CCSI hosted an exclusive preview of OpenLandContracts.org, as well as a conversation on land contract transparency, at the “From Rhetoric to Action: Scaling Up Community and Indigenous Peoples’ Land and Resource Rights” conference in Bern, Switzerland. OpenLandContracts.org is the first searchable online repository of publicly available investment contracts for large-scale land, agriculture, and forestry projects from around the world. Such projects can have serious implications for land users and local communities, as well as for host governments’ sustainable development efforts, while the contracts that govern them affect a range of social and environmental issues and define the responsibilities of the governments and investors involved. To date, a general lack of contract transparency, combined with limited capacity to analyze and compare agreements, has resulted in a critical knowledge gap for citizens, host governments, and other stakeholders. OpenLandContracts.org, which is a joint project of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) and the World Bank, aims to fill that gap.
In advance of the repository’s formal launch on October 7 in New York, this side event provided a preview of the website. In addition, the event featured a panel discussion with David Bledsoe (Landesa), Coralie David (OECD), and Megan MacInnes (Global Witness), moderated by Kaitlin Cordes (CCSI).