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Successful fourth summer school Land Governance for Development

The fourth edition of the Summer School Land Governance for Development brought together a very interesting group of participants and lecturers to study current debates on land governance and land deals. The 2-week course, organized by LANDac (8-19 July 2013), was attended by 20 participants: Masters and PhD students and development practitioners from countries such as the US, Japan, Uzkbekistan, Malaysia, Philippines, Ethiopia, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The intensive programme included lectures, workshops and an excursion given by a variety of high-quality lecturers from academia and practice. The course included a number of lectures which provided a general overview of various important themes such as the global land rush, land governance and land administration, and land issues in post-conflict situations. This was combined with a variety of illustrative case studies on topics such as land deals in Mozambique, soy expansion in Argentina, urban and hydropower-related land pressures in Vietnam, oil palm expansion in Indonesia, stakeholder responses to land deals in Kenya, real estate and tourism in Central America, and post-conflict land governance in South Sudan. Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to look at the issues from different stakeholders’ different viewpoints: there were – among others –  a session on the role of farmers organizations; a workshop from a human rights approach; and a private sector-oriented session. In many of the presentations and insightful discussions, the roles of local and central governments and local communities were also discussed in depth. In an excursion to a Dutch organic farm, participants had the opportunity to learn from different experiences of Dutch livestock farming and land use, and their relevance for other countries and contexts. This was beautifully illustrated by a visit to various parts of the farm.

Towards the end of the course students elaborated cases based on their own interests, which they shared with the group through a presentation and a poster. This served to further broaden everyone’s knowledge, and it resulted in a number of very insightful discussions. As such, many new and interesting themes were dealt with, such as nature conservation and ‘green grabs’; the role of donors; land acquisition for state infrastructural projects;  local communities’ responses to land deals and mobilization; land administration and economic development in Kosovo and in Greece;  national and international policies to improve local livelihoods under land deals; land policies and rural-urban land use changes in Bolivia; and a narrative analysis on food crisis and land grabbing.

The day-to-day programme of the 2013 summerschool can be accessed here