Daily Archives: May 19, 2010

Upcoming guest-postings – Chris Huggins on the ‘Global Land Rush’

I am very happy to announce that Chris Huggins, who previously wrote here on the implications of the AfCHPR ‘Endorois decision’ for East Africa, will shortly be guest-posting again in TN. This time, he will be looking at development and rights-based responses to the ‘Global Land Rush’ (which has also been described less flatteringly as a ‘Land Grab’ and more cautiously in terms of new ‘commercial pressures on agricultural land’). However, one describes it, the land rush appears to present some fairly serious challenges, both to an emerging normative conception of land relations in which settled use of untitled land gives rise to rights, and, at a more practical level, to the need to ensure that foreign investment results in equitable local development in a time of fluctuating food prices, climate change, and increasing food insecurity in many parts of the world.

It is Chris and my sincere hope that it may be possible to trigger a non-strident but substantive discussion of this important issue on TN. However, while readership remains high, we haven’t succeeded in generating a great deal of debate in the wake of past postings (sadly, the spammers still have the upper hand). I would therefore like to invite readers who are interested in the issue to consider responding to Chris’ introductory piece, ideally in the form of a guest posting. Please contact me directly if you are interested and if we can get enough responses going, I will aim to move the discussion to a dedicated page on this blog.

In the meantime, I remain interested in receiving proposals related to guest-posting on other land and property related topics. I am pleased to say that a number of such postings are in the works, ranging from reflections on the long-term effects of post-conflict restitution in Bosnia to feudalism in Central Asia and perfidy in Cambodia, but more reflections on other topics in other parts of the world are always welcome!

Back from the property frontlines…

A quick administrative note to apologize for the recent gap in postings – in addition to a heavy workload, my family recently found itself faced with the need to vacate a sublet apartment on fairly short notice and we launched ourselves into the awesomely expensive and numbingly over-regulated Stockholm real estate market. I could start a whole blog on that, but suspect that interest may be limited! Suffice it to say that from now on, my philosophical ramblings on the nature of property rights will be infused with the elemental urgency of one who has just taken on a very large mortgage in a foreign currency with far too many zeros for anybody’s good.

Also, in followup to the recent guest posting by Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque on customary institutions and land conflict in Liberia, I would like to point out a recent article in IRIN, brought to my attention by Laura Cunial. The article notes that tensions over land in Liberia have not abated, with about 250 deaths since the end of the conflict attributed to disputes over land and property. It also points out that mediation and customary adjudication, for all the flaws identified by Alexandre in his report and posting, remain the only viable mechanism for the time being to containing such conflicts on the ground.