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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Grab grab and profit auction

 
昨晩ご紹介したRooney Maraのアフリカ支援団体についてのコメントです。

“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to change the way things were there,” she says, “but at least I could help the few kids that I grew to love and care about.” Mara’s foundation has created a boys’ and girls’ community center in Kibera. “We have a soccer league and a journalism program, an art program, and tutoring. It’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s not changing hundreds of thousands of lives, but it’s something. And for those kids that go there and get to go to soccer every week, it means a lot to them.

(「ケニヤのあり方を変えることはできないことは分かっていました。」とRooney Maraは語る。「でも少なくとも愛して気に掛けるようになった何人かの子供たちを支援することはできました。」Maraの財団はキベラに男の子と女の子のコミュニティーセンターを作った。「サッカーリーグやジャーナリズムのプログラム、芸術プログラムやチューター指導などがあります。やり方を根本的に変えるというのではありません。何万人もの生活を変えるのでもありません。でも、それなりのものなのです。そこに通い、毎週サッカーをしにくる子供たちにとっては、大切なものなのです」)

アフリカ支援つながりで大きな問題は途上国で農地が外国資本に買い占められているという現状でしょうか。ニューヨークタイムズのOpEdがこの問題を扱っていました。下記の動画はOxfamがこの問題の意識を高めてもらうためにロンドンの土地がオークションで買い占められてしまったらというパフォーマンスをしているところです。(ギャラリーは少なく盛り上がってはいませんが。。。(汗))



OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
The Global Farmland Rush
By MICHAEL KUGELMAN
Published: February 5, 2013

OVER the last decade, as populations have grown, capital has flowed across borders and crop yields have leveled off, food-importing nations and private investors have been securing land abroad to use for agriculture. Poor governments have embraced these deals, but their people are in danger of losing their patrimony, not to mention their sources of food.

According to Oxfam, land equivalent to eight times the size of Britain was sold or leased worldwide in the last 10 years. In northern Mozambique, a Brazilian-Japanese venture plans to farm more than 54,000 square miles — an area comparable to Pennsylvania and New Jersey combined — for food exports. In 2009, a Libyan firm leased 386 square miles of land from Mali without consulting local communities that had long used it. In the Philippines, the government is so enthusiastic to promote agribusiness that it lets foreigners register partnerships with local investors as domestic corporations.

農地の買い占めによって、地元に雇用が生まれるわけでもなく、そこで育てられた作物も外国向けであるという問題があるようです。また、農地の買い占めが起きるところは政情が不安定なところが多いそうです。

However, few of these benefits materialize. For example, as The Economist reported, a Swiss company promised local farmers 2,000 new jobs when it acquired a 50-year lease to grow biofuel crops on 154 square miles in Makeni, Sierra Leone; in the first three years, it produced only 50.

Many investors, in fact, use their own labor force, not local workers, and few share their technology and expertise. Moreover, about two-thirds of foreign investors in developing countries expect to sell their harvests elsewhere. These exports may not even be for human consumption. In 2008 in Sudan, the United Arab Emirates was growing sorghum, a staple of the Sudanese diet, to feed camels back home.

Much of the land being acquired is in conflict-prone countries. One of the largest deals — the acquisition by investors led by the Saudi Binladin Group of some 4,600 square miles in Indonesia — was put on hold because the area, in Papua, was torn by strife.

人口増や土地と水不足が今後も続くので、このような競争は落ち着くことはないだろうと見ています。

The chief drivers of the global farmland race — population growth, food and energy demand, volatile commodity prices, land and water shortages — won’t slow anytime soon. Neither will extreme weather events and other effects of climate change on natural resources.

取り締まりをすることは可能なので国がしっかりすればいいのでしょうが、政府が腐敗しているので難しいようです。この作者は当事国の取り組みだけでなく、World Bankのような国際機関の監視を訴えています。

In theory, host countries could limit how much land can be acquired by foreigners, or require that a minimum portion of harvests be sold in local markets. Argentina and Brazil have announced measures to limit or ban new land concessions. But investors use their wealth and their own governments’ power to impede regulation. Host governments should establish better land registration practices and enact safeguards against the displacement of their citizens. The World Bank and other international entities must ensure that their development projects are free from the taint of exploitative practices.

