For years, TNI’s work in Colombia has largely focussed on how public policies and political processes have affected (rural) communities and their collective efforts to democratise access to land, water, and other natural resources. In doing so, TNI has collaborated with local organisations and researchers, while simultaneously building bridges between grassroots movements and policymakers at the national and international level.
A fundamentally contested concept, food sovereignty has — as a political project and campaign, an alternative, a social movement, and an analytical framework — barged into global agrarian discourse over the last two decades. Since then, it has inspired and mobilized diverse publics: workers, scholars and public intellectuals, farmers and peasant movements, NGOs and human rights activists in the North and global South. The term has become a challenging subject for social science research, and has been interpreted and reinterpreted in a variety of ways by various groups and individuals. Indeed, it is a concept that is broadly defined as the right of peoples to democratically control or determine the shape of their food system, and to produce sufficient and healthy food in culturally appropriate and ecologically sustainable ways in and near their territory. As such it spans issues such as food politics, agroecology, land reform, bio-fuels, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), urban gardening, the patenting of life forms, labor migration, the feeding of volatile cities, ecological sustainability, and subsistence rights.
The BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS) is a collective of largely BRICS-based or connected academic researchers concerned with understanding the BRICS countries and their implications for global agrarian transformations. Critical theoretical and empirical questions about the origins, character and significance of complex changes underway need to be investigated more systematically.
Climate impacts are increasingly being viewed through the lens of security, with the expectation that climate change will result in instability and conflict. In practice, this turns the victims of climate change into 'threats', to be controlled by military force, police repression and policies that entrench corporate control at a cost to human rights and civil liberties. TNI started exploring this work in 2011, developing a book published in November 2015, The Secure and the Dispossessed - How the Military and Corporations are shaping a climate-changed world
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.
Hands on the Land for Food Sovereignty is a collective coalition by 16 partners, including peasants and social movements, development and environmental NGOs, human rights organisations and research activists aiming to conduct activities in Europe to raise awareness on issues related to the use and governance of land, water and other natural resources and its effects on the realization of the right to food and food sovereignty. In the context of food insecurity and climate change, the governance of natural resources requires addressing the core questions of who ought to have what rights to which resources, for what purposes and who ought to decide from a social justice-based rather than profit making-led perspective. This requires putting the visions and aspirations of those at the frontline of struggles for food sovereignty, whether they be small-scale fishing communities, peasants, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, young and prospective farmers, as well as the most vulnerable and marginalised, at the heart of policies which affect them.
Rural communities in Myanmar have deep social, economic and cultural ties with their land and related resources. However, the ever-growing corporate interests in extractive industries and mega infrastructure projects has led to the adoption of measures, such as land confiscations, that result in the displacement of villagers whose lives are further threatened by conflict in many regions of the country. TNI works closely in this field with local movements to promote policies that prioritise the human rights of rural communities to access land, water, forests, and fisheries.