Transparency for Whom? Grounding Land Investment Transparency in the Needs of Local Actors
Transparency is often seen as a means of improving governance and accountability of investment, but its potential to do so is hindered by vague definitions and failures to focus on the needs of key local actors.
In a new report focusing on agribusiness, forestry, and renewable energy projects (“land investments”), CCSI grounds transparency in the needs of project-affected communities and other local actors. Transparency efforts that seek to inform and empower communities can also help governments, companies, and other actors to more effectively manage operational risk linked to social conflict.
Troublingly, the report finds that:
- Disclosures around land investments continue to fall short
- Communities struggle to access disclosed information
- More action is needed to enable communities to understand available information; and
- Communities face barriers to using information and to participating in open decision-making processes.
Taking a politically informed approach that considers the incentives of powerful actors, the report proposes seven strategies to advance land investment transparency:
- Driving agendas with community-led processes, such as protocols, bylaws, and development plans
- Increasing technical support for communities
- Empowering good faith regulators
- Implementing multi-stakeholder and participatory processes, when appropriate
- Factoring community-generated information into investment-related decisions
- Initiating domestic mechanisms to increase public access to information
- Extending community participation beyond individual projects to the policy level.
This research forms part of a broader portfolio of research conducted by CCSI on a demand-driven approach to land investment transparency, focusing on the transparency needs of project-affected communities and host governments. This project was funded with UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.