|Title||Stop land grabbing! Life, land, and justice in Uganda|
|Date released (year)||2012
|Production company||The Source Film, for Friends of the Earth International
|Keywords/tags||Land grabbing, food security, agriculture, displacement|
|Link to film||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17QxF61PVC4
|Synopsis||In Kalangala, Uganda, John Muyisa woke up one day to find bulldozers clearing his land to plant oil palms. John and his community have preserved their forests and lands for generations. Now their way of life is at risk.|
|Reviews/discussion||Land grabbing explained
This campaign highlights the destructive environmental and social impacts of unsustainable resource use in the global North and South. We are seeking to defend community territories, protect land rights and increase awareness of corporations’ agendas, strategies, abuses and violations.
An elderly woman holds on to the fence separating her land, where she rears goats, from the advancing soya plantations, in Cordoba, Argentina.For centuries, communities have been intimidated to abandon – or forcibly removed from – their land in a seemingly endless battle to control natural resources. Today, these problems still occur and are manifesting in more direct and disturbing ways: multinational corporations occupy large swaths of community land that provides critical supplies for local populations in order to extract profitable resources – including crops for agrofuels, food, carbon offsets or minerals – for the benefit of often quite distant national and international elites.
Driven by greed and materialism, the destruction of local communities and their environments often results in the violation of both human and community rights. We have seen increased militarization and criminalization of communities who resist the appropriation of their communal lands. We have also witnessed severe environmental degradation and the destruction of natural commons for the longevity of communities.
This system continues to perpetuate the gross inequity in the distribution of natural commons (healthy ecosystems, water and air), create a poor underclass in both Global North and South, all of which further divide our world in to the haves and have-nots. Meanwhile, the consumers of these ill-begotten resources are not necessarily happier as a result of their consumption.
This campaign seeks to stop the destructive consumption race by creating, protecting and enforcing community and individual rights to land and their commons. It will also challenge the current unsustainable consumptive patterns of elites and target specific commodities with the aim of significantly reducing their consumption.
Investors must stop land grabbing, say civil society groups
LONDON (UK), November 30, 2012 – Major farmland investors such as banks and pension funds must stop facilitating land grabs, say civil society groups  on the eve of a global farmland investment conference in London on 3-5 December. 
Banks and pension funds are increasingly engaging in large-scale acquisitions of land with extremely damaging consequences for local populations. The London conference will bring together funds with more than USD3 trillion in assets to explore opportunities for investments in Africa, Latin America and Russia.
The civil society groups are warning that pension funds and banks attending the conference, for instance Deutsche Bank, must ensure they do not fund risky investments that threaten the livelihoods and food sovereignty of countless local communities.
Since 2008 rising financial investments in land have contributed to more than 200 million hectares of land being taken from small farmers, fisherfolk, and other rural communities, robbing them of their means of survival.  Land grabbing also frequently involves violent evictions and human rights violations. Institutional investors are expected to increase by 500% their agricultural investment portfolios by 2017.
Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Friends of the Earth International Food Sovereignty programme co-ordinator, said: “Unfortunately private investment in farmland may be seen by many as low risk and positive for developing countries. Yet they are often a disaster for local communities and the environment. Legal uncertainty and community opposition means that most farmland investments are also risky for investors.”
“Major investors such as banks and pension funds need to urgently investigate their investment portfolios and stop funding land grabs,” she added.
In Liberia, farmland investments have facilitated land grabbing. A quarter of the country – including vast swathes of fertile land- has been handed to palm oil, rubber and logging companies, preventing its use for food production. These large plantations are promoted as a means to create jobs, bring development, and increase the government’s budget. In reality they are jeopardizing the land rights of local populations, threatening local livelihoods and putting the future of one of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspots into doubt.
This week in Liberia the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) / Friends of the Earth Liberia is holding a major conference with oil palm plantations-affected communities who are demanding to be heard and consulted.
Between 2009 and 2010 the government of Liberia allocated more than a million acres of land to transnational palm oil producers Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia without consulting or securing the consent of those living on and using the land. 
