International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Land Portal are launching a new blog series on the governance of land-based investments in the Global South. The series will explore practical strategies and approaches adopted by rights defenders and others to address common challenges surrounding these investments.
Governments are facing mounting demands to kick start their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this pressure is also leading to an increase in large-scale land-based investments - and the negative impacts of poorly planned or irresponsible investments are putting growing pressure on land and the communities who use it.
For a new series of blogs, IIED has invited rights defenders and practitioners to reflect on their strategies to push for more responsible and sustainable land-based investments. The series is part of a joint initiative with the Land Portal and the ALIGN project.
In the blogs, partners from diverse backgrounds describe how they are responding to the challenges of land-based investments so that rural communities, pastoralists and Indigenous Peoples can demand greater protections, a seat at the negotiating table and tangible benefits from investments.
The blogs aim to increase awareness and interest in technical and political issues among a community of practice on land and investment issues. Each blog includes a list of resources available on the Responsible Land-Based Investment Navigator, a dedicated knowledge hub of practical resources. From guides on community preparedness and advocacy to tools dealing with conflict resolution, the resources draw on practical experiences and are tailored to the needs of different actors, from communities and civil society to governments and private-sector actors.
Over the coming weeks, we will explore some of the critical challenges to transforming land-based investment governance, raise awareness of the Responsible Land-Based Investment Navigator and the ALIGN project, and amplify marginalised voices from the global South.
We launch the series with contributions from IIED, South Africa and Ethiopia:
Navigating the challenges of land-based investment governance: Kickstarting the series, IIED’s Nathaniah Jacobs and Amaelle Seigneret outline the main challenges faced by rights defenders in relation to land-based investments and introduce the Navigator knowledge hub.
Mining and land rights in South Africa: how has the Maledu judgement empowered rural communities? In 2018, this landmark judgement ruled that a community’s consent was required for mining activities on their land. Louise du Plessis from Lawyers for Human Rights explores its importance for other rural communities.
Moving forward with communal land rights in Ethiopia: what are the legal solutions? Daniel Behailu and Nathaniah Jacobs discuss developing laws that recognise and respect communal land rights in Ethiopia, potential legal solutions, and why change will require social legitimacy to work.
A forthcoming contribution by Masalu Luhula will look at land-based investment in Tanzania and how simplified legal guides are empowering communities and further blogs will follow.
About the ALIGN project
The ALIGN project (Advancing Land-based Investment Governance) is a partnership between the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, IIED and Namati. ALIGN supports governments, civil society, local communities and other relevant actors in strengthening the governance of land-based investments – from agriculture to infrastructure, extractives and manufacturing.
In Ethiopia, pastoralist communities and other communal land users face significant threats due to government policies which favour large-scale land investments and erode communal land rights. Here, Daniel Behailu and Nathaniah Jacobs discuss the importance of developing laws that recognise and respect communal land rights in Ethiopia, potential legal solutions, and why change will require community engagement and social legitimacy to work.