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Written by: Pierre Merlet
Writing date: June 2010
During the last 20 years, an increased concern about global issues has emerged. Some problems like global warming, financial instability or global conflicts have led to the development of global governance schemes in order to try to solve them.
Recently, the phenomena of massive land acquisitions in developing countries by private investors or foreign states (usually called “land grab” in the press) have led to a new demand for the implementation of global governance mechanisms in relation with land. The objective of these governance mechanisms would be to counteract the possible negative social, economic and environmental effects of “land grabs” and to avoid the poor and vulnerable populations from losing their rights over land.
One way to study the issue of global problems and global governance is to use the theories related to the concept of Global Public Goods. The objective of this paper is precisely to address the issue of defining if ‘securing land rights’ can be considered as a Global Public Good. The argument that will be made here is that ‘securing land rights’ is an intermediary Global Public Good that is necessary to reach the reduction of poverty at a global level. Therefore, the argument made by AGTER for the development of land governance mechanisms at global level is conceptually relevant to respond to the problem of “land grab”.
This paper has been written during a Master’s class at the Institute of Development Policy and Management of the University of Antwerp in Belgium. More precisely, it is the result of the author’s reflection during the module ‘Globalization and Development’ under the supervision of Dr. Martin Prowse.