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03-10: Reducing the Risks of Agribusiness Investment
Advocating for Safeguards in Governing Land for Investment: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda, and Malawi
Human Rights Watch
With the new wave of land related laws and policies enacted in Africa recently, special focus should be on key governance gaps related to how land is allocated for investment purposes vis-à-vis local communities. We argue that governments and donors such as the World Bank need to undertake preventative measures when embarking on policies that encourages large-scale land based investments for extractives, agriculture and infrastructure.
To highlight governance gaps related to governing land for investment we use data from Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda and Malawi based on field research conducted in 2011, 2012, 2013-2014 and 2015-16 respectively. We interviewed approximately 330 respondents for the four case studies, including local community members, government officials, investors and other stakeholders. We find that when there are weak government policies, lack of transparency in land transactions and monitoring of negative consequences for communities, vulnerable groups are disproportionately impacted.
We conclude by proposing measures to close these governance gaps. These measures should be tailored to address the distinctive impacts on women and men. This will ensure that projects planned and carried out do not violate rights of local communities, and would minimize displacements and disruptions of livelihoods.
Responsible Large-Scale Land Investments in Uganda: Current Application and Potential Scope of International Safeguards
1University of Marburg, Germany; 2Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
A number of international initiatives have endorsed voluntary safeguards such as the VGGT to stipulate responsible large-scale investments in land and agriculture in developing countries. The underlying assumption of these safeguards is that investors face numerous risks related to land disputes and hence have intrinsic motivations to responsibly acquire agricultural land in order to mitigate these risks. Despite the central role of investors for the implementation of voluntary safeguards, few systematic attempts have been made to share the experiences and perspectives of investors regarding the implementation and operationalization of such guidelines and principles. This study focuses on how voluntary safeguards are operationalized by large-scale agricultural land investments in Uganda and whether the resulting activities successfully mitigate risks of (land) disputes. Primary data was collected during a field research in Uganda in August 2016 through key informant interviews with investors, community associations, the local government, CSOs, donors and national government agencies. Our findings highlight that land acquisitions in line with safeguards can successfully mitigate risks for investors. But low awareness for the risks of land disputes, insufficient knowledge of guidelines and principles, monitoring of investments and secondary effects on land markets remain a challenge for responsible large-scale land investments in Uganda.
Mechanisms for Consultation and Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the Negotiation of Land Contracts
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, United States of America
Investor-state contracts are regularly used in low- and middle-income countries to grant concessions for land-based investments, such as agricultural or forestry projects. These contracts are rarely negotiated in the presence of, or with meaningful input from, the people who risk being adversely affected by the project. This has serious implications for requirements for meaningful consultation, and, where applicable, free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), and is particularly important in situations in which investor-state contracts grant the investor rights to lands or resources over which the community has legitimate claims.
The paper explores how consultation and FPIC processes can be integrated into investor-state contract negotiations, taking into account the practicalities of contract negotiations, to better safeguard the land rights and human rights of members of project-affected communities. Based on a review of relevant international law standards and guidance documents, as well as a close analysis of typical investor-state negotiations and of consultation and consent processes in other contexts, the paper provides various options that may be appropriate, depending on the local context and the community’s resources and decision-making structures.
Pre-existing Community Land Disputes In Private Sector Investments and Development Interventions
1The Cloudburst Group, United States of America; 2Independent Consultant
Pre-existing community land disputes can profoundly affect private-sector investments and development programs or interventions. If these disputes, which can sometimes be difficult for outside actors to identify, address and mitigate, are not recognized they can re-ignite or trigger conflicts that delay, stop, or add significant financial and other costs to projects. Finding practical methods to address these conflicts is essential to promoting sustainable development and inclusive enabling and investment climates. Unfortunately, the issue of pre-existing community land conflicts is often which increases risks for communities, investors, development agencies and other stakeholders (such as host governments). This paper explores this under-addressed issue and provides clear and practical guidance on strategies to identify and address pre-existing community land disputes with a focus on the agricultural sector. It provides a brief and simple typology of land disputes with examples of how pre-existing disputes have affected projects. It identifies lessons learned from efforts to identify and address such disputes and, finally, it offers actionable recommendations for private sector and public sector actors to reduce harm and increase positive outcomes.