To inspire us for action in 2016, TNI picked 12 significant victories of social movements in 2015 that show that, despite the immense challenges we face in a world of unprecedented concentration of corporate, financial and military power, people power works.
In addition to having a strategic role as a provider of jobs, food needs, and economic sustainability, small-scale fisheries also become an important driver in conserving fish and natural resources through a variety of local knowledge.
Not all types of investment are equal in terms of their impact on poverty reduction and development. Through an alarming global tendency, which has governments shaping investment and development policy around the needs of transnational capital, large-scale land deals capturing land and its associated resources are packaged as ‘investments for rural development’. The shift underway in development frameworks is from public sector responsibility for food security towards the private sector as the remedy to hunger and malnutrition, at the expense of the livelihoods, dignity and lifestyle of rural working people, especially poor and marginalised groups. There is a need to ‘reboot’ the debate on agricultural investment, away from the narrow corporate centric perspective, towards investments which best addresses rural poverty and hunger and democratic control of resources – such as public investments and the investments made by small-scale food producers.
Despite the track record of systemic and systematic violations of the range of human rights, the efforts to establish legally binding obligations and an instrument of enforcement within the UN system have been defeated by determined corporate opposition. The current Guiding Principles developed by the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, John Ruggie, do not create "any new international legal obligations" and are therefore non-binding.
'Policy Shift' identifies ten key policy changes that are required to support just alternative agriculture investments. The approach integrates human rights into the core of decision-making and is informed by practical, on-the-ground examples of positive agricultural investments that benefit both small-scale farmers and communities.
Dramatic changes around food, climate, energy, and finance in recent years have pushed questions of land use and land control back onto the centre stage of development discourse, at the very moment when the same conditions are spurring an unprecedented rush for land and water across the globe.
Much touted "land investment" involves appropriation or landgrabbing. What positive alternative investments should public policy support which would strengthen the right to food, re-valorise agricultural work, and build up ecological capital?