Many of today’s increasingly complex development challenges, from rapid urban expansion to climate change, disaster resilience, and social inclusion, are intimately tied to land and the way it is used. Addressing these challenges while also ensuring individuals and communities are able to make full use of their land depends on consistent, reliable, and accessible identification of land rights.
Over the last 10 years, a clear consensus has emerged: investments in land should be done responsibly. However, understanding tenure-related risk in the context of land-based agricultural investments in emerging markets can be complex.
For individual women and men within communities, these complexities can have severe and negative effects on their land and livelihoods. This is especially true for more vulnerable members of the community: widowed or divorced women, youth, and ethnic minorities.
I have been working on issues of land rights for more than 31 years in more than 22 countries, but no country has captured my attention, focus and heart more than India.
Those of you who have visited Dubai in recent years may relate to what I am going to say: Dubai is in the middle of the desert, and its land, not that long ago, was really worth nothing. Now it is one of the most vibrant international cities in the world. All this happened in a relatively short time span.
A civil society perspective on engaging with the private sector
Towards SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) (link is external) spoke with Michael Jarvis, Executive Director of the Transparency and Accountability Initiative (TAI), about OpenLandContracts.org, how the landscape regarding contract transparency has changed in recent years, and what these changes mean for stakeholders seeking to improve governance and accountability in the context of natural resource investments.
By Frank Pichel, Interim CEO & Chief Programs Officer, Cadasta Foundation
Across the continent, insecure rights to land are robbing millions of financial stability and long-term prosperity. While new technology is giving people the tools to define what’s theirs, governments must recognize that certainty of ownership is a prerequisite of sustainable development.
By Liam Kelley-St. Clair
Contracts between governments and private investors for large-scale land, agriculture, and forestry projects often play a critical role in the governance of these projects. Yet, despite their significance, such contracts are often kept hidden from the public eye. Amongst the many initiatives seeking to shed light on these deals, OpenLandContracts.org, an initiative of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), works to advance transparency by serving as a centralized online repository of publicly available land, agriculture, and forestry contracts between investors and governments.
A small band of grassroots advocates has been helping communities in Sierra Leone secure better deals for their land, says Sonkita Conteh, from paralegal organisation Namati
I wouldn’t say Chinese investors are not trying to take social responsibility seriously, but they must understand that the meaning of responsible investment is much more than a few corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.