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Motion for a resolution - B8-0270/2015/REV1Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Tanzania, notably the issue of land grabbing

10.3.2015 - (2015/2604(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Josef Weidenholzer, Nikos Androulakis, Norbert Neuser, Miroslav Poche, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Nicola Caputo, Enrico Gasbarra, Kashetu Kyenge, Krystyna Łybacka, Alessia Maria Mosca, Tonino Picula, Neena Gill, David Martin, Arne Lietz, Marc Tarabella, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Elena Valenciano, Carlos Zorrinho, István Ujhelyi, Michela Giuffrida, Viorica Dăncilă, Victor Negrescu, Sorin Moisă, Andi Cristea, Marlene Mizzi, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Zigmantas Balčytis, Biljana Borzan on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0242/2015

Procedure : 2015/2604(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on Tanzania, notably the issue of land grabbing


The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions,


- having regard to the Directive 2013/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings, amending Directive 2006/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC,


- having regard to the G8 Land Transparency Initiative of 2013,


- having regard to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) adopted by the UN Committee of World Food Security in 2012,


- having regard to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative launched by the G8 summit in 2012,


- having regard to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights of 2011,


- having regard to the African Land Policy Initiative, a joint initiative of the African Union, the African Development Bank, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa,


- having regard to the African Union Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investment of 2009,


- having regard to the African Union Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa of 2009,


- having regard to the EU Land Policy Guidelines to provide guidance to land policy development and programming in developing countries of 2004,


- having regard to Rule 135 (2) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas land grabbing continues to be of serious concern in many African countries, including in Tanzania;


B. whereas there are different views on the role of large-scale agribusiness investments in increasing agricultural production and productivity in Africa, and on the role of large-, medium- and small-scale farming in the development of the countries concerned, including in Tanzania;




C. whereas Tanzania witnessed a significant increase of foreign and domestic interest in establishing large-scale biofuel plantations in the country between 2005 and 2008, when around 640,000 ha of land was allocated to investors; whereas most of these large-scale biofuel investments have collapsed since;


D. whereas in recent years Tanzania experienced a new wave of large-scale land acquisitions due to the growing global demand for agricultural commodities, higher commodity prices, forest cultivation, hunting, tourism, mining, land speculation, and government policies; whereas available land and cheap labour continue to make the country attractive to foreign agribusiness companies, encouraged by the government to invest in the agricultural sector;


E. whereas, according to the African Development Bank, 75 per cent of the population are small-scale farmers in Tanzania; whereas, however, according to the NGO Concern, less than 10 per cent of the population have formal certificates of ownership for the land they cultivate; whereas formal land title deeds are difficult to obtain in the country due to heavy bureaucracy and corruption;


F. whereas in most cases large-scale land deals result in dispossessing local rural communities of their land they have traditionally cultivated; whereas local communities often lose access to water, dry-season grazing and other natural resources in consequence of these contracts; whereas the validity of these large-scale deals are in doubt in many cases, while investment companies often do not honour the promises they made to the local population;


G. whereas land grabbing is an important part of the public discourse over governance and transparency in Tanzania, directly linked to the issues of corruption and the misuse of public assets by politicians and public servants;


H. whereas in January 2015 the Tanzanian Parliament’s Committee for Lands, Natural Resources and Environment ordered the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development to recover 3,000 ha of land sold to an investor in Bagamoyo District in the Coast Region on the basis that the Ministry had sold this land in 2008 knowing that it had been part of the Saadani National Park; whereas Tanzania is considered to be an African country which has implemented progressive land tenure reforms in the past two decades;


I. whereas pastoral communities, which represent about 10 per cent of the population, are in particular strongly affected by the negative consequences of land grabbing in Tanzania; whereas pastoralists, including the Masaai people, continue to face a massive loss of their land due to the selling out of land without adequate knowledge about the legal and practical consequences, corrupt and illegal allocation of land to foreigners, and the classification of land as trust land, reserve and national park by the authorities; whereas some pastoral communities have reportedly been victims of killing, displacement, detention, the destruction of their villages, and the confiscation of livestock related to land grabbing operations;


J. whereas women are another vulnerable group in Tanzanian society facing serious consequences of land grabbing practices; whereas large-scale agribusiness investment may contribute to further compromising women's land rights in the country;



K. whereas European companies have played a significant role in large-scale land acquisitions in Tanzania, and European financial institutions have been involved in financing large-scale land deals in the country;


L. whereas the European Union launched a new programme to improve land governance and the food and nutrition security of family farmers and vulnerable communities in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014; whereas the European Union is supporting land tenure programmes in ten African countries;


M. whereas the 2013 EU Accounting Directive requires the disclosure of payments to governments for companies listed on EU-regulated stock exchanges and to certain other companies in the field of extractive industries and the logging of primary forests; whereas, however, this Directive does not apply to agribusiness investments;


1. Acknowledging that agribusiness and tourism investments act as a source of income and economic growth in rural areas in Africa, including in Tanzania, stresses that fighting land grabbing practices is an essential part of good governance; underlines that inadequate compensation for land acquisitions, forced evictions and inaccessible redress remain key problems in this context in several African countries, including in Tanzania;


2. Stresses the serious human rights consequences of land grabbing practices, with special regard to the right to adequate food, the right to water, and the right to adequate housing; calls for full respect for these rights in the context of large-scale agribusiness investments in Tanzania and in other countries concerned;


3. Stresses that in the vast majority of cases land grabbing practices result in significant trauma for local communities and small-scale farmer families; calls, in this spirit, for the protection of the land rights of small-scale farmers - including many women - most of them lacking formal land title; calls also for enhanced protection of particularly vulnerable communities and social groups, notably pastoral communities and women, against land grabbing in Tanzania; welcomes in this regard the legislative steps taken to ensure the participation of women in local land administration structures in the country;


4. Urges the government of Tanzania to promote agricultural investment policies which benefit the local population in the regions concerned;


5. Calls for the mainstreaming of the issue of land grabbing into all levels of the EU’s political dialogue, trade and investment talks, and development cooperation with Tanzania; underlines that EU aid should not, under any circumstances, be directly or indirectly involved in any case of controversial land acquisition in the country;


6. Calls for full transparency and accountability of the operations of EU companies and financial institutions in large-scale agribusiness investments and land acquisitions in other regions of the world, including in Tanzania, and for strong and efficient EU mechanisms to monitor these operations;




7. Encourages the European private sector to review the existing voluntary and non-voluntary codes of conduct which relate to land grabbing practices, and to ensure that European companies apply the same quality standards in this context within the Union and in their investments outside the EU;


8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and the parliament and government of Tanzania.