OpenLandContracts.org: A Database of Publicly Available Land, Agriculture and Forestry Contracts
In October 2015, CCSI launched OpenLandContracts.org, an online, searchable and user-friendly database of publicly available contracts for commercial agriculture or forestry operations from around the world. 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.
Why a repository of land contracts? Large-scale land acquisitions can have serious implications for land users and local communities, as well as for host governments’ sustainable development efforts. The contracts that govern these acquisitions affect a range of issues and define the responsibilities of the governments and investors involved. The frequent lack of contract transparency, combined with limited capacity to analyze and compare agreements, can result in a critical knowledge gap. Host governments miss the opportunity to learn from other countries’ experiences. Communities are less able to hold governments and investors accountable. And investors risk entering into deals for land that has already been allocated, imperiling the investment while increasing the potential for social tension and local conflict. When contracts are available in accessible form to the general public, all parties can build a climate of stronger accountability and trust.
Who will benefit? OpenLandContracts.org supports a number of stakeholders:
• communities and civil society organizations pushing for greater accountability around land transactions
• host governments seeking to negotiate with investors and monitor contract implementation
• companies researching concessions or seeking to reinforce their own commitments to transparency and openness
• media covering major investments and natural resource issues
• development practitioners advocating for more transparency in large-scale investments
In addition, the OpenLandContracts.org platform is available to governments interested in developing country-specific databases. If you are interested, please contact us.
The database is continuously updated with contracts; if you are aware of publicly available land, agriculture, or forestry contracts, we would be grateful to be notified.
OpenLandContracts.org is supported by the UK Department for International Development. It is a joint project of CCSI and the World Bank, and an expansion of ResourceContracts.org, a database of publicly available oil, gas and mining contracts, developed by CCSI, the World Bank, and the Natural Resource Governance Institute.
OpenLandContracts Mini-Grants Recipients
CCSI is pleased to announce that the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED) and Chris Arsenault (Land Issues Correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation) have each been awarded a grant of $10,000 through the OpenLandContracts.org Mini-Grants Program. The grant to CED will support the organization’s work on empowering communities to use information gained through contract disclosure to monitor land-based investments and to hold investors and governments accountable to their commitments with respect to such investments. The grant to Chris Arsenault will support on-the-ground research for a series of articles and related materials concerning land contract disclosure and transparency in land-based investment. CCSI warmly congratulates both grantees, and looks forward to sharing further details regarding these projects.