Contracting in land and natural resources: a tale of exclusion

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    By browsing the website of Land Matrix, one can measure the extent of land-related large-scale investments in natural resources (LRINRs) and place it on the world map. At the time of writing, the extent of these investments covers an area equal to the surfaces of Spain and Portugal together-or, for football fans, around 60 million football pitches. These investment operations have often been saluted as instrumental to achieve the developmental needs of host countries and as the necessary private counterpart to state (and interstate) efforts aimed at (sustainable) development goals. Yet, the realities on the ground offer a scenario characterised by severe instances of displacement of indigenous or local communities and environmental disruptions. The starting point of this short essay is that these 'externalities' are generated through the legal construct enabling the implementation of these investment operations. As such, this contribution lies neatly in the line of research set forth in the excellent books of Kinnari Bhatt and Jennifer Lander, from the perspective of both the development culture shaping these investment operations and the private-public environment in which these are situated. The essay tries and dialogues with both components, while focusing at a metalevel on the theoretical shifts potentially geared to turn a 'tale of exclusion' into a 'tale of inclusion'.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-153
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Law in Context
    Issue number17
    Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2021

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    • SAI 2010-01 RRL


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