An initiative for participatory monitoring of large scale acquisitions: Opportunities and results thus far

Giger, Markus; Taylor, Michael; Messerli, Peter (April 2011). An initiative for participatory monitoring of large scale acquisitions: Opportunities and results thus far (Unpublished). In: World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty. Washington DC, USA. 18.-20. April 2011.

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Increasing commercial pressures on land are provoking fundamental and far-reaching changes in the relationships between people and land. Much knowledge on land-oriented investments projects currently comes from the media. Although this provides a good starting point, lack of transparency and rapidly changing contexts mean that this is often unreliable. The International Land Coalition, in partnership with Oxfam Novib, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), University of Pretoria, Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Bern (CDE), and GIZ, started to compile an inventory of land-related investments. This project aims to better understand the extent, trends and impacts of land-related investments by supporting an ongoing and systematic stocktaking exercise of the various investment projects currently taking place worldwide. It involves a large number of organizations and individuals working in areas where land transactions are being made, and able to provide details of such investments. The project monitors land transactions in rural areas that imply a transformation of land use rights from communities and smallholders to commercial use, and are made both by domestic and foreign investors (private actors, governments, government-back private investors). The focus is on investments for food or agrofuel production, timber extraction, carbon trading, mineral extraction, conservation and tourism. A novel way of using ITC to document land acquisitions in a spatially explicit way and by using an approach called “crowdsourcing” is being developed. This approach will allow actors to share information and knowledge directly and at any time on a public platform, where it will be scrutinized in terms of reliability and cross checked with other sources. Up to now, over 1200 deals have been recorded across 96 countries. Details of such transactions have been classified in a matrix and distributed to over 350 contacts worldwide for verification. The verified information has been geo-referenced and represented in two global maps. This is an open database enabling a continued monitoring exercise and the improvement of data accuracy. More information will be released over time. The opportunities arise from overcoming constraints by incomplete information by proposing a new way of collecting, enhancing and sharing information and knowledge in a more democratic and transparent manner. The intention is to develop interactive knowledge platform where any interested person can share and access information on land deals, their link to involved stakeholders, and their embedding into a geographical context. By making use of new ICT technologies that are more and more in the reach of local stakeholders, as well as open access and web-based spatial information systems, it will become possible to create a dynamic database containing spatial explicit data. Feeding in data by a large number of stakeholders, increasingly also by means of new mobile ITC technologies, will open up new opportunities to analyse, monitor and assess highly dynamic trends of land acquisition and rural transformation.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Giger, Markus, Messerli, Peter


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics


[505] Land Matrix Official URL




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

13 May 2015 08:18

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:46




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