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How your campaigning is helping to end land grabs

Land the size of the California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico combined was sold off globally in the past decade. That's enough land to grow food for the nearly one billion people who go hungry today.

Updated June 2013

With your help, Oxfam has been campaigning since September 2012 on land grabs as part of our GROW campaign for food justice. We wanted the World Bank to take some urgently needed action to help end land grabs in many developing countries, because the practice of land grabs contributes to keeping one in eight people on our planet hungry.

In the past few weeks we’ve made some great progress. This simply wouldn’t have happened without your support. Here’s what you’ve helped to change:

Big wins

    • President Kim of the World Bank made a high-profile public statement on land rights, highlighting the risks that come with big land deals. He said, “Efforts must be made to build capacity and safeguards related to land rights.”
    • Your campaigning has generated a serious debate at the World Bank. There was a real buzz about land at its annual spring meeting. Staff members have told us that the president’s statement is helping to get things moving forward. And that we’ve been keeping the World Bank on its toes.
    • The World Bank has committed itself to a new UN standard on how land is governed. It means it will work to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people have their land rights respected. That’s great news.
    • There will be an independent review of the impact of World Bank programs on people’s land rights
    • The World Bank has agreed that land rights must be a crucial focus when it reviews the rules that govern its activities this year.
    • One particular loophole in the World Bank’s approach to lending to the private sector meant a greater risk that land grabs could occur. Thanks to the noise you made, the World Bank’s board members have asked staff to find a way to close that loophole.

    Of course, lots of these promises are just that—promises. The next step for Oxfam is to ensure the World Bank delivers. And it doesn’t stop with the World Bank: governments, companies and other institutions all have a part to play too.

    Be assured, we’re watching and ready to take action. If we think the World Bank isn’t being true to its words, we’ll hold accountable, and we’ll ask you to help make noise with us.

    Until then, congratulations on getting us several steps closer to ending land grabs for good.