Adding up to our posts on foreign direct investments in agriculture, the Surrey International Law Centre and the Environmental Regulatory Research Group just published a fact-finding report on the so-called ‘land-grab’ which will be used as a basis for a more in-depth piece of research.

The abstract reads as follows, and the full document can be found here.

Following the 2008 world food crisis, many international investors have engaged in a race for land acquisition and food production. This new form of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is increasingly criticised in the public sphere, which commonly refers to it as a ‘land grab’.

In the absence of consequent primary sources relating to the subject matter, however, this working document provides an overview of what the authors describe as an ‘agri-FDI’ trend, based on the cross analysis of secondary sources. It first draws a geographical map of the trend as a means to emphasise who invests and where. Second, it considers the origins of the trend are, including the 2008 food crises and the impact of increased demand for biofuel. This document, overall, constitutes the basis of a forthcoming paper which, in turn, will formulate hypotheses and questions as to whether agriculture-oriented investments differ from traditional FDI.

A. Martin and M. Ayalew, Acquiring Land Abroad for Agricultural Purposes: ‘Land Grab’ or Agri-Fdi? Report of the Surrey International Law Centre and Environmental Regulatory Research Group (March 2011). Surrey Law Working Papers – 08/2011 Available on SSRN at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1788948

We are happy to announce the publication of a research paper in the Surrey Law Working Paper Series dealing with the 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the 2003 African Union Convention on Corruption (AUC).

The abstract reads as follows:

Adopted in 2003, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUC), and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) are the most recent examples of international initiatives aiming at tackling corruption.
The adoption of  these conventions is an important step in the fight against corruption and this working paper considers to what extent they represent a strong basis for tackling corruption, as well as why strong implementation measures remain essential. Section 1, examines the scope of the two conventions, highlights the lack of a legal definition of corruption as well as strong similarities with regards to the conventions’ objectives, and considers the limits of the means of actions provided by the conventions. Section 2 examines how practical measures such as codes of conduct, asset declarations, social and economic reforms, reliance on the private sector or cooperation, are suitable to tackle corruption. The paper concludes with the argument that strict implementation of existing measures remains the best mean to fight corruption in developing countries.

A. Martin, Implementation as the Best Way to Tackle Corruption: A Study of the UNCAC and the AUC 2003 (February 1, 2011). Surrey Law Working Paper No. 07/2011.

The full research paper can be downloaded here.

By Dr Juan Garcia Blesa

Among all the legal questions posed by the Iraq Inquiry, the one that most urgently needs an answer relates to the way international lawyers should look at the interpretation of the purported legal basis used by the UK to attack and invade another sovereign state in 2003.

With regard to this critical issue, the different legal approaches to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions should be assessed by previously revisiting their legal nature as exceptions to a fundamental international rule.

This note was recently used for the purpose of the Surrey International Law Centre (SILC) submission to the Iraq Inquiry on the correct approach to the interpretation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions relevant to the UK’s military intervention against Iraq. The full document is available here.

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