Last week saw the inaugural meeting of an incubator group dedicated to considering the development of transnational accountability in the context of land grabbing. Co-organised by GLAN, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED) this was a chance to explore collaborative options to support communities in harnessing the law. A recent wave of large-scale land deals in low and middle-income countries has compounded grassroots demand for accountability, including through legal recourse. At the same time, constrained access to justice at the domestic level has prompted advocates to explore options at the international and transnational level (e.g. human rights bodies, transnational court litigation, grievance mechanisms attached to certification bodies). Yet rural people have limited access to the resources, expertise and support needed to access these options.
Thirteen organisations from the fields of development, human rights, land rights and law were represented and the event commenced with spark talks from Richard Rogers (Global Diligence), Samuel Nguiffo (CED) and Tomaso Ferrando (GLAN, Univ of Bristol). The incubator hopes to widen participation and begin to identify avenues to link grassroots demand for accountability with the necessary legal, technical and financial means. This meeting represented a first attempt to map the landscape of past and ongoing initiatives, distil lessons learned, start exploring scope for synergy and collaboration in light of complementary added value, and chart next steps.