In the past few years, Ethiopia allocated huge areas of fertile arable farmland to foreign investors with little consultations with the affected communities. Since 2008 more than 3.6 million hectares of land has been allocated to foreign investors. For instance, in Gambela region, an Indian company -Karuturi Global- has been allocated staggering 300,000 hectares of land depriving indigenous people of access to water, fishing and grazing grounds, traditional construction materials, and food. Like in many other cases there has been a lack of prior consent and consultation with the local people and affected communities were not consulted and did not give their prior consent these farmland investments.
“In Ethiopia and elsewhere farmland investments for instance in plantations are jeopardizing the land rights of local people, and threatening local livelihoods ,” said Nyikaw Ochalla from Anywaa Survival Organisation-ASO.
“In Madagascar, landgrabbing is caused by foreign and domestic investors implementing agribusiness projects and setting up biodiversity conservation areas, but also developing tourism and extractive industry infrastructure” says Mamy Rakotondrainibe, from the Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches -TANY in Madagascar.
“We are currently supporting pastoralists communities’ claims against the Italian company Tozzi Green which aims to lease 100 000 hectars in the Ihorombe region to mainly cultivate jatropha for agrofuel production” she adds.
A report released earlier this year by Friends of the Earth Uganda revealed widespread violations of people’s rights and environmental destruction from a land grab in Uganda. 
|Links to other resources||Friends of the Earth Internationa, land-grab campaign: http://www.foei.org/landgrab
World Bank Refuses to Stop Funding African Land Grabs, October 8, 2012, African Globe. Source: http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/world-bank-refuses-stop-funding-african-land-grabs
|Title||Seeds of Freedom|
|Date released (year)||2012|
|Production company||The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network. In collaboration with GRAIN, Navdanya International and MELCA Ethiopia .|
|Keywords/tags||Agriculture, food, food security, poverty|
|Link to film||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvgaMd6GBgQ
|Synopsis||The story of seed has become one of loss, control, dependence and debt. It’s been written by those who want to make vast profit from our food system, no matter what the true cost. It’s time to change the story. Narrated by Jeremy Irons.
Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro -biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture.
Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and control of the food global system.
Through interviews with leading international experts such as Dr Vandana Shiva and Henk Hobbelink, and through the voices of a number of African farmers, the film highlights how the loss of indigenous seed goes hand in hand with loss of biodiversity and related knowledge; the loss of cultural traditions and practices; the loss of livelihoods; and the loss of food sovereignty. The pressure is growing to replace the diverse, nutritional, locally adapted and resilient seed crops which have been bred by small-scale farmers for millenia, by monocultures of GM seed.
Alongside speakers from indigenous farming communities, the film features global experts and activists Dr Vandana Shiva of Navdanya, Henk Hobbelink of GRAIN, Zac Goldsmith MP (UK Conservative party), Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International, Gathuru Mburu of the African Biodiversity Network, Liz Hosken of The Gaia Foundation and Caroline Lucas MP (UK Green party).
|Reviews/discussion||The Gaia Foundation (Gaia) has over 25 years experience working with partners in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe to regenerate cultural and biological diversity. In collaboration with partners on the ground, particularly through the African Biodiversity Network, The Gaia Foundation works with communities who are committed to regaining their seed, water and food sovereignty. Together, Gaia and partners have pioneered the Climate, Seed & Knowledge (CSK) programme, which supports the revival of indigenous seed diversity and related knowledge through tools such as eco-cultural calendars. These were developed through Gaia’s work in the Amazon in the 90’s with Gaia Amazonas. In the 90’s, when the first GM crop was shipped from USA to Europe, without any public debate, Gaia helped to initiate a broad-based coalition of civil society groups in the UK calling for a moratorium on genetic engineering (GE) in food and agriculture. This later became what is now known as the GM Freeze campaign, the first of many to fight against GM across Europe and beyond.
The African Biodiversity Network
The African Biodiversity Network (ABN) is a regional network of individuals and organisations first conceived in 1996 in response to growing concerns over threats to biodiversity in Africa. As the agendas of global agri-business turned their attention to Africa, the need to develop strong African positions, a united African voice and the legal instruments to oppose these threats became increasingly important. This advocacy work is rooted in ABN’S work to revive ecosystem and community resilience, by focusing on the regeneration of indigenous knowledge and ecological agricultural practices. The Climate, Seed & Knowledge (CSK) programme emerged out of the work with communities, to recuperate their traditional seed diversity and related knowledge. This is the foundation of climate change resilience, and in turn food and seed sovereignty. ABN is one of the founding partners of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), which was initiated in 2009, bringing together a number of African regional networks working on issues ranging from farming and agro-ecology, to indigenous peoples’ rights and related advocacy.
