Investment in Land and Agriculture

From a sustainable development perspective, large-scale international investments in agriculture provide many of the same opportunities and challenges as investments in the extractives industries. However, agricultural and land-based investments also raise unique — and often polarizing — issues. To help address these issues, CCSI focuses on conducting solid research, developing accessible resources and tools, convening nuanced dialogue, and providing useful trainings and requested support.

Our Activities and Projects

+ Coordinating Multi-Stakeholder and Expert Dialogue

  • Negotiation Support to Resource Rich, Low-and Middle Income Countries
    CCSI has launched a series of meetings of negotiation support providers to create a forum to discuss common challenges and opportunities and to facilitate greater coordination among support providers. The overall objective of these meetings is to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of technical assistance and trainings for host governments at all stages of preparing for, negotiating and implementing large-scale deals.
  • Comparing Lessons Learned for Extractive Industry Investments and Large Land-Based Agricultural Investments
    CCSI has brought together stakeholders to explore good governance initiatives for extractive industry investments and large land-based agricultural investments -- in particular, whether, and if so, why, certain good governance efforts may be more advanced in one sector than in the other, and what could be done to further advance governance initiatives in both sectors.
  • Columbia International Investment Conference
    Since 2006, CCSI has hosted an annual Columbia International Investment Conference. These annual conferences bring together numerous stakeholders including high-level government officials, corporate executives, investors, academics, and civil society for forward-looking policy discussions of critical issues in international investment for sustainable development. A list of the past Conferences, with links to the programs and materials,... read more
  • Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on International Investment in Agriculture
    Difficult issues require strong dialogue. Increased opportunities for cross-disciplinary discussions among researchers and professionals working on issues related to agricultural investment facilitate efforts to contextualize work and sharpen evidence-based policy proposals. To encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration, CCSI has co-hosted a series of working group discussions at the Earth Institute on investment in agriculture as viewed through different lenses, including productivity, sustainability, risks, and rights. CCSI is now working to expand this dialogue to other groups and through other avenues.
  • Ad-hoc events
    CCSI regularly hosts speakers, roundtables, workshops, and events on a variety of related topics.

+ Policy and Advisory

+ Research

  • Addressing Legal Support Gaps Around Land-Based Investment
    CCSI is working to identify and advance concrete steps that can help address legal support gaps in the context of large-scale land-based investment. Such investment presents significant challenges for governments, communities, investors, and other stakeholders. While these challenges are often distinct, one commonality is the need for better and more accessible legal support. For example,... read more
  • Transparency in Land-Based Investment
    Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry hold diverse and far-reaching implications. Despite their significance, these investments are often negotiated and approved behind closed doors, and governed by contracts that are difficult to access and understand. This status quo is particularly concerning in countries where land contracts play a pivotal role in allocating risks and determining... read more
  • Land Grievances, Human Rights, and Investor Protections
    This project examines the legal frameworks governing what governments can do to address and remedy land-related grievances after investment concessions have been awarded.
  • Employment from Mining and Investments in Land for Agriculture
    The employment potential of investments in extractive industry projects and land acquisitions for agriculture is often touted both by governments and by companies in support of investor-friendly policies and large-scale investments in natural resources. CCSI is examining how job numbers are calculated, which factors influence job creation, and the quality and sustainability of these jobs, as well as whether job creation generated from these investments is net positive.
  • Community Development Requirements: Domestic Laws, Best Practices, and Community Development Agreements Database
    The project is collecting and reviewing community development requirements for mining companies and aims to create a matrix that encompasses these requirements as well as a database of agreements.
  • Infrastructure Investments Tied to Large-Scale Agriculture Projects
    Infrastructure development is often cited as one of the primary benefits of foreign direct investment in large-scale agricultural projects. Yet it is hard to find specific information on the most common types of infrastructure linkages, or how beneficial such linkages are for communities and host governments. CCSI is examining various strategies used to leverage large-scale... read more
  • Developing a Collaborative Approach to Human Rights Impact Assessments
    CCSI, the Sciences Po Law School Clinic, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights have developed a collaborative approach to human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of private sector investment projects. HRIAs have become increasingly prominent in recent years, particularly as companies focus on conducting human rights due diligence and communities seek to better understand the... read more

+ Resources and Tools

+ Teaching and Curriculum Development

  • Executive Training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture
    The program provides an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities of agricultural investments. The program is designed to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to address some of the key challenges posed by international investments in agriculture, and to encourage a rich dialogue about practices from around the globe.