The International Development Studies Alumni Association of Utrecht University

The Land Forum

The Netherlands Academy on LandGovernance, or LANDac,will organize three Land Forums over the next three years, the first of whichtakes place on 7 and 8 November in Utrecht. LANDac is a partnership ofseveral Netherlands-based organizations with an interest in land issues anddevelopment, including the International Development Studies group  of Utrecht University, Disaster Studies -Wageningen, African Studies Centre - Leiden University, the Royal TropicalInstitute, Hivos, Agriterra, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs andTriodos Facet.

The Land Forum addresses aconcern that has attracted much attention in recent years: large-scaleacquisitions of land in developing countries, often by foreign investors, thatmay compete with the interests of local populations. The key issue is how muchneeded investment in agriculture may be reconciled with the livelihoodsrequirements of local communities. To address these issues from a multi-stakeholder perspective, the Land Forum brings togetherselected representatives from government, civil society and the private sectorfrom six countries: Brazil, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, South Africa andIndonesia. The invited experts will discuss ways of optimizing the link betweeninvestments in land, food security and inclusive and sustainable development.Some of the issues that will be addressed in November are the state-of-the-artof land governance in the selected countries, the role of the increasing numberof guidelines and regulations with regard to investments and how these link toactual practices on the ground, and the kind of business models that wouldallow for the best match between productivity and sustainable development.


The discussions will inform avariety of stakeholders, including private sector partners, policy makers,practitioners and academics. By formulating policy briefs and otherpublications covering the outcomes of the forum discussions, as well asfollow-up activities in the selected countries, the Land Forum aims tocontribute actively – from a land perspective – to current discussions on theinterface between private sector and development cooperation.


LANDac Coordinator Gemma Betsema studied Sociology and International Development Studies at the University of Amsterdam, from which she graduated in 2010 with a thesis aboutlocal adaptation strategies to climate change of small-scale farmers inrural Cambodia. After graduation, Gemma worked for research funding agency WOTRO; she also was involved in short-term assignments for theRoyal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the VU University’s Centre for International Cooperation (CIC). Gemma started working as Coordinator of LANDac in September 2012. Since then she has been  responsible for internal and external communication, facilitation of knowledge brokering through public lectures and round-table discussions, as well as financial matters. In additionto being LANDac coordinator, Gemma also works as aconsultant on issues of land governance for DGIS at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as a research consultant at Utrecht University. For more information about LANDAc or the Land Forum, please contact Gemma directly.