The large-scale acquisition of land in the Global South – often referred to as “land grabbing” or “the global land rush” – has received much attention from academics, policy-makers and the media in recent years. Especially following the food crisis (2003-2008) and stimulated by the growing demand for bio-energy, pressure on land in developing countries has intensified. Besides the demand for agricultural land, current land acquisitions are also related to tourism development, mineral extraction, industrial development, urbanisation and even nature conservation. Local populations are often left defenceless in this ‘rush for land’ and governments lack capacity to address these challenges – or are sometimes themselves the drivers. As a result, access to and use of land and other natural resources, particularly in the developing world, is being transformed irreversibly. Moreover, COVID-19 and the measures taken worldwide to curb the pandemic are of great concern to the land governance community, as alarming observations are coming in about the loss of livelihoods and deepening poverty, but also of government crackdowns on civil society, the suspension of land administration services and irregular land acquisition.
Land governance in developing countries must deal with the multiple pressures and competing claims, whilst balancing economic growth, environmental protection and social justice. This course provides a multidisciplinary analysis of the ‘land rush’ within the more general context of land governance in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We will look at the history and drivers of the process; the diversity of stakeholders and networks involved; and the global policy instruments of which inclusive land governance is an integral feature, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda; as well as highlighting the urgency of current challenges and discussing innovative governance solutions.
The course is organised by the Netherlands Academy for Land Governance (LANDac), a network of organizations interested in how land governance may contribute to sustainable and inclusive development. MSc students, PhD students and professionals from development organisations and related projects will acquire up-to-date knowledge on new land pressures and learn how to place these in broader theoretical contexts and policy debates from the local to the international level.
Topics are discussed in interactive lectures, as well as within a group assignment. The design of the course allows for participants to closely work together with professionals, experts and fellow students from a variety of backgrounds. Topics are discussed from a range of perspectives, with contributions from Dutch and international academics as well as development practitioners.
The lectures in the two-week course provide a general overview of important themes such as the global land rush, land governance, land administration and land issues in post-conflict situations. The group assignment will complement this general overview by illustrating the issues and trends in specific contexts through case study analyses.
Visit the Utrecht University Summer School website for more information, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
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