The African individuals and communities who feature in the film have been working with partner organisations of the African Biodiversity Network to revive their local seed varieties. In Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa in particular, these communities are reclaiming their seed sovereignty. This area of work, known as the Climate, Seed & Knowledge programme, has been developed by the ABN and Gaia with communities over the last decade. Find out more: http://www.seedsoffreedom.info/our-projects/climate-seed-knowledge/
Dr Hans R Herren, President Biovision Foundation and Millennium Institute
“Yet another important piece of the puzzle that we needed to get the full picture of what a sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security reality looks like. It is time for our decision makers to protect the branch we are sitting on, them included, and so they need to return the rights to the seeds to their legal owners, the farmers”
Vandana Shiva, Founding Director, Navdanya, India
“Seeds of Freedom is a powerful film with an important message. There is a new wave of cultural imperialism taking place right now in the field of biodiversity and seed. We are losing our critical seed diversity to just a handful of corporations in the western world. The genetic erosion taking place here is tantamount to ecocide. The rate of farmer suicides because of crop failure and debt is nothing short of genocide. We must decentralise our food system.”
Henk Hobbelink, Co-ordinator, GRAIN
“It is time for people to realise that diversity means survival. Diversity is what gives us resilience, and resilience is exactly what we are going to need as the climate changes alongside social, political and economic landscapes. It’s very important for people to realise that we simply won’t be able to produce the food that we need if we allow our natural biodiversity to be further eroded. Watch Seeds of Freedom and then do something about it. It’s time for us all to stop partaking in this aggressive food system and to demand something different.”
“There’s a popular myth that Africa needs and wants GM, which needs to be dispelled. Quite categorically, they don’t – farmers from the continent have been successfully saving and selecting seeds for thousands of years. Films like Seeds of Freedom are vital in highlighting the voices of these people, a people who recognise the importance of maintaining seed ownership and diversity for reasons of culture, climate resilience and food sovereignty.”
|Links to other resources||United Nations University, Are transgenic crops safe? GM agriculture in Africa, at: http://unu.edu/publications/articles/are-transgenic-crops-safe-gm-agriculture-in-africa.html
Jennifer G. Cooke, Richard Downie (2010) Assessing the Debate in Zambia, Kenya, and South Africa: http://csis.org/publication/african-perspectives-genetically-modified-crops
GMO Watch: http://www.gmo-watch.com/
|Title||From the Mara Soil – a Film About Simple and Natural Solutions to Poverty, Hunger and Disease|
|Date released (year)||2011|
|Production company||Global Resource Alliance|
|Keywords/tags||Global hunger, natural resources|
|Link to film||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AaYsZYz3VI
What if global hunger, poverty and disease could be solved with resources already at our disposal? From the Mara Soil transports you to a community in rural Tanzania that is doing just that – solving humanity’s greatest challenges with simple, natural and affordable solutions.
A small plot of sandy, dry land is being transformed into a nutrient-rich food forest. Women are escaping the hazards of daily life by capturing the energy of the sun. The community is discovering cures to deadly disease in local plants and natural medicine. A local non-profit is tapping into clean, pure water just below the bedrock….
This visually stunning film captures the daily pain and suffering caused by poverty in Tanzania, and the creativity and courage of the Mara community in finding practical solutions to their own problems.
|Reviews/discussion||Hilton Worldwide LightStay Sustainability Award & Fund, 2012 Hilton Worldwide and Sundance Institute
Best Short Documentary Film, 2012 Peace on Earth Film Festival Chicago, IL
Best Sustainable Practices Film, 2011 Green Screen Environmental Film Festival Santa Monica, CA
GRA is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing hope, joy and abundance in the Mara Region of Tanzania. By sharing ideas, volunteers and financial resources with local, community based organizations we seek to promote natural, holistic and sustainable solutions to the challenges of poverty, malnutrition and disease. The inspiration and leadership for our work comes from the communities we serve. We believe that empowering local communities to address pressing social, economic and environmental challenges according to their own vision and their own creative potential is the key to lasting solutions.
