The World Bank must suspend loans for land acquisitions which wreck the lives of the vulnerable

4 October 2012

Jean Lambert , Green Party MEP for London has called for the moratorium following the release of Oxfam study which reports that land deals financed with World Bank loans result in the forced removal of families from their homes.

Ms Lambert said: ‘The UK government must call for a moratorium on such deals, which can leave people displaced and destitute’

‘Our Land Our Lives’, released by Oxfam yesterday, claims that although it is part of the World Bank’s responsibility to give firms financial support to cultivate ‘available’ land in developing states, “very little, if any, of the land classified as ‘available’ is free of existing claims”.

It is thought that one problem comes because many governments in developing countries have established few rights for people in rural communities to own their own property – even though they have survived on the land for many generations.    

And the World Bank, whose loans to firms for land acquisition have tripled in the last decade, is at the centre of the practice.

Ms Lambert said: ‘Historical rights to land are not always represented by modern title deeds and governments can be swift to "sell" land with no alternative for those thrown out. The World Bank needs a robust system to be clear the poor benefit in such deals.’

The UK is one of the largest stakeholders in the World Bank, and is president of the G* next year.

It should use these opportunities to speak out against land acquisitions which are destroying some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.


For more information contact Zoe Hall on 0207 549 0315 or


  1. From 2002-2012, the World Bank’s funding for international land acquisition almost tripled, from $2.5bn to $6-8bn.
  2. For the Oxfam report ‘Our Land, Our Lives’, visit:
  3. For more information about Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP for London, visit:
  4. For more information about the Green Party, visit:

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