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361N: Policy and governance of illicit and/or clandestine transactions and land-use changes
1:15pm - 2:45pm
Session Chair: Elizabeth Tellman Session Chair: Nicholas Magliocca
Location:MB-120 Main Building, room 120, first floor, west wing, 80 (+14) seats
How do we support transformation?
Academic research and investigative journalism have revealed the role of illicit and/or clandestine transactions (financial and in-kind) in driving land-use changes. Examples include illegal deforestation, agricultural expansion funded through tax havens, urbanization and infrastructure development via bribes, and large-scale commodity agriculture established for money laundering. Given the growing influence of illicit and/or clandestine transactions on land systems, this immersive session invites a range of practitioners and watchdog organizations to reflect on the role of science in informing policy on this topic, and present what they see as the types of evidence and/or research required to better govern the harmful effects of illicit capital flows and/or clandestine transactions on people and nature. While data to study these activities becomes increasingly available (e.g. Panama/Paradise papers, satellite data, and social media), the movement of capital and new technologies to obfusticate digital trails is also growing. Closer collaboration between scientists, journalists, and civil society actors may aid efforts to make headway.
This session invites perspective from diverse global settings and will explore questions such as:
- For what phenomena are there sufficient evidence to warrant taking action or informing policy, and what kind of illicit economic links to land require more research?
- What data could or should scientists make better use of? What policies are needed to ensure data on these transactions could be made more available?
- What are possible or existing governance structures (formal and informal) that could be leveraged or need to be built (e.g. certifications and consumer pressure from timber to oil palm, international agreements, or national laws)?
Panelists will comment on these key questions and the policy relevance (or lack thereof) of the research in the preceding panel on the same topic, as well as field audience questions, to discuss this important issue. This innovative/immersive session supports OSM theme 3 by proposing steps forward in supporting transformation regarding this global challenge.
Session Organizers: Elizabeth Tellman and Nicholas Magliocca
ID: 718 / 361N: 1 361N Policy and governance of illicit and/or clandestine transactions and land-use changes (INVITED ABSTRACTS ONLY)
Indonesia for Sale
The Gecko Project, United Kingdom
The Gecko Project is an investigative journalism initiative established to shine a light on the corruption driving land grabs and the destruction of tropical rainforests. It seeks to create and maintain a sense of urgency over the role of large land deals, predominantly for food production, in some of the most pressing global challenges: climate change, the collapse of biodiversity, food security, and the rights of indigenous peoples and other rural communities. We aim to achieve this through the production and promotion of in-depth, high-quality and accessible journalism. The Gecko Project was established by Earthsight- www.earthsight.org.uk
ID: 683 / 361N: 2 361N Policy and governance of illicit and/or clandestine transactions and land-use changes (INVITED ABSTRACTS ONLY)
The use of shadow companies to circumvent market demands for palm oil sustainability
Aidenvironment, Chain Reaction Research
In 2013, large palm oil traders and refiners adopted No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policies. Oil palm plantation companies that supply these traders/refiners are expected to act in line with these policies, and non-compliance can result in suspension and exclusion. As of 2017, 74 percent of Indonesian and Malaysian refining capacity is covered by such policies. Several plantation companies responded to these market demands by restructuring their business, and placing controversial assets in related entities or hiding their beneficial ownership. This allows them to service market segmenets that demand sustainability, while holding on to controversial but valuable assets.
Full talk ID: 760 / 361N: 3 111R Clandestine and illicit economies as drivers of land system dynamics Keywords: corruption, illicit flows, elites, urban land, Sustainable Development Goals
An analysis of land corruption and illicit flows
Transparency International Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
While there is some global recognition that the land sector is susceptible to corruption, the relationship between land corruption and illicit flows remains a topic least explored. This is however despite some of the early warning signs such as numerous examples from the Panama and Paradise Papers on the extent to which the “politically exposed person” and power business elites with interest in large-scale agri-business, mining and real-estate business are linked implicated in a number of land and property scandals. The accelerated demand for land all over the world and rising land value heightens the risk of corruption and illicit flows. A 2009 UN Habitat study noted 77% of survey respondents in African cities and 61% in Asian cities believe public office holders benefit most from urban reforms due to corruption (UN Habitat 2009). Land and property value aremain driver of rising inequality (Alvaredo et al. 2017, Stiglitz 2015, Rognlie 2014). Far from being a problem in the developing world, corruption and clandestine transactions in the land sector are a global phenomenon. The Panama paper revealed that 2,800Mossack Fonseca companies appear on a U.Kland registry list of overseas property owners dating from 2014. In London, 36,000 plots (5,7km2) are owned by shell companies. Between 2008 and 2014, roughly 30% of condos in big Manhattan developments were sold either to foreign investors, often shell companies or Limited Liability Companies. Sustainable Developmental Goal 16 provides a framework to address issues of corruption. Through this paper we seek to provide some answers as well as leverage dialogue on such questions as i) what kind of illicit economic links to land require more research? Ii) what policies are needed to ensure data on these transactions could be made more available? and iii) What are possible or existing governance structures (formal and informal) that could be leveraged or need to be built. The response to these questions is informed by Transparency International ‘s Land and Corruption in Africa Programme which has been implemented for the past 4 years in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Cameroon, Liberia and Sierra Leone.