Projects

Research + Land and Agriculture


Developing a Collaborative Approach to Human Rights Impact Assessments

CCSI, in partnership with the Sciences Po Law School Clinic and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, has developed a collaborative approach to human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of private sector investment projects. Although HRIAs have become increasingly prominent in recent years, one specific challenge is the frequent lack of trust between communities and companies, which often extends to distrust of HRIAs that “the other side” has initiated. A collaborative approach to HRIAs provides an avenue to jointly undertake an HRIA that is considered credible by all sides and that helps to address the power imbalances that often exist between companies and communities around private sector projects.

Innovative Financing Solutions for Legal Support to Communities

Around the world, project-affected communities grapple with how to access and pay for the legal support they need in the context of natural resource investments—including when they are asked to negotiate directly with investors. CCSI is conducting research to identify, assess, and help further thinking around innovative financing solutions for legal support to communities as they seek to secure and promote their rights and interests that may be affected by agriculture, forestry, and other natural resource investments.

Communities’ Redress for Harm Post-Closure, Abandonment, or Divestment

What are the implications for individuals’ or communities’ ability to obtain redress for harms after investors or lenders have pulled out of a project, or after a project has failed? In light of the continued pressure on investors and lenders to divest from problematic projects, as well as the number of land deals that have failed altogether, CCSI is working to examine the loopholes, gaps, and unenforceable elements in laws and policies regarding redress of harms to communities when investors or funders have left a project and to develop proposed solutions for improving redress options in those circumstances.

Legal Support for Governments

What types of legal support do host governments use in the context of land investments? When negotiating land investment deals, are host governments out-lawyered and out-resourced at the negotiating table? How can legal assistance help governments to meaningfully incorporate international best practices around responsible land-based investments into individual projects? CCSI is conducting research on how host governments access legal support in the planning, negotiation, and monitoring of land investments, with a view to better understanding where legal support gaps for governments exist, and how these can be addressed by governments themselves, as well as by donors, support providers, and other international partners.

Guides to Land Contracts

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.

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.

Researching Transparency

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.

Land Investments and Human Rights

When not designed or implemented carefully, large-scale investment in agriculture can pose risks related to human rights and land rights. These risks are most acutely felt by rights-holders, but they can also have reputational, financial or other implications for governments and investors.

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.

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 agricultural investments for infrastructure development.

Land Investments and Climate Change

Land investments generally require shifts in land use. Some shifts have detrimental climate impacts; others aim at climate mitigation. All hold the potential to also affect access to land and the rights of land users. CCSI’s work in this area focuses on the interactions between resource investments, land use, land rights and climate change, including how to apply better practices to land investments aimed at climate change mitigation.

Access to Justice

Among the critical issues that arise from the interaction of human rights and investment law is whether and how the relatively greater access to justice provided to aggrieved investors by the international investment regime undermines access to justice for other individuals and communities, including those affected by large-scale land-based investment.

Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human Rights, and Investor Protections

Dealing with land-based investments and the grievances that they raise can be difficult for host governments, who face a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This project examines the different legal frameworks governing what governments can do to address and remedy land-related grievances after investment concessions have been awarded, with a specific focus on government obligations under international investment law and international human rights law.

Land Contracts and 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