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To address land rights issues successfully, companies’ need access to skills and services of specialist skilled and locally informed providers, including national CSOs and independent experts.  Through recent pilot projects with donor funding, companies were able to benefit from access to expertise in land tenure and community engagement from partners whose primary commitments were to work on behalf of local communities.

Mechanisms are needed to enable investors and agribusiness operators to access this sort of expertise at scale, to help extend responsible approaches beyond “islands of success” in land-based investment, reliant on donor project funding.

Pilot experience shows that better engagement between companies and civil society and functioning markets to access these sorts of services is a key part of an enabling business environment for responsible investment, alongside mechanisms to mobilise support to affected communities (see Lesson 4) and the scope to introduce multi-stakeholder platforms for better investment planning and land resource governance (see Lesson 7)

In response LEGEND partners Landesa and TMP systems are developing the Social License Platform (SLP), currently being piloted for Tanzania as a web-based service that helps companies and investors find the expertise needed to perform due diligence, meet applicable land-related environmental and social standards, and achieve smarter and more successful land-based projects and investments, while promoting better outcomes for local communities.

Relevant skill areas that companies need access to include:  land tenure and community engagement and communications, relevant areas of law, risk assessment, gender analysis, participatory land rights mapping, land use planning and land registration, and the use of low-cost open data tools.

Knowledge of local cultural and political-economy and ecological contexts provided guidance on how to operate in the local governance and business environment:  for this, enabling collaboration between companies and local CSOS and opportunities to build trust are critical.

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