Who is this guide for?
- Community leaders
- Community members
- Local and national civil society organizations
How can communities strengthen their existing structures and processes to prepare themselves to understand and more effectively negotiate with companies about prospective investment?
What role can civil society and the global community play to improve investment practices and ensure that communities are more equitable business partners and beneficiaries?
Respect for communities and land rights holders is at the heart of why responsible investment practices exist. However, understanding how to meaningfully engage with a company and advocate for your land rights isn’t always clear. This RIPL Model Guidebook for Communities Considering Agricultural Investment will take community members and stakeholders through the steps needed to ensure that land investments in the community are carried out inclusively and responsibly. The audiences of this guide are community leaders, members and committees that are faced with the challenges and opportunities of a new land investment. Someone otherwise supporting the community, such as a staff member of a CSO, may also find helpful information and tools in this resource.
The RIPL guidebooks build on existing guidance and internationally recognized standards with the objective of synthesizing best practices, contributing concrete examples to address existing gaps and leveling the playing field by developing guidance tailored to multiple investment stakeholders.
If you only have a few minutes, here is where to start:
Click on any section header to read more
In established market economies, the policies, laws, regulations, and state administrative and judicial systems that govern land transactions are known as land governance frameworks. Ideally, these frameworks reflect the best practices listed in this guidebook. In places where this is true, most land investments can be said to be responsible investments, typically the result of agreements between informed, willing buyers and informed, willing sellers. In places where this is not true (i.e. where state laws do not follow best practices or the state lacks capacity to implement best practices), a legal investment may still be carried out in an irresponsible manner.
In a well-functioning land governance framework, for example, no sale, lease or change in the use of a land asset occurs without notice, consultation, negotiation and consent. Inequitable and non-beneficial land deals are less frequent, and if there is a dispute or breach of an agreement, judicial and administrative remedies are accessible, effective and just.
Unfortunately, however, many emerging economies lack governance frameworks embodying these best practices. Even if they are in place, the government and landholding communities often lack the capacity to implement them. Complicating the situation, individuals possessing land rights – especially women – frequently hold their interests and rights informally. Even if their rights are formally documented, prevailing norms and traditions may mean that women are excluded from consultation and decision-making processes even when their interests are clear. For more information on gender issues, consult the Gender Primer.
Fortunately, situations like these can be mitigated by looking to international standards and best practices for property and land investments. A great deal of global attention is focused on implementing these standards through government and corporate commitments to improve land governance and investment practices. The consensus is clear: land deals should be done responsibly.
There is less consensus, however, about how to bring about a responsible investment. For example, it is not always clear how to meaningfully engage and consult with a company. Nor is there clarity around how to meaningfully include the broader community including women and other groups like pastoralists, particularly in situations where they are not customarily included. Limited community capacity and governance structures may also pose a further barrier.
With support from DFID’s Land Governance for Economic Development (LEGEND) Programs, Landesa’s RIPL Project is addressing these challenges by making international guidelines and best practices more accessible as guidebooks. These guidebooks offer country- and audience-specific step-by-step instructions for how to implement best practices and international standards, making it easier for businesses, governments and communities to all do their part to create a responsible land investment.
It is important to note that the RIPL Guidebooks are not about rectifying historic land grabs,[i] but can help stakeholders identify issues. Businesses (and governments) should always look very carefully at who currently uses and claims rights to the land, and then look at how they came to use or control the land.
It should also be noted that the RIPL Guidebooks are not intended as legal advice, but rather as tools to aid stakeholders in navigating the process of designing and implementing a responsible investment. Furthermore, the best practices described in this guidebook should be seen as the basic minimum standard for responsible land-based investment, which all stakeholders should strive to exceed. Guidelines in the RIPL Guidebooks may exceed the minimum legal requirements at local, national, or international levels, but extra measures are suggested to safeguard against international condemnation for land grabs and to protect local land holders and users.
[i] Although there is scant literature about the legacy issue, two recent publications present detailed analyses of the subject. See L. Cotula, T. Berger, & P. Sutz, “Addressing Legacy Land Issues in Agribusiness Investments,” LEGEND Analytical Paper 2 (2016), available online here; N. Flanders & J. Jenks, A Guidance Note on Managing Legacy Issues in Agribusiness (2015), available here.
The focus of this guidance is on supporting stakeholders in implementing best practices related to understanding and respecting land rights in the context of an investment. It is intended to be used alongside additional resources that focus on other critical aspects of investment design and implementation, such as guidance and best practices for understanding and mitigating environmental impacts.
