World Bank’s land policies under fire

5 April 2012

In February about 200 people from across Asia demonstrated outside the World Bank office in Bangkok to highlight the failure of the Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) principles, co-authored by the Bank, to protect small farmers (see Update 77, 71). The demonstrators argued that the principles are weak and fail to consider ownership rights, and thereby indirectly endorse land grabs by speculators. Jeff Wong, of regional NGO Leaders and Organizers of Community Organizations in Asia, said the RAI principles “end up giving a green light to investors who wish to buy land in rural areas causing great displacement.” The Bank agreed to host a meeting to discuss the complaints.