ESG criteria

Author: Leen Preesman (Investment & Pensions Europe)

The €240bn civil service pension scheme ABP has conceded that a €47m investment in a Mozambique forestry project has failed to meet its environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. ABP's announcement came after [claims] that the forestry project had been involved in land-grabs and contributed to food insecurity for locals... Since 2007, ABP has been a stakeholder in the Global Solidarity Forest Fund (GSFF), aimed at forestry in Mozambique and managed by the Global Solidarity Fund International (GSFI), an asset manager for churches in Sweden and Norway. ABP said it was taking the allegations "very seriously", adding that it had already raised concerns about the project's management following an independent assessment on the implementation of the Forest Steward Council standard... In a statement on its website, the GSFF said it is taking the issue of land tenure very seriously and that it is cooperating with Mozambican authorities and local communities closely on the issue of land rights.

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