The Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments (LSLBI) are the outcome of the desire by African Union Member States to ensure that investments in land benefit Member States and key stakeholders. The Guiding Principles were prepared through a collaborative and participatory process and was made possible by the engagement and support provided by the heads of the three institutions of the LPI consortium.In May 2011 African governments and stakeholders engaged on a global stage at the Annual Meetings of the AfDB and agreed on the urgency of the task of developing appropriate African instruments to guide LSLBI. At the subsequent African Development Forum (ADFVIII) held in October 2012 on governing and harnessing natural resources for Africa’s development, a consensus statement was adopted, calling for the urgent implementation of the Nairobi Action Plan including the development of principles to strengthen the capacities of member states in the design and implementation of responsible LSLBI. In 2013 the LPI commissioned an Africa-wide assessment study on large scale land based investments involving over 200 ha (LSLBI). The study reviewed (LSLBI) from all five regions of Africa: Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Northern Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa during the period 2000 and 2013 incorporating over 16 million acres of agricultural land. These cases constitute 45% of all cases of LSLBI globally over the same period According to the assessment study LSLBI deals are not always successfully implemented. Land whose ownership is transferred to the investor upon signing of the deal is not always brought into full production. Only 42% of the 474 LSLBI deals reviewed under the assessment report were found to be operational.The Guiding Principles seek to ensure the observance of international human rights declarations and conventions as well as regional declarations in the manner in which LSLBI are conducted. Key among these are the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women [CEDAW (1979)], the Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (UNESCO, 1972); the Right to Food (as recognized by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.These Guiding Principles on LSLBI serve to facilitate the implementation of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Comprehensive Africa Development Program (CAADP) and the Nairobi Plan of Action by providing policy direction and guidance to inform LSLBI in African agriculture. As such, the Guiding Principles are a basis for commitment, solidarity and collective responsibility by governments, other stakeholders and investors to improve the governance of large scale land based agricultural investments in Africa. Specifically, the objectives of the Guiding Principles on LSLBI are to: a) guide decision making on LSLBI in recognition of the fact that LSLBI may not always be the most appropriate from of investment; b) provide AU Member States and other stakeholders with direction on how to realize investments in land which are sustainable and beneficial to African economies and people; c) create a basis for effective coordination, cooperation and collective responsibility amongst AU Member States and other stakeholders to ensure improved land governance in the context of LSLBI; d) provide investors with a tool to inform their engagement with African governments, bodies responsible for decentralized decision making on land governance (such as municipalities), traditional authorities and other actors to ensure responsible land investments and; e) to provide a basis for developing a monitoring and evaluation framework to track LSLBI in Africa with a view to facilitating learning and review of LSLBI; f) provide a basis for review of existing LSLBI contracts.Six Fundamental Principles are as follows: 1: LSLBI respect human rights of communities, contribute to the responsible governance of land and land-based resources, including respecting customary land rights and are conducted in compliance with the rule of law. 2: Decisions on LSLBI are guided by a national strategy for sustainable agricultural development which recognizes the strategic importance of African agricultural land and the role of smallholder farmers in achieving food security, poverty reduction and economic growth. 3: Decisions on LSLBI and their implementation are based on good governance, including transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation and social acceptance of affected communities. 4: LSLBI respect the land rights of women, recognize their voice, generate meaningful opportunities for women alongside men, and do not exacerbate the marginalization of women. 5: Decisions on the desirability and feasibility of LSLBI are made based on independent, holistic assessment of the economic, financial, social and environmental costs and benefits associated with the proposed investment, throughout the lifetime of the investment. 6: Member States uphold high standards of cooperation, collaboration and mutual accountability to ensure that LSLBI are beneficial to African economies and their people.
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