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, it is critical to develop a better understanding of the unique obstacles to redress that may arise in such scenarios. 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 (for example, due to divestment or abandonment)—an underexplored and complicated aspect of legacy issues—and to develop proposed solutions for improving redress options in those circumstances. For example, could social assurances, coupled with more robust project closure plans, be used to help guarantee the funds needed for redress options? How might this work in practice, and how could it be structured in a way that is ultimately beneficial, rather than harmful, for communities? This work is part of a series of projects and activities, supported by UK DFID, looking at legal support gaps in the context of land-based investments.