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07-04: New Ways to Track Large Farm Performance and Compliance
Articulating a Rights-Based Argument for Land Contract Transparency
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, United States of America
This paper explores whether and how existing state obligations under human rights law require disclosure of land contracts and more transparent contracting processes around land investments. It focuses on the extent to which guidelines for responsible land-based investment, which encourage greater transparency, reflect existing host and home state obligations. Based on a review of relevant human rights law and authoritative interpretations thereof, the paper articulates rights-based arguments for land contract disclosure, based in particular on rights to participation and the right of access to information. This rights-based approach, which has not been fully articulated to date, bolsters understanding of the extent to which best practice recommendations regarding transparency in land investments are reflected in binding human rights obligations, and thereby provides arguments for pushing the transparency agenda forward with states. Moreover, where uncertainty exists regarding how best to implement recommendations regarding land contract disclosure, rights-based arguments can serve to inform and shape measures adopted in pursuit of implementation. The paper also seeks to encourage greater discussion of the links between human rights law and transparency in land investments within the various fora and communities of practice focused on these issues, and to lend legal weight to policy arguments.
Systematic and Rapid Assessment of Concessions Using GIS and Remote Sensing: The case of Economic Land Concessions in Cambodia
1ESRI, United States; 2Indufor North America, United States; 3Forest Trends, United States
Over the past decade, significant attention has been given to the rapid increase in the allocation of large-scale commercial land concessions within developing countries. Concerns have been raised regarding the process by which concessions were granted as well as the subsequent management of them. Some of those concerns include social displacement, large-scale deforestation, and the lack of monitoring and oversight related to adherence with national laws. Using lightweight GIS and remote sensing data, a methodology will be explained for how one can go about monitoring and analyzing key concerns related to economic land concessions, including the extent of forest cover loss, extent of planting, potential social displacement, and adherence with local development requirements.
A recent study focusing on economic land concessions in Cambodia will serve as a concrete example for discussion.
The Land Matrix initiative – from a global data base to a network of decentralised and thematic land observatories
1GIGA, Germany; 2CIRAD, France; 3University of Pretoria, South Africa; 4CDE, Switzerland; 5International Land Coalition, Italy; 6Investigador Independiente del CONICET
Over the years, the LM has encountered several challenges and, in order to respond to them, has restructured and adapted its activities and methodologies – particularly by decentralising and transforming from a global initiative and dataset into a network of decentralised and thematic land observatories. The objective of this paper is to present these challenges (section 1), ii) to detail how the LM responded to the latter and to critically assess its present contribution (Section 2).
Land Concession Data Transparency: A Survey of Fourteen Forested Countries
1World Resources Institute, United States of America; 2Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, United States of America
Global demand for agricultural commodities, minerals and forest products is a significant driver of deforestation worldwide. These activities occur on land allocated by governments to companies for extractive or productive purposes, known as land concessions. Data on the location, ownership and extent of land concessions is essential to attribute drivers of forest loss, monitor environmental impacts of ongoing activities, demand accountability and ensure efficient and sustainable allocation of land. However, most countries lack comprehensive information on the precise location, extent, ownership and use of land concessions. To date, no previous studies have assessed the availability of open spatial information on land concessions across countries or sectors. This paper fills this knowledge gap by providing a survey of the state of play in land concession transparency for the first time, with a special emphasis on spatial data. More specifically, this paper examines the completeness and quality of land concessions data in fourteen forested countries, as well as the laws governing the disclosure of concessions data and an assessment of the implementation of these laws. Each country and sector is evaluated against criteria for data accessibility and quality, and, based on these findings, recommendations are made to improve land concessions data access.