NGOs denounce World Bank land conference

6 July 2015

The Our Land Our Business coalition of 260 organisations, including smallholder farmers’ groups, publicly denounced the March World Bank’s annual conference on land and poverty, calling it “a sham”. The conference, themed “linking land tenure to land use”, was criticised by the coalition due to the “Bank’s role in global land grabs and its deceitful leadership on land issues” (see Bulletin Nov 2014). Anuradha Mittal of US-based NGO Oakland Institute commented: “If you look behind many of the recent land deals, you will find World Bank policies that enable investors to come in with projects that promise benefits to communities but don’t follow through”, and called on the Bank to stop “paving the way for what has become the systematic exploitation of land and people.” Saeed Baloch of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum said in the Daily Times of Pakistan: “We call upon all rights-based organisation to refuse to legitimise the World Bank and their corporate overlords by being a part of these meetings. The conference is simply a distraction and decoy to feign dialogue with civil society.”