While many of the best practices and steps outlined in this guidebook can be applied across sectors, the focus is on land-based investments in agriculture. These investments can be both direct acquisition of land (through lease or purchase) or procuring agricultural commodities directly from smallholder farmers.
This guidance is intended to be adaptable to different contexts and investment models. It is worth noting, though, that a significant amount of the field research used to inform the guidance took place in sub-Saharan Africa.
There are three broad investment stakeholders: business or investor; government, and the community of people. Each of these audiences has different needs, roles and responsibilities in an agricultural investment transaction. The RIPL project has accordingly produced a different guidebook for each stakeholder group and identified a specific user for each guidebook.
Achieving a responsible investment is too difficult for any single actor to accomplish: it is imperative that communities, governments and businesses work together to uphold best practices and ensure that transactions in land are sustainable and responsible.
Communities and their leaders must be empowered to participate fully in any investments affecting them. Though they may benefit from a land-based investment, rural communities and smallholders are also the stakeholders that have the most to lose when land deals take place. It is important to note that investments – even undertaken with best practices - cannot simply be imposed upon communities. Women and men in communities must have the capacity to be a part of fair land deals and have an opportunity to participate. There must be community attention, consideration, and response – from both women and men. This means that communities and their leaders may need to:
Civil society can also assist communities during the planning, assessment, contracting and implementation of an investment by serving as facilitators, trainers, experts, interpreters and collaborators. This engagement may prove helpful to business enterprises as well, who will likely need help effectively reaching and engaging with community members. Civil society may therefore play the role of ensuring that all elements of a rigorous consultation and engagement effort or resettlement process are effectively implemented.
Businesses play an important role in upholding best practices in a responsible investment: as the entity with potentially more resources and capcity than government, they must ensure community and individual rights are respected throughout the process of acquiring or investing in land, otherwise they will be left exposed operationally and reputationally. At the same time, these resources put the business in a position of power. In combination with a clear interest in obtaining land, this power can too easily be used in a way that can be perceived to be threatening to land rights holders.
Whether this is fair or not, business enterprises should be responsible for implementing international standards to ensure communities are treated with fairness and respect throughout the investment process. This means businesses should uphold human rights more broadly as part of their core business activities in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This means that businesses have a responsibility to:
It is important to note that best investment practices cannot simply be imposed upon communities and their leaders. All land rights holders must have the capacity to be a part of fair land deals and have an opportunity to participate. There must be attention to, consideration of and response from the community throughout the investment process, and the business holds a responsibility to ensure that happens.
The government also plays an important role in responsible investment. At a high level, the government’s role is to ensure that all parties are adhering to pertinent local, national, and international laws and to provide an enabling and receptive environment for a business that embraces best practices. As such, government officials may need to act as facilitators or guides during the investment process.
The government also holds a responsibility to:
This Model RIPL Guidebook for Communities includes instructions and tailorable tools and resources that a community can modify as it prepares for an agricultural investment in a socially responsible manner. The material is organized by four phases of an investment process.
The investment process is separated into four phases in this guidebook, with each phase consisting of two tasks that have detailed steps. Each task contains step-by-step guidance organized in a linear manner to provide structure to an investment process that is often times complex and cyclic in nature. The information within each step is a combination of analysis, principles, recommendations, tools and resources.
Phase 1: Preparing for Investment
Phase 2: Community Engagement and Assessments
Phase 3: Developing an Equitable and Inclusive Contract
Phase 4: Implementing and Monitoring the Investment
Explained at the outset of each task, the guidebook includes detailed best practice statements that reflect the international standards and principles for socially responsible investments in land.
When applying the RIPL Guidebooks to an investment, it is important to recognize that the context of an investment will shape how best practices can bring about a socially responsible investment. This will require identifying these variables in order to apply the guidance to the community’s unique investment context. Examples of the contextual variables include:
All of the phases have resources and tools to help the community translate best practices to the specific needs, risks and opportunities of the agricultural investment project. These resources are all available here.
Phase 1: Preparing for an Investment Supplemental Resources
Phase 2: Community Engagement and Assessments Supplemental Resources
Phase 3: Developing an Equitable and Inclusive Contract Supplemental Resources
Phase 4: Implementing and Monitoring the Investment Supplemental Resources
There is also information organized by thematic area in our Topical Primers. Primers are approximately 10-page briefs designed to complement the step-by-step guidance. They provide more detailed information on several key topics referenced throughout the guidebook. An understanding of these topics will be central to contextualizing and accomplishing the best practices. Some primers will be referenced throughout the guidebook where appropriate, and all primers are available online here.^ Collapse ^
Responsible agricultural investment includes more than just following the letter of the national law. It also means adhering to international standards and best practices. These standards have been created, in fact, because in many places the local laws simply do not do enough to protect communities.
