Driving Dispossession Webinar – September 17, 9:30 – 11:00 AM PT

Sep 14, 2020
Maungdaw, Myanmar - Farm laborers and livestock in a paddy field in Warcha village April 2016. Image: FAO / Hkun Land Institute
Maungdaw, Myanmar – Farm laborers and livestock in a paddy field in Warcha village April 2016. Image: FAO / Hkun Land Institute


On July 14th, 2020, we released Driving Dispossession: The Global Push to “Unlock the Economic Potential of Land” sounding the alarm on the unprecedented wave of land privatization that is underway around the world. Through six case studies – Ukraine, Zambia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Brazil – the report details the myriad ways by which governments – willingly or under the pressure of financial institutions and Western donor agencies – are putting more land into so-called “productive use” in the name of development.

Join Us September 17, 9:30-11:00 AM PT

Register for the Webinar Now

Please join us on Thursday, September 17th from 9:30-11:00 AM PT for a webinar bringing together activists and experts from three case countries, who will expose the drivers and impact of these efforts to privatize land, explore their interconnected nature, and overview the change of course required for the people and the planet.

Registration is free but spaces are limited.

The event will also be live streamed from the Oakland Institute Facebook Page and questions will be taken from the comments.


Frédéric Mousseau, Lead Report Author & Policy Director, The Oakland Institute

Michael Fakhri, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food & Director of the Food Resiliency Project in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center University of Oregon.

Anuka Vimukthi, Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) & Member of the International Coordination Committee of La Via Campesina, Sri Lanka

Jason Gelbort, Upland Advisors, Myanmar

Pamela Avusi, FORCERT, Papua New Guinea

Key Report Findings

  • Hundreds of millions of hectares of land are being made available, including from some of the poorest countries, which raises serious concerns about this “development” strategy and the ability to eventually curb the overexploitation of natural resources.
  • While privatization of land is being touted as a development imperative, Driving Dispossession debunks the myth that it leads to human development, and provides a strong rebuttal to the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto’s pseudo-scientific thesis about the positive impact of titling, often cited to back such policies.
  • Local communities, civil society organizations, and Indigenous People are standing up to resist these efforts to privatize their land to preserve their livelihoods and the environment.
  • Sri Lanka: The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US government entity, is targeting state land—it intends to map and record up to 67 percent of the country to “promote land transactions that could stimulate investment and increase its use as an economic asset.
  • Ukraine: The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund leveraged the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic to coerce “Europe’s breadbasket” into putting its agricultural land for sale in a land market.
  • Myanmar: In 2018, the Vacant, Fallow, and Virgin Land Law was amended to boost economic development by making so-called “vacant” lands available for agriculture, mining, and other purposes.
  • Papua New Guinea: Where 97 percent of the land is governed under customary tenure systems, the government wants to “unlock” this land so it can be “mobilized” and put in “productive use” to ensure “private sector growth.”
  • Brazil: Bolsonaro has been aggressively expanding ranching and exploitation of the Amazon at the expense of the Indigenous People and the forests they live in and steward.
  • Zambia: The World Bank has partnered with a subsidiary of the US-based online retailer Overstock.com to use blockchain technology for land titling with the goal of “unlocking trillions of dollars in global mineral reserves that are inaccessible due to unclear land governance systems.”

About the Organizations:

The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank, bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time.

FORCERT, Papua New Guinea: FORCERT is a local not-for-profit service company, supporting village communities in their sustainable forest management. Interested communities are assisted to do their own sustainable land use and village development planning.

Movement for Land and Agrarian Reform (MONLAR), Sri Lanka: is a non-profit voluntary organization, campaigning against adverse effects of globalization and working on people initiated sustainable development alternatives in Sri Lanka

Upland Advisors is a non-profit organization that supports sustainable peacebuilding initiatives by providing trusted advice on strategy, policy, and law-related matters. Upland Advisors assist the peacemaking efforts of ethnic stakeholders in Myanmar’s ceasefire and peace negotiations through advice, research, and education services and conduct related non-partisan advocacy on matters related to peace, conflict, and human rights.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Food is mandated to promote full realization of the right to food and the right to be free from hunger, and to assist realization of Millennium Development Goal no. 1: to halve the number of people affected by hunger. The Rapporteur examines the practices of states and non-state entities impacting the right to food, and has produced reports that address the role and influence of companies on the enjoyment of the right to food.