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, host governments negotiating investment deals are often out-lawyered and out-resourced at the negotiating table, while communities seeking to protect their land rights in the context of such investment are generally even more disadvantaged. Although investors may have access to sufficient legal support, their lawyers are not always sensitized to land rights, human rights, and other related issues.

There are no easy fixes, and many challenges stem from more systemic issues in the legal world. However, with support from UK DFID, CCSI is undertaking a series of projects to help fill these “legal support gaps.” This includes undertaking research on solutions for overcoming specific obstacles; developing guidance resources; and providing workshops and other opportunities to strengthen the provision of quality legal support that promotes responsible investment outcomes. To date, CCSI has developed a Directory of Community Guidance Relating to Agriculture or Forestry Investments and has continued to build the tools and guidance available on OpenLandContracts.org.