Threats to sustainable development posed by land and water grabbing

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Jul 18, 2017
Jampel Dell’Angelo, Paolo D’Odorico, & Maria Cristina Rulli



Since small-scale farmers manage most of the cultivated land worldwide, the ongoing shift in systems of production associated with large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) may dramatically reshape the world's agrarian landscape, significantly impacting rural populations and their livelihoods. The societal, hydrological and environmental implications resulting from the expansion of large-scale agricultural production, through LSLAs, make their ultimate sustainability questionable. This study, through a literature review, analyses the negative impacts of LSLAs, their hydrological dimension and how they may affect the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The core literature on land and water grabbing is reviewed and systematized using the 17 SDGs as a framework, in order to highlight the relationship between LSLAs and the sustainable development agenda. The magnitude of the global land rush phenomenon and the criticism raised in scholarly research highlight the controversial role that transnational land acquisitions may be playing in the global development agenda.

Read the full paper in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

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