CIDSE coordinated the production of this series, in collaboration with CGLTE-OA and key actors involved in the African platform “Our Land Is Our Life”, together with international civil society organisations in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland . The series is officially launched today at an hydrid event in Sierra Leone.
In the last couple of decades, the increasing demand for agricultural commodities (e.g. palm oil, grains, livestock) and natural resources (e.g. metals, coal, oil), have resulted in transnational companies engaging in large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). Since 2000, more than 25 million hectares of land deals have been carried out in Africa while 14.3 million hectares remain unused due to failed negotiations. These operations take place at the expense of local communities. causing serious social and environmental consequences such as water, soil and air pollution, food insecurity, community division, forced eviction and poverty. When seeking justice, indigenous communities, as well as human rights and environmental defenders, face lengthy court cases with high costs and difficult access to information and evidence for claimants. Meanwhile, local opposition is met with violence, repression, arbitrary arrests, detention and even deaths caused by State and company security forces.
The production of these three policy briefs, coordinated by CIDSE and organised by the West African Global Convergence for Land, Water and Seeds Struggles (CGLTE-OA) with partners from the African Platform “Our Land is Our Life”, aims at raising the concerns of LSLAs as a priority of the Africa-EU partnership ahead of the 2022 EU-Africa Summit and more broadly in the context of the Africa- EU partnership. The stories of LSLAs in Sierra Leone (Addax/Sunbird Bioenergy SL Ltd and Socfin Agricultural Company SL Ltd.) as well as in DR Congo (Feronia) call for European and African governments and their respective development banks to stop funding such operations that risk steering conflicts, and support the adoption of an EU mandatory due diligence law to regulate corporate activities.
Their publication culminates with the online Pilgrimage for Justice organised by the West African Church in solidarity with the 2021 Caravan led by the West African Global Convergence for Land, Water and Seeds Struggles (CGLTE-OA) and its partners. Both events share personal stories and testimonies of the struggles of West African communities affected by resource grabbing and corporate exploitation. The official launch takes place today, 10 December, during the event “Large Scale Land Acquisitions in Africa – How to prevent corporate capture, Human Rights violations and conflict” which marks the end of the caravan journey in Sierra Leone.
Contact: Emmanuel Yap, Land rights Officer (yap(at)cidse.org)
The Addax brief was produced with the financial support of the European Union.
The Feronia and Socfin briefs were produced with the financial support of the European Union and the Belgian Development Cooperation.
The contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union and the official opinion of the Belgian institution.
Photo credit: Bread for all