Why Oxfam has taken the land campaign to the World Bank Spring Meetings

Al Kinley

Blog post by Al Kinley

Oxfam Great Britain, Digital campaigner
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It’s been a busy few months for Oxfam campaigners, and it’s all been leading up to this moment: the World Bank Spring Meetings. Here’s why they’re so important to us, and to the people we’re campaigning with around the world:

The background bit

Yesterday the World Bank began their “spring meetings”. There, thousands of government officials, journalists, civil society organizations, and people from academic and private sectors, will discuss the global economy, international development, and the world's financial markets.

The important bit

Big land deals are tearing whole communities apart, leaving people hungry and homeless. It's big business at a big cost. And the World Bank has the power to be a force for good. Since October we’ve been asking them to freeze their large-scale land investments whilst they strengthen their policies to prevent land grabs. The Spring Meetings are a major opportunity  to make a noise about land grabs, and about the Bank’s responsibility to help.

The exciting bit

A whopping 50,000 of you have asked the Bank to help stop land grabs via our petition. 7,000 of you filmed and photographed yourselves to take part in an innovative crowdsourced music video, set to Coldplay’s song and edited by their music video director, to get the World Bank’s attention. People in the Philippines, CambodiaGuatemala and beyond have been standing up to demand their rights.

Around the world, campaigners “land grabbed” iconic monuments to highlight the unfairness of grabs. It’s been a busy few months, and you’ve been brilliant at drawing attention to this injustice.

The promising bit

As a result of your noise, the World Bank President has acknowledged the problem of land grabs and committed to improve the Bank’s standards to prevent land grabbing.

The disappointing bit

The World Bank has refused to freeze its investments while it makes these vital improvements, and has refused to receive your petition during the Spring Meetings. So we hired a truck (pictured above) to deliver it  to their headquarters in Washington DC and let them know that more than 50,000 will be watching them to ensure they deliver on their commitments.

The do-your-bit bit

And this is the best bit: You can still help make a noise about land grabs and help stop them. Tweet at the World Bank now and keep in touch with us to find out about future land grab actions:

.@Oxfam and I want the @WorldBank to help #stoplandgrabs now. www.oxfam.org/land #ittakesTweet this!