Role of WB & carbon credits in land grabs in Uganda

> Uganda: World Bank Under Attack for Aiding Land Grabs
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> By Haggai Matsiko, 6 May 2012
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> * Comment
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> 7ca09cddc0aee144:arc614x376:w360:us1.jpg> Jason Taylor/FoEI >
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> Civil society is currently engaging in campaigns against land grabbing. >
> The World Bank has come under attack after a new report has exposed how > commercial projects funded by the Bank are causing poverty, human rights > violations in Uganda sparking a barrage of criticisms.
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> Ironically, the report entitled “Land, life and justice: How land grabbing > in Uganda is affecting the environment, livelihoods and food sovereignty of > communities” by Friends for Earth International (FOEI) came out on the eve > of the World Bank’s conference on land and poverty. FOEI is an international > organisation that brings together several environmental organisations. >
> The report, which details how the Bank has aided land grabs, trended on > social network sites like twitter with many international scholars and > netizens questioning the Bank’s irony of preaching poverty eradication with > one hand while the other funds projects that force people to “give up their > livelihoods, food supply and access to water” on top of exposing them to > health hazards.
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> Relevant Links
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> * Govt Bans Acquisition of Land Titles in Oil Rich Areas
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> * Land Disputes Threaten Northern Peace
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> * New Report Uncovers Land Grab in Kalangala
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> * Museveni Angry Over NGO Report On Land Grabbing
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> * Museveni’s Double Standards?
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> The report shows that desperate to create jobs and eradicate poverty, Uganda > and other developing countries, are increasingly being duped by > multinational corporations and financial investors to give away large tracts > of land for commercial farms that these players are exploiting to whet their > food needs, energy supplies and investment at the expense of locals. FOEI > says that this must stop.
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> In its report, FOEI exposes how the Bank together with other international > financial institutions like the International Fund for Agricultural > Development (IFAD) provided the upstart funds for the Kalangala Palm Oil > Project that has resulted in huge profits for BIDCO, the international > cooking oil giant but caused negative social and environmental impacts. >
> The report shows that the World Bank and IFAD sunk in US$10m and US$19.9m > respectively into palm oil growing and processing project that has > threatened the livelihood of over 20,000 people of Bugala Island on Lake > Victoria.
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> The project is a partnership between the Ugandan government and private > investors, Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) that brings together Global palm > oil giant Wilmar International, Josovina Commodities of Singapore, and East > Africa’s BIDCO as investors.
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> Sitting on 10,000 ha of land which previously belonged to residents, the > project has meant taking more people’s land as it seeks to expand on an > extra 30,000 ha. Part of its expansion funding, according to the new report > is a US$ 52 million from IFAD that the government acquired in July 2010 to > spread on Bugula Island and Buvuma Island in Mukono District. >
> The report notes that the project has threatened wildlife with monkeys being > killed since they eat ripe palm oil. As a result, it indicates that tourism > has been affected. It castigates the government for sanctioning evictions > and giving land occupied under customary tenure to foreign investors. >
> Of the 10,000 ha, government gave BIDCO 6,500 ha of land for the oil palm > estate at the expense of members of the community who did not hold formal > land rights to the land they occupied, the report adds and at the expense of > forests and the lakeshore buffer zone. The remaining 3,500 ha, the report > adds, was allocated to smallholders and out-growers.
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> FOEI shows how due to lack of constitutional protections, with the defunct > land tribunals, the communities continue to lose land.
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> John Muyisa, 49-year old with a family of nine children is one of these > people. The company authorities woke up one day and graded the biggest chunk > of his 40 acres piece of land on which he was cultivating coffee and other > crops for sale and subsistence leaving him only about 2 acres. With his land > gone he is now stuck with a big family that he can no longer cater for well. >
> “Some small holders have also said that they were effectively forced to sell > land they owned after planting oil palm because they were not able to pay > for the fertiliser and other inputs needed,” the report notes, “With no > income from the oil palm, and no land for growing food, they faced little > option but to sell.”
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> Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Friends of the Earth International Food Sovereignty > Coordinator says that these Ugandan testimonies show the fallacy of trying > to make land grabbing work for communities or the environment. >
> “Decades of policies to privatise land and promote industrial farming from > the World Bank have set the stage for a massive global land grab,” > Chandrasekaran notes, “Governments around the world need to stop land > grabbing, not just try to mitigate its worst impacts. Governments must abide > by their Human Rights obligations on land and drastically reducing demand > for commodities such as palm oil from the West.”
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> The report also shows how the project’s employment opportunities are > abhorred and people’s lives are at risk with some studies showing that they > are likely to produce “blue babies” due to water pollution by the chemicals > used in the project.
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> The project has also worsened food insecurity as the residents who used to > grow beans, yams, maize, among other crops, for cash and sale to neighboring > islands now have to import everything. This applies to all communities whose > land has been grabbed.
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> The land grabbed from them is not used for food production but even if it > were, research shows that small farm holdings are in some cases 20 times > more productive than large scale farm holdings.
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> FOEI’s other case studies are land grabs in Mt Elgon National Park, Bukaleba > Forest Reserve, Luwunga Forest Reserve Kiboga District, Bullisa, and Mabira > Rain Forest.
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> Apart from Mabira, the rest are grabs by carbon firms, which develop > projects to generate carbon credits that developed countries buy through the > Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) arrangement to offset carbon emissions as > stipulated under the Kyoto Protocol.
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> These carbon firms have been at the forefront of land grabs in Uganda. While > UK’s NFC displaced 22,000 people in Mubende before it closed shop over an > investigation by compliance ombudsman of IFC, Tree Farms and the Norwegian > Afforestation Group, grabbed 80,000-100,000 ha of Bukaleeba Forest, replaced > it with pine and eucalyptus displacing some 8,000 people from 13 villages. >
> Forests Absorbing Carbon Dioxide Emission (FACE) Foundation in partnership > with UWA planned to plant 25,000 hectares of trees inside Mount Elgon > National Park in the process displacing the Benet people.
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> http://allafrica.com/stories/201205070668.html
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