What is governance? The issue of land and rights

22 April 2016
Multi-media

What is governance? There are different definitions, but it can be conceived as the way that authority is exercised. Governance is networked, globalised, territorialised and differentiated. Governance has different objectives for different actors and actor networks. While it is a contested concept, globally governance is becoming increasingly financialised, and in some cases this includes land governance.

In cases of land grabbing, there is a conflict between the rights to the means of subsistence and property rights. Unequal background conditions characterise the actors involved. Furore about land grabbing in recent years has led to codes such as the “Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respects Rights of Livelihoods and Resources” by the FAO. However, land governance is always intimate and local as well – it is a glocal phenomenon. The extinction of local people’s rights draws on liberal theories of state building, private ownership and individualised rights.

What are the alternative institutions that might validate collective rights?


This video was recorded during the Colloquium Global Governance, Climate Justice & Agrarian Justice. 

The convergence of multiple crises - food, energy, environmental, climate change and finance - has triggered profound agrarian and environmental transformations. A global rush to control natural resources is underway. In February 2016, the International Institute for Social Studies (ISS) hosted an international colloqium "Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice: linkages and challenges" to discuss a range of related themes and developments.

A list of the papers presented at the Colloquium can be found here.