Custodians of the Land, Defenders of our Future: A new era in the global land rush

Publication date

26 Sep 2016


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Since 2009, Oxfam and others have been raising the alarm about a great global land rush. Millions of hectares of land have been acquired by investors to meet rising demand for food and biofuels, or for speculation. This often happens at the expense of those who need the land most and are best placed to protect it: farmers, pastoralists, forest-dependent people, fisherfolk, and Indigenous Peoples.

We are now entering an era of implementation as contracts are increasingly signed and work on projects is started. Up to 59 percent of these deals cover communal lands claimed by Indigenous Peoples and small communities. Yet only a fraction of deals have involved any real dialogue with local communities. The potential for escalating conflict is huge.

Oxfam's latest land rights campaign focuses on cases typical of the escalation we can expect. We are in the midst of the single biggest attack in the world today on people's identity, rights, livelihoods and security, as well as our environment. They cannot afford to lose this fight, nor can we.

This publication is a contribution to the Land Rights Now campaign. For more information, please visit