Land Contracts and Transparency in Land-Based Investment + Land and Agriculture
Projects By Topic
In September 2018, CCSI launched OpenCommunityContracts.org, a collection of publicly available agreements between local communities and investors. In some instances, the repository also features agreements that include host government parties. The agreements featured on the repository include benefit sharing agreements, leases, memoranda of understanding (MOUs), and revenue sharing agreements concluded in the context of agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas extraction, renewable energy, and other natural resource projects.
Community Development Requirements: Domestic Laws, Best Practices, and Community Development Agreements Database
CCSI has a growing portfolio of activities regarding community development requirements and community development agreements (CDAs) that includes: (i) mapping domestic legal requirements for community development in the context of mining projects; (ii) policy and research on best practices around CDAs and benefit sharing for extractive, agricultural, and forestry projects; and (iii) regularly maintained collection of publicly available community agreements relating to extractive, agricultural, and forestry projects.
CCSI assists stakeholders, researchers, and advocacy organizations by analyzing resource contracts for human rights, fiscal, sustainable development, and environmental implications.
CCSI is developing a tool to assist stakeholders in conducting their own assessments of the human rights and environmental implications of land contracts. This tool will explain the main human rights or environmental issues that may be implicated by the underlying deals, note whether the issues are likely to be included in contracts, describe the relevant human rights norms or environmental standards, and provide an overview of best practices.
OpenLandContracts.org is the first global repository of publicly available investor-state contracts for commercial agriculture or forestry projects. Users of the website can search contracts by different categories; view summaries of key social, human rights, environmental, fiscal, and operational provisions; compare certain provisions across contracts; and download full contracts. OpenLandContracts.org supports a number of stakeholders, and the platform is available to governments interested in developing country-specific databases.
To make investor-state contracts for land, agriculture, and forestry projects more readily available and accessible, CCSI has created a range of guides and other resources to assist users of OpenLandContracts.org and others in better understanding these agreements.
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 the benefits of land-based investment, including for those affected who lack a voice in the negotiation process.
In addition to conducting research on transparency in land-based investment, CCSI continues to facilitate dialogue at this nexus through webinars, side events, and by convening multistakeholder discussions.
CCSI advocates for transparency in a number of fora. Given the important role that home states could play to encourage greater disclosure of information regarding land-based investment, CCSI has made multiple submissions to home state entities suggesting the introduction or expansion of disclosure requirements for companies.
CCSI is exploring how free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and consultation processes can be integrated into investor-state contract negotiations, taking into account the practicalities of contract negotiations, to better safeguard the land rights and human rights of members of project-affected communities.