Achieving responsible large-scale land based investments: why aren’t best practices a done deal? | Land Portal

Over the last 10 years, a clear consensus has emerged: investments in land should be done responsibly. However, understanding tenure-related risk in the context of land-based agricultural investments in emerging markets can be complex.

For individual women and men within communities, these complexities can have severe and negative effects on their land and livelihoods. This is especially true for more vulnerable members of the community: widowed or divorced women, youth, and ethnic minorities.

What are some of the barriers to adopting best practices in responsible investments in land? How can investors, governments, communities, and other stakeholders overcome these obstacles and move toward more sustainable solutions for land-based investments?

Join Landesa on Friday, March 23 at the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference for a 90-minute master class examining some of the toughest aspects to implementing best practices in responsible investments in land. A panel of experts from private sector, civil society, and development agencies will discuss and debate with audience issues and solutions related Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), Grievance Mechanisms and Gender Issues.

One of the clearest challenges in the investment process comes in applying international standards to specific countries. Well-known instruments, such as the AU Guiding Principles and the VGGT, have been developed to provide guidance on the land investment process. However, many have recognized that these standards comprise higher-level principles and lack practical detail for those seeking to implement and abide by them.

Appropriately, very useful guides have emerged that attempt to provide the next level of granularity. But they also identified difficult issues and many were challenging to implement because they lacked country-specific detail. 

Over the last several years, I’ve been fortunate to lead Landesa’s team in implementing a Department for International Development (DFID) funded project called Responsible Investments in Property and Land (RIPL). The purpose of RIPL is to develop step-by-step “how to” guides for companies, government and communities so they are better positioned to comply with international standards for responsible investment. Country specific guides are being developed in Ghana and Tanzania, which is informing a model template to be used in other countries.

Efforts under RIPL aim to take best practices a step closer to the ground by partnering with Governments of Ghana and Tanzania to develop country specific guidebooks, based on local context and investment climate, for each country. Because achieving responsible land based investments requires significant engagement and collaboration with communities, CSOs, governments, investors, and experts in the field, the project has included a broad range of stakeholders.

Extensive consultations have been held with policymakers and input has been regularly collected from an advisory group comprised of government, civil society and the private sector. Since each group has different needs, roles and responsibilities, the project is developing three guidebooks – one for each respective investment stakeholder group.

But challenges emerge when guidance shifts from policy to practice. For example, to what extent should consent be obtained from communities before implementing an investment? How can a company establish an effective grievance mechanism? How can gender issues be considered and addressed in an equitable manner?

Join us Friday, March 23 from 9 – 10:30 am as a panel of experts from private sector, civil society, and development agencies tackle these and other questions related to Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), Grievance Mechanisms and Gender Issues. The focus of the master class will be on responding to and debating tough questions from the audience.  Participants will emerge from the discussion with a clearer understanding of specific challenges related to each theme and potential ways to address these challenges.

We look forward to having you join us.

Achieving Responsible Land-based Investments

World Bank Land and Poverty Conference Master Class

9 – 10:30 am, Friday, March 23

Location: MC 6-100


Lukasz Czerwinski is a Program Manager, Global Programs and a Sr. Land Tenure Specialist with Landesa.

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