The basis for these best practices comes from two key documents that embody all the agreed upon principles and best practices. The aim of the RIPL Guidebooks is to help operationalize these four recent well-known instruments:
At a high level, these standards call on business enterprises to work equitably with communities and individuals with legitimate land rights. This includes (but is not limited to):
A great deal of global attention is now focused on supporting the implementation of these practices to achieve fair, informed, inclusive and choice-driven processes that respects the land rights of all.
A necessary part of developing a high level of trust between an investor and communities is obtaining free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). FPIC carries with it the element of choice to accept or reject the change in land use that accompanies the proposed investment.
FPIC is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP);[i] it is also included in other international legal instruments[ii] and domestic legal frameworks.[iii] Numerous business enterprises have agreed to FPIC as part of their commitments to responsibly invest in land.[iv]
Under UN principles, FPIC is reserved for indigenous communities, while consultation and participation are seen as the minimum standard for interactions with non-indigenous communities.[v] Importantly, UNDRIP states that individuals and communities have the right to self-determine whether they are indigenous or not, which can be in the absence of the government making such a determination.[vi]
That being said, it is often broadly interpreted as best practice to obtain the FPIC of all communities that maintain customary rights to or uses of land and natural resources.[vii] Moreover, the principles of FPIC overlap considerably with the principles of good contracting: no party ever parts with land without saying “yes.” And any party asked to enter into a contract has the right to say “no.” That is, fair business deals always have the element of choice. FPIC is therefore central to land-based investment projects seeking to transact responsibly. Finally, businesses must know that it is difficult to maintain a social license when surrounded by displaced land holders and users who did not have a choice.
For more information, see the FPIC Primer.
Publicize meetings to achieve diverse representation. It is likely that the investment will impact people and groups differently so their participation is needed to contribute different perspectives and help anticipate and mitigate potential issues.
Ensure broad representation. Reaching vulnerable groups who are frequently underrepresented in decision making forums, such as women, youth and ethnic minorities, (see Vulnerable Groups Primer) often requires more concentrated effort than just inviting them to information meetings, so make specific efforts to include the following individuals:
Structure the meetings into three parts to ensure broad participation
Develop a meeting agenda facilitation plan to ensure the following is achieved:
Document the meetings
Schedule additional meetings
Obtain consent from community members.
[i] See UN General Assembly, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, A/RES/61/295 (Oct. 2, 2007), available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf.
[ii] See e.g., United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, An Overview of the Principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and Indigenous Peoples in International and Domestic Law and Practices (2005) (detailing how Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Venezuela, and Peru implemented legislation relating to FPIC).
[iii] See e.g. The Coca-Cola Company, The Coca-Cola Company Commitment: Land Rights and Sugar (2013), https://www.coca-colacompany.com/content/dam/journey/us/en/private/fileassets/pdf/2013/11/proposal-to-oxfam-on-land-tenure-and-sugar.pdf; Nestlé, Nestlé Commitment on Land & Land Rights in Agricultural Supply Chains (2014), http://www.nestle.com/asset-library/documents/library/documents/corporate_social_responsibility/nestle-commitment-land-rights-agriculture.pdf; PepsiCo, PepsiCo: Land Rights Policy (2014), https://www.pepsico.com/Assets/Download/PepsiCo_Land_Policy.pdf; Unilever, “Sustainable Sourcing Strategy,” https://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/ (last visited Jan. 29, 2016); Illovo, “Illovo Group Guidelines on Land and Land Rights” (2015), available at http://www.illovosugar.co.za/Group-Governance/Group-Guidelines-on-Land-and-Land-Rights (last visited Jan. 29, 2016).
[iv] For example, as part of its policy of “zero tolerance” for land grabs, Coca-Cola committed to adhering to FPIC with respect to all communities it works with. Tirit Amir, Coca-Cola Leads the Way on Land Rights, OXFAM (Nov. 8, 2013), https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2013/11/coca-cola-leads-the-way-on-land-rights/.
[v] See UN-REDD Programme, Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (2013), available at https://www.uncclearn.org/sites/default/files/inventory/un-redd05.pdf.
A community is best positioned to benefit from a prospective investment if community members take measures to strengthen the community’s governance structure, increase awareness of their rights, document their land and resource rights, and engage in land planning exercises well before a prospective investor approaches a community. This will ensure community members are well equipped to make informed decisions and meaningfully participate in the investment process. Before engaging with a company, community leaders should identify a CSO to help members ask themselves:
To ensure that land investments in