|Links to other resources||Dryland Permaculture with Bill Mollison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmdCIqNG5BI
See Hope in a Changing Climate: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/whats-on/ou-on-the-bbc-hope-changing-climate
|Title||Activists Challenge African ‘Land Grab’|
|Date released (year)||2012
|Keywords/tags||Land grabs, activism, social movements, neoliberalism, neocolonialism|
|Link to film||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-2bflkLT38
|Synopsis||The World Bank and Wall Street firms targeted for African land deals displacing hundreds of thousands.|
|Reviews/discussion||From John Vidal and Claire Provost, www.guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 April 2012:
Campaigners claim World Bank helps facilitate land grabs in Africa
Food shortages and rural deprivation exacerbated by World Bank policy, says NGO ahead of land and poverty conference
Forest clearing takes place on a plot of land in Uganda that has fallen into the hands of a palm tree plantation owner. Photograph: Jason Taylor/FOEI/ATI
The World Bank is helping corporations and international investors snap up cheap land in Africa and developing countries worldwide at the expense of local communities, environment and farm groups said in a statement released on Monday to coincide with the bank’s annual land and poverty conference in Washington DC.
According to the groups, which include NGO Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) and international peasants’ group La Via Campesina, decades of World Bank policies have pushed African and other governments to privatise land and focus on industrial farming. In addition, they say, the bank is playing a “key role” in the global rush for farmland by providing capital and guarantees to big multinational investors.
“The result has often been … people forced off land they have traditionally farmed for generations, more rural poverty and greater risk of food shortages”, said FOEI in a separate report launched ahead of the World Bank conference.
The event, which promises to focus on “land governance in a rapidly changing environment”, is billed as a forum to discuss “innovative approaches” to land governance challenges including climate change, the growing demand for key natural resources, and rapid urbanisation. But campaigners say the conference mistakenly focuses on how to improve large-scale land deals rather than on helping local communities to secure or retain access to their land.
The FOEI report suggests land grabbing is intensifying and spreading, especially in rural areas of Africa and Asia. “High levels of demand for land have pushed up prices, bringing investment banks and speculators into farming,” it says.
“The World Bank’s policies for land privatisation and concentration have paved the way for corporations from Wall Street to Singapore to take upwards of 80m hectares (197.6 acres) of land from rural communities across the world in the past few years,” said the groups in a statement accusing the bank of promoting “corporate-oriented rather than people-centred” policies and laws.
In 2010, the World Bank spearheaded the development of new principles for responsible agricultural investment to better ensure that land deals respect local rights, livelihoods and resources; these guidelines have also been criticised for legitimising, rather than challenging, the global rush for land.
Allegations of land-grabbing have hit countries around the world and have been accompanied by growing concern about whether large-scale land deals are delivering promised income and employment for local people. This week, a coalition of NGOs and research institutes is expected to release the latest findings of the Land Matrix project, which has attempted to systematically document recent land acquisitions.
Current estimates suggest that 80-230m hectares of land have been leased or bought in recent years, largely to produce food, feed or fuel for the international market.
World Bank money has been involved in many recent international land deals, says the FOEI report. In Uganda, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the bank’s private sector lending arm, contributed $10m for a project to clear 10,000 hectares of land for palm oil plantations on Bugala Island in Lake Victoria.
But FOEI research has shown that local people were prevented from accessing water sources and grazing land, suggesting that – despite promises of employment – many people have lost their means of livelihood.
Resistance to land grabs is growing: Harvard University has come under intense pressure to ensure its investments do not contribute to land grabs in Africa, while Iowa State University has withdrawn from a deal in Tanzania that could have displaced an estimated 160,000 people. In South Sudan, the government halted a land deal after local communities erupted in protest, saying their lands had been secretly leased to an American company.
This month, farmers and land rights activists from across Sierra Leone converged on the country’s capital for a national assembly of communities affected by large-scale land deals, where groups launched a new civil-society watchdog to monitor agribusiness investments. The meeting followed the first international farmers’ conference to tackle land grabs, held in Selingue, southern Mali, in late 2011.
On Tuesday, food justice activists, environmental organisations, students and Occupy Wall Street groups are set to gather in front of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel to challenge the fourth annual Global AgInvesting (GAI) conference, where institutional investors and fund managers are meeting to discuss opportunities for agricultural investments overseas.
“Governments around the world need to stop land grabbing, not just try to mitigate its worst impacts. Governments must abide by their human rights obligations on land and drastically reduce demand for commodities such as palm oil from the west,” said Kirtana Chandrasekaran, FOEI’s food sovereignty co-ordinator.
David Kureeba, from the Ugandan national association of professional environmentalists, said: “People’s rights to land [in Uganda] are being demolished. Small-scale farming and forestry that protected unique wildlife, heritage and food is being converted to palm oil wastelands that only profit agribusinesses.”
Government officials, civil society, experts and the private sector will gather at the World Bank conference, which ends on Thursday, to discuss large-scale land aquisitions, land governance in the context of climate change, and rapid urbanisation.
Future Agricultures Policy briefing, 2011: Land Grabbing in Africa (…)
Africa, a continent plagued by chronic food insecurity, is now considered to be the future breadbasket of the world, and is expected to help meet its rising food needs. In the process of cashing in on the opportunities offered by cheap land and water, large-scale investors are displacing land uses and land users in ways that could aggravate the already severe challenges of rural poverty and hunger.
The rise of ‘land grabbing’ or ‘responsibleagricultural investment’ in Africa is undoubtedly one of the great challenges of our time for development in the continent. The deals being made now are remaking the map of food production
and food distribution, in Africa and globally. What happens over the next few years—acceleration or reversal, regulation or laissez-faire, better governance or substantive changes in agricultural policy—will determine to a great extent the future of poverty and hunger in Africa.
|Links to other resources||World Bank Refuses to Stop Funding African Land Grabs, October 8, 2012, African Globe.|
|Title||A Thousand Suns – Global Oneness Project (Part 1)|
|Date released (year)||2009|
|Keywords/tags||Indigenous, climate change, agriculture, food security|
|Link to film||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bNhTYxYfV4
|Synopsis||A Thousand Suns tells the story of the Gamo Highlands of the African Rift Valley and the unique worldview held by the people of the region. This isolated area has remained remarkably intact both biologically and culturally. It is one of the most densely populated rural regions of Africa yet its people have been farming sustainably for 10,000 years. Shot in Ethiopia, New York and Kenya, the film explores the modern world’s untenable sense of separation from and superiority over nature and how the interconnected worldview of the Gamo people is fundamental in achieving long-term sustainability, both in the region and beyond.|
|Reviews/discussion||The Global Oneness Project is a digital, ad-free, bi-monthly magazine. Through stories, we explore the threads that connect culture, ecology, and beauty. Our collection of films, photography, and essays feature diverse and dynamic voices from around the world.
A. Nyong, F. Adesina & B. Osman Elasha (2007) The value of indigenous knowledge in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in the African Sahel, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Past global efforts at dealing with the problem of global warming concentrated on mitigation, with the aim of reducing and possibly stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere. With the slow progress in achieving this, adaptation was viewed as a viable option to reduce the vulnerability to the anticipated negative impacts of global warming. It is increasingly realized that mitigation and adaptation should not be pursued independent of each other but as complements. This has resulted in the recent calls for the integration of adaptation into mitigation strategies. However, integrating mitigation and adaptation into climate change concerns is not a completely new idea in the African Sahel. The region is characterized by severe and frequent droughts with records dating back into centuries. The local populations in this region, through their indigenous knowledge systems, have developed and implemented extensive mitigation and adaptation strategies that have enabled them reduce their vulnerability to past climate variability and change, which exceed those predicted by models of future climate change. However, this knowledge is rarely taken into consideration in the design and implementation of modern mitigation and adaptation strategies. This paper highlights some indigenous mitigation and adaptation strategies that have been practiced in the Sahel, and the benefits of integrating indigenous knowledge into formal climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. Incorporating indigenous knowledge can add value to the development of sustainable climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies that are rich in local content, and planned in conjunction with local people.
|Links to other resources||Oxfam report on climate change in Ethiopia: http://www.oxfam.org/pressroom/pressrelease/2010-04-22/climate-change-increasing-poverty-and-vulnerability-ethiopia
Marius Keller, Climate Risks and Development Projects: Assessment Report for a Community-Level Project in Guduru, Oromiya, Ethiopia. Source: http://www.iisd.org/cristaltool/documents/BFA-Ethiopia-Assessment-Report-Eng.pdf