4 ways we spoke out together on land grabs – and 4 brilliant results

Rachel George

Blog post by Rachel George

Oxfam Great Britain, Digital Campaigns Manager
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What is a land grab? Land grabs are huge purchases of land by banks, private investors, governments or corporations which result in the often violent eviction of local people from their homes and the loss of the livelihoods and small farms which feed their families.

More: Land grabs FAQ

So how did Oxfam activists and supporters speak out on land grabbing?

1. A crowdsourced Coldplay music video

7,000 Coldplay fans and Oxfam supporters from all over the world helped to make a new land-grab-themed music video for an exclusive version of the band's huge global hit “In My Place” – check out Ed Sheeran at 1:58!

2. World Bank on this!

More than 50,000 people signed our petition urging the World Bank to protect small scale farmers. We also met with President Jim Yong Kim's staff at the highest level to discuss the petition's concerns – part of an unmissable program of campaigning which kept the pressure up on world leaders throughout June's G8 summit.

#ittakes a MASSIVE TRUCK to deliver your #stoplandgrabs messages to the @WorldBank! Check it out: pic.twitter.com/vfZr6c7WoX

— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) April 20, 2013

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3. SOLD! Iconic landmarks grabbed

Campaigners from nine countries 'grabbed' iconic and much-loved landmarks. SOLD signs started popping up everywhere, from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Sagrada Família to the Sydney Opera House.

4. Solidarity with Guatemalan farmers

Families in the Polochic Valley of Guatemala and peasant farmer organizations in Guatemala were able to hand over 107,000 supporting signatures collected in 55 different countries to the Guatemalan Minister of Agriculture protesting their eviction.

And here's the brilliant progress that's been made:

1. A new standard and an independent review

The World Bank has agreed to review its policies on land and has committed to use a new UN standard on land rights. There will also be an independent review of the impact of World Bank programs on land rights.

2. Working together for fairness

World leaders agreed to set up pilot partnerships with developing countries to help stop land grabbing.

3. Finally on the agenda

Land grabs were put on the G8 agenda for the very first time and presidents, prime ministers and chancellors called for more responsible investments in agriculture.

4. Rights restored

The Guatemalan government has committed to finding a way to acquire land for the Polochic Valley families.

Thank you!

Your efforts have led to real progress for the world's poorest people and show how powerful we can be when we work together. Small-scale farmers and their families deserve to build their lives on a level playing field, where they're safe from the risk of eviction and starvation. There's still plenty of work to be done, but for now we owe each one of you a huge thank you.

So grazie, tak, murakoze, diolch, asante, bedankt, kiitos, go raibh maith agaibh, zikomo, obrigado, danke, kea leboga, gracias, et merci beaucoup!

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The issue: Land grabs

Communities from Polochic Valley in Guatemala: eviction and mobilization

Oxfam’s research on land grabs: Land and Power: The growing scandal surrounding the new wave of investments in land

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