Addressing Land Governance in International Responsible Business Conduct Agreements | Land Portal
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Date of publication: 
February 2018
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The study was commissioned to the KIT Royal Tropical Institute in July 2017 by the Land Dialogue, with financial support from the Dutch Government. The objective is to provide insight and guidance into the relevance of land governance as a possible priority theme t o be considered in the process of the International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC) Agreements. The study was conducted in the period between July and November 2017 and included desk research, workshops and interviews with a diverse set of stakeholders in the IRBC process.  The opinions expressed in the study are those of KIT and do not represent the views of the interviewees.

Land governance is, next to climate change, one of the biggest and most complex political, social, natural and economic challenges of our time against the background of finite resources on the one hand and a growing, global population on the other hand. Current patterns of land tenure and use are unsustainable and have various, often cumulative adverse impacts, including ecosystem degradation, loss of biodiversity, freshwater decline, human rights issues, greenhouse gas emissions, subsistence farming, unsustainable livelihoods, local political conflicts and land grabbing. Companies and entire industry sectors are causing or contributing to such adverse impacts and/or are, conversely, dependent on and even highly affected by land governance issues.

The IRBC Agreements for selected high impact industry sectors are initiated by the Dutch Government, facilitated by the Social-Economic Council, and led by the specific industrial sector associations. IRBC agreements are typically tripartite, involving businesses, civil society organisations (trade unions, NGOs) and the government. The reference frameworks for the agreements are the ‘ OECD Guidelines for Multi-National Enterprises’  and the ‘ UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ . 

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Gerard Baltissen
Maria Jamriska-Mulder
Anne Rappoldt
Verena Bitzer
Herman Mulder


About KIT

KIT aims to improve health and ensure equitable social-economic development as much as promote intercultural cooperation with our partners worldwide. As we focus on results and empowering people our research, advice, training and education are creative, context specific and evidence-based. We are an innovative organisation with more than 100 years of experience all over the world. A global host in our very own international knowledge hub in Amsterdam.


Data provider

LANDac II logo

LANDac, the Netherlands Academie on Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development, is a partnership between Dutch organizations working on land governance. The partners are the International Development Studies (IDS) group at Utrecht University (leading partner), African Studies Centre, Agriterra, the Sociology of Development and Change (SDC) group at Wageningen University, the Land Portal Foundation, HIVOS, the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Enclude Solutions.