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08-10: Community empowerment to ensure a fair investor negotiations
3:45pm - 5:15pm
Session Chair: Lorenzo Cotula, IIED, United Kingdom
Legal empowerment in commercial agriculture: can small-scale producers secure their fair share?
Lorenzo Cotula, Emily Polack, Thierry Berger, Brendan Schwartz
IIED, United Kingdom
Increased private sector investment in commercial agriculture can create both risks and opportunities for rural livelihoods in low and middle-income countries. The ability of rural people to make informed choices, exercise rights and have their voices heard when dealing with the government or the private sector is a key factor in enabling investments that deliver positive sustainable development outcomes. Yet interactions between governments, agribusinesses and rural people usually involve major asymmetries in capacity, resources, influence and negotiating power.
This paper shares findings from the scoping study for a new project to empower rural producers in commercial agriculture. The paper examines the value chain relations that link small-scale rural producers, their organisations and their wider communities on the one hand, and agribusiness actors on the other. It also takes stock of experience with legal empowerment to support producers in their relations with agribusinesses and public authorities.
Innovative financing solutions for community support in the context of land investments
Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Cordes
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, United States of America
As investor companies seek to use community lands and resources, affected communities often struggle to access the legal and technical support needed to protect their interests. Host governments rarely dedicate funding to community legal support and foundations and donors cannot meet the legal support needs of every affected community.
Where, then, might we find new sources of capital to finance community legal support? Who, apart from governments and institutional donors can help to meet this need? And what innovative solutions exist to mobilize and scale-up available resources to better meet the legal support needs of affected communities?
This paper explores these questions focusing on government marshaling of funds, independently administered basket funds, and the potential for impact investment. Other approaches, such as third party funding, crowd funding, and affordable user fees are also considered.
Rural development, dynamic political economy and social license: a case study in renewable energy project governance missteps and lessons learned.
Andrew Buchman, Dean Slocum, Atma Khalsa
Acorn International, LLC, United States of America
Extractive energy companies frequently rely on social performance elements—including impact assessment; stakeholder identification, analysis, and engagement; community social investments; consultative approaches to livelihood restoration and enhancement, etc.—as a means of establishing themselves as a ‘good neighbor’.
Alternative energy companies are increasingly looking to the experience of ‘traditional’ energy projects as they attempt to manage non-technical risks. Alternative energy sponsors may view their investments as ‘win-win’, offering economic opportunity—but also governance ‘gains’ associated with transparent implementation of good international practice social performance.
Yet project implementation is often far from straightforward; in some cases what is catalyzed by a new project is conflict, rather than innovation. Anticipating land-related governance challenges associated with developing country and agrarian contexts is far from a simple calculation. In this paper, the authors consider a recent solar power project in Nigeria, and present lessons learned regarding the difficult challenges and choices facing project investors.
Assessing community capacity to respond to external threats to land tenure
Namati, United States of America
In 2018 Namati undertook research to understand how communities who had completed community land protection efforts (drafting bylaws for responsible land governance and sustainable natural resources management, mapping community lands, etc.) responded when government officials, elites, and investors arrived seeking community lands. The central question explored was: “How do community land protection efforts effect communities’ tenure security, when faced with external threats to their land and natural resources claims? The study systematically gathered stories of community-outsider interactions from sixty communities across Mozambique, Uganda and Liberia, then analyzed the anecdotes as a coherent group. The findings indicate that although communities' experiences illustrated legal empowerment and commitment to good governance of their lands and natural resources, the communities had difficulty successfully advocating for their interests when potential investors were accompanied by powerful government officials and when significant economic benefits were promised.