Of course, this will be difficult because so many host governments are riddled with corruption and prioritize profit-making land deals over the needs of their populations. Cambodia, Laos and Sudan — all sites of transnational land purchases — are among the world’s 20 most corrupt nations, according to Transparency International.


その世銀に対して、強引な農地買収への資金提供をやめるように訴えているのがイギリスのNGOであるOxfamのようです。

What is Oxfam calling for?
The World Bank funds many big land deals. It also influences how land is bought and sold. So this means it has the power to stop land grabs. Thousands of you have already asked the World Bank to freeze its investments in land while it sets a fair standard for others to follow. You got its attention, but we're still waiting for the Bank to act. The time has come to crank up the pressure.

さすが支援に訴えるのに慣れているだけあって、このLand Grabの問題をFAQで分かりやすく整理してくれています。

FAQ: What is a land grab?
What is a land grab?
It's when governments, banks or private investors buy up huge plots of land to make equally huge profits.

What's the problem with big land deals - isn't investment a good thing?
Responsible investment is an important part of fighting poverty. But big land deals are happening so quickly and on such a large scale that poor people are more vulnerable to the injustice of land grabbing than ever before.

So what does this mean for people living on the land?
They lose the land they rely on to grow food and feed their families. Their homes, jobs and livelihoods are taken from them - sometimes violently - and there is nothing they can do about it.

Why is there such a high demand for land?
High food prices and a demand for new fuels have both played a part. And a rising population makes land seem like a pretty safe bet for savvy investors.

Who's involved?
From Honduras and Indonesia to Liberia and Sudan, land is being looted by investors of all shapes and sizes. Governments, food exporters, tourism providers, Wall Street speculators - the list goes on.

But if investors use the land to grow food, won't it work out OK in the end?
Most investors intend to export the food they grow back to rich countries. Others will use it to meet huge biofuel targets for the developed world. They're making the hunger problem much worse.

Is there a solution?
Yes. The World Bank not only funds many large land deals, but also influences how land is bought and sold. We need it to freeze big land deals and create a fairer way - protecting the rights of poor people while encouraging positive investment to fight poverty.

Land grab facts
Every second, poor countries lose an area of land the size of a football pitch to banks and private investors.
Most land deals take place in countries with serious hunger problems - yet investors often intend to export everything produced on the land.
Poor families are often evicted from their homes without fair treatment or compensation.

OxfamはFAQだけでなく、数十ページにわたるレポートも発表しています。

‘OUR LAND, OUR LIVES’
Time out on the global land rush

この当たりの問題は2009年にEconomistも大きく特集していますね。

Buying farmland abroad
Outsourcing's third wave
Rich food importers are acquiring vast tracts of poor countries' farmland. Is this beneficial foreign investment or neocolonialism?
May 21st 2009 |From the print edition

今年の1月下旬にこの現状を世界的に調査したレポートが発表されていたようです。ワシントンポストによる紹介記事です。このように図で見ると世界的な広がりを実感できますね。
農地買い占め

Chinese firms and Gulf sheiks are snatching up farmland worldwide. Why?
Posted by Brad Plumer on January 26, 2013 at 10:00 am

So how much land and water is actually being grabbed? Quite a lot, according to a big new study published in the “Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences” this week. The authors find that somewhere between 0.7 percent and 1.75 percent of the world’s agricultural land is being transferred to foreign investors from local landholders. That’s an area bigger than France and Germany combined.

Big purchasers of foreign farmland include Britain, the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, South Africa, Israel, India and Egypt. They’re mostly seeking out land in Africa and Asia, particularly in countries such as Congo, Sudan, Indonesia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia and even Australia.

ニューヨークタイムズの記事の方を紹介しましたが、このワシントンポストの方ができがよかったです。もちろん問題自体深刻でありますが、こういう問題は英検1級や国連英検でも取り上げられそうですので、英語学習しか興味がない人にも知っておいてもらいたいです。
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