The Global Land Grab: An Analysis of Extant Governance Institutions

By Phoebe Stephens

The past few years have seen a surge in media reports about a so-called “global land grab.” State governments and private companies are purchasing hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland in the developing world to hedge against rising food prices. Land grabbing has the potential to severely hinder the development prospects of low-income countries that are the predominant targets for this incoming foreign investment. Currently, land grab regulation is springing up in an ad hoc manner and this paper seeks to determine which policy regulation is likely to dominate in the long run. Land grabbing is the result of several global processes and understanding how these interact will give policymakers a greater appreciation for how to adequately regulate this accelerating phenomenon. This article incorporates global governance theory in order to explain how and why global land grab regulation is likely to evolve.

About the author:
Phoebe Stephens attended McGill University and earned a bachelor of arts degree in international development studies. She is currently pursuing a master of arts in global governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo with a focus on global environmental governance.

Image courtesy Planète à vendre via Flickr.

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