Past Event

Executive Training Program on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture

March 8, 2015 - March 12, 2015
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Columbia University

Download the 2015 Executive Training Brochure here.

Increased investment in agriculture can accelerate sustainable development and help to meet growing food security needs at domestic, regional, and global levels. Yet, if not structured equitably or regulated carefully, investments can also lead to social and environmental degradation. These risks have only heightened as investments in land for agriculture have become increasingly attractive to foreign investors and host countries alike.

Countries concerned about sustainable development confront multiple challenges in managing foreign direct investment in agriculture, including land-based investments. These challenges include developing robust legal and fiscal frameworks; negotiating equitable deals with investors; leveraging investments for greater sustainable development outcomes; and mitigating environmental impacts while protecting human rights.

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) developed an executive training program on international investments in agriculture. This program, which is based on CCSI’s successful Executive Training on Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development, was held at Columbia University in New York City on March 8-13, 2015.

The program provides an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities of agricultural investments. The program was designed to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to address some of the key challenges posed by international investments in agriculture, and to encourage a rich dialogue about best practices from around the globe. By working through real case studies and with practitioners and experts in the field, participants focus on how to use analytical tools and frameworks to harness agricultural investments for sustainable development.

Who should attend?

This interdisciplinary program is designed for mid-level public sector officials and civil society representatives from developing countries, whose responsibilities relate to investments, agriculture, land or rural development. A select number of representatives from development agencies and the private sector may also be admitted.


The course draws primarily from among faculty and experts at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs. Other experts will teach specific topics related to their expertise. Select faculty included:

  • Ward Anseeuw, Research Fellow, CIRAD
  • Joseph Bell, Of Counsel, Hogan Lovells
  • Karol Boudreaux, Land Tenure & Resource Rights Practice Lead, Cloudburst Group
  • Lorenzo Cotula, Principal Researcher – Law and Sustainable Development, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
  • Heather Eisenlord, Human Rights Program Director, International Senior Lawyers Project
  • Jessica Fanzo, Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Columbia University
  • Josh Fisher, Research Scientist, Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity, Earth Institute, Columbia University
  • Bruce Gilchrist, Partner, Hogan Lovells
  • Michael Jarvis, Team Leader, Governance for Extractive Industries & Open Contracting, World Bank Group
  • Cynthia E. Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
  • Senior legal, economics, and technical staff of CCSI 

If you have any questions about the program or if you would be interested in sponsoring participants in the program, please contact us at [email protected].