Creating a public tool to assess and promote transparency in global land deals: the experience of the Land Matrix

Anseeuw, Ward; Lay, Jann; Messerli, Peter; Giger, Markus; Taylor, Michael (2013). Creating a public tool to assess and promote transparency in global land deals: the experience of the Land Matrix. The journal of peasant studies, 40(3), pp. 521-530. Routledge 10.1080/03066150.2013.803071

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The Beta version of the Land Matrix (Land Matrix 2012) was launched in April 2012 as a tool to promote public participation in building a constantly evolving database on large-scale land deals, and making the data visible and understandable. The aim of the Land Matrix partnership is to promote transparency and open data in decisionmaking over land and investment, as a step towards greater accountability. Since its launch, the Land Matrix has attracted a high degree of attention, and stirred some controversy. It provides valuable lessons on the challenges and benefits of promoting open data on practices that are often shrouded in secrecy. This paper critically examines the ongoing efforts by the Land Matrix partnership to build a public tool to promote greater transparency in decision-making over land and investment at a global level. It intends to provoke discussion of the extent to which such a tool can ultimately promote greater transparency and be a step towards greater accountability and improved decision-making. It will present the Land Matrix and its value addition, before detailing the challenges it encountered related to the measurement of the largescale land acquisition phenomenon. It will then specify how it intends to address these issues in order to establish a dynamic and participatory tool for open development.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > NCCR North-South Management Centre [discontinued]
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Messerli, Peter and Giger, Markus


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics






[505] Land Matrix Official URL




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

25 Jul 2014 15:59

Last Modified:

20 Dec 2019 13:13

Publisher DOI:





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