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IWGIA: Workshop on land grabbing off to a good start

October 29 2014

From left to right: Director of IWGIA Orla Bakdal, chair of IWGIA's board Frank Sejersen and UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Attended by around 75 participants representing international organisations, indigenous peoples’ organisations, the private sector, and governments from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe IWGIA’s seminar on land grabbing opened with remarks by IWGIA’s Director Orla Bakdal and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

Jéremie Gilbert from the University of East London and Vice Chairperson of the Board of IWGIA discussed the concept of land grabbing and presented the opportunities and challenges ahead for indigenous peoples on the issue.

Next on the floor was Annalisa Mauro from International Land Coaltion (ILC) presented the measuring tool “The Land Martrix”. “The Land Matrix” aims at assessing the impact of investment on indigenous peoples’ land. The tool can be found at the website

Elaborating on her opening remarks on the issue of land grabbing UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz presented her perspective on investment and land grabbing on indigenous peoples’ land. Stressing the point that land grabbing is essentially a question of clashes between paradigms the UN Special Rapporteur especially focused on the importance of building local communities capacity to assert their rights to land. 

In the afternoon the seminar went into a session of presentations of concrete cases focusing on the impact of investments on indigenous peoples’ land. The cases presented included:

- The Lapset Corridor in Kenya by Kenyinke Sena
- Mining and other investments on indigenous lands in Central India by Gladson Dungdung
- Multi investment and peace process in Colombia by angel Áquileo Yagari Vélez 

Finally Birgitte Bang Nielsen of Investeringsfonden for udviklingslande (IFU) presented the issue of how the IFU’s investment portfolio and CSR policy can address indigenous peoples’ right to land.

During the day participants engaged in debates on the issue of land grabbing and on how to address the issue in an informed and targeted way to ensure indigenous peoples’ land rights are being respected in the face of large scale investments.

Thursday will bring one more day of discussions and presentations about the serious issue of land grabbing and indigenous peoples. 

You can follow the seminar on Twitter under #landgrabbing.