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Timely identification of land rights issues is better than having to address land rights problems later, after they escalate leading to conflicts that damage community relations, increase costs and undermine sustainability of the investmentCompanies need to pay proper attention to land tenure issues at the investment planning stage, implying a need for improved risk assessment and due diligence.

Highlighted Tools & Resources

LandAssess Tool

LandAssess Tool

The ‘LandAssess’ (link is external) tool developed by Landesa with Illovo sugar for the company Illovo to use as a land risk assessment and management framework to strengthen ongoing due diligence by the company of its major production sites and smallholder supply chains in Africa. Find out more here (link is external)

Landscope risk

Landscope risk assessment tool


The Landscope risk assessment tool, developed by LEGEND partner TMP Systems, is a system that applies a new approach to analyzing geospatial data about social, environmental and political issues that is designed to help companies and investors to prepare a proper assessment of tenure risk.  Read more about it here (link is external).

From Commitment

From Commitment to Practice (C2P)

Landesa’s C2P project narrative report explains the context and outcomes of Landesa’s work with Illovo in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. Read more about this project and its outcomes here.


Solidaridad - The LEGEND Project: Accomplishments and Lessons

Solidaridad’s LEGEND project booklet details the work done with Natural Habitats Sierra Leone, its accomplishments and lessons in reducing the scale of a huge oil palm investment and enabling it to comply with VGGT principles and gain social licence. Find out more here.


Negotiating and implementing large scale land deals in Sierra Leone: Improving transparency and consent. A LANDac Policy Brief

This LANDac Policy Brief explains how a series of large scale land concessions were created and discusses their effects and implications. Read the brief here.


Analytical framework

Analytical framework for due diligence of Land-Based Investments in African Agriculture

Analytical framework for due diligence of Land-Based Investments in African Agriculture, developed in 2015 by international agencies concerned to ensure fair land governance and protection of legitimate land rights in investments processes. Read more about it here


Are development finance institutions equipped to address land rights issues? A stocktake of practice in agriculture

Development finance institutions (DFIs) are increasingly prominent in international cooperation, and play a key role in aligning private sector conduct with international norms and standards through the projects they finance and their ‘demonstration effect’. Read the report to learn how DFI’s due diligence and operating procedures could be strengthened to protect land rights.
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This requires changing common approaches to due diligence used by companies and investors, moving beyond desk-based legalistic chain of title approaches to approaches that help to enable and identify the conditions required for a company to have a social license to operate. The assessment of human rights impacts and of social and governance risks related to land rights needs to be strengthened both at the financing stage, and throughout the investment cycle. 

LEGEND’s thematic case study on investment planning and due diligence explains the challenges faced in three pilot projects as a result of lack of attention to land tenure when the investments were originally planned and the approaches used by partners to address them.

  1.  "Piloting the ‘Community Land Value Chain’ in Zambezia, Mozambique"  - ORAM’s work to document land rights in a forestry investment area
  2. "Applying the VGGT to the responsible development of a large-scale oil palm plantation in Sierra Leone"  -  Solidaridad’s work with a Netherlands based oil palm producer  to address problems resulting from creation of a very large concession
  3.  "From Commitment to Practice (C2P)"  - Landesa’s work with Illovo Sugar to help build capacity to address land issues

Investors and companies need to take particular care to be understand land legacy issues which concern longstanding grievances and conflicts resulting from land acquisitions that took place without proper consultation or compensation and restrictions on community access to land.

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