Science: driving or preventing large-scale land investments?

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Science- based analysis of large-scale land investments and the nexus among Land, Water, Food, Energy and Climate.

Three main elements were discussed:
1. What is the role of Science in tackling such complex and global issues?
2. Water, Food and Energy nexus, and two driving/limiting factors: climate and land
3. Large scale land acquisition: what does the Science say?

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  • Power Africa Initiative has less than 0.5% of $7Billion total funding targeted towards renewable energy
  • Science: driving or preventing large-scale land investments?

    1. 1. Science: driving or preventing large-scale land investments? Elaborating on the nexus among Land, Water, Food, Energy and Climate.
    2. 2. Table of Contents  What is the role of Science in tackling such issues?  Water,  Food and Energy nexus Two driving/limiting factors: climate and land  Large scale land acquisition: what does the Science say?
    3. 3. Defining science  "Science is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.” UK Science Council  Science is about the travel, not the destination.  “Science is a culture of doubt.” Richard Feynman Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    4. 4. Why should the opinion of Science matter?  Science is a key engine to expand our understanding of facts  Science as a catalyst for discussion and engagement  Science as a driver for Policy Making Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    5. 5. Which Science are we talking about? Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    6. 6. Which Science are we talking about?  Academies & Science societies  Public/Private Universities  Industry science  Governmental research institutes  Independent research groups Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    7. 7. What challenges do most of scientists face?  Complexity  Uncertainty  Siloed approaches still spreading  Shrinking resources  Telling the rest of the world all of the above Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    8. 8. My two cents, today  “The opposite of a great truth is also true.” Niels Bohr  Agriculture is a game-changer, and land is the battlefield     Rural Development Gender Climate change WEF nexus Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    9. 9. Unfolding intricacies: the WEF nexus     Increase in population and overall quality of life Demand for water, food and energy: +30/50% between 2010 and 2030 Short-term response induced by disparities likely to have heavy effects on longer-term sustainability Any strategy focusing on one side only risks severe unattended consequences World Economic Forum, 2011 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    10. 10. Unfolding intricacies: WEF and Agriculture Earth at Night (Suomi NPP satellite, 2012) Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    11. 11. Climate as a driving force Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    12. 12. Climate vs Agriculture  Food production: decrease by up to 2% each decade for 21st century  Global food demand: increase by as much as 14% each decade  Extreme weather increase risks to food production IPCC leaked report Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    13. 13. Agriculture vs Climate  Agriculture = major contributor of methane and nitrous oxide  Agriculture accounts as much as transport & industry emissions CCAFS CGIAR Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    14. 14. Land: the battlefield Industry Energy Food Land Public Community Water Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    15. 15. Large-scale land investments: what is Science saying? Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    16. 16. Large-scale land investments: data & approach issues  Data and information gap  “Researchers needed to make multiple contacts and meetings with governmental officers to access even superficial and incomplete information” L. Cotula, 2009  Emergence of key partners outside traditional scientific communities  Two main strategies   Data gathering from public reports Data gathering form official governmental registries Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    17. 17. Large-scale land investments: what is Science saying? How much?  “There will never be a single, „true‟ figure for how much land have been acquired globally or even in a given country” L. Cotula 2013    Land Matrix: 50M Ha worldwide over 10 years Reports built on GRAIN data: 56M Ha of agricultural-based deals Reports built on International Land Coalition data: 51-63M Ha in Africa 2008-2010 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    18. 18. Large-scale land investments: what is Science saying? When?  Large-scale land acquisition has deep historical roots Colonial land acquisition State-driven land acquisition Land acquisition of local elites Today land deals Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    19. 19. Large-scale land investments: what is Science saying? Where?  Sub-Saharan Africa  South and South-East Asia  Soviet Eurasia  South, Central America & Caribbean region  Domestic land acquisition Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    20. 20. Large-scale land investments: what is Science saying? Who?  China & Korea  Gulf States & Lybia More prominently:  Western World  Regional companies  Local intermediaries But also  Brazil  South-East Asian emerging economies Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    21. 21. Large-scale land investments: what is Science saying? Why?  5Fs:      Food Feed Fuel (including wood) Fiber Finance  Water grabs  Green Grabs Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    22. 22. Large-scale land investments: what is Science saying? Is it working?  High uncertainty about how large-scale land investments can benefit local communities  Evidence is about what did not work     No durable benefits [job] Acquisition is generally an irreversible process Many failures due to poor assessment of investment proposals by local governments Poor consultation mechanism  Conflict Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    23. 23. What could be the way forward?  Develop science more inter- and trans- disciplinary  Promote crosspollination of academia and practice  Improving  Communication tools Engage a broader community Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013
    24. 24. Thank you, it was my pleasure!  Read: www.simonesala.it  Write: simone.sala@gmail.com  Tweet: @hereissimone Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Pisa – November 8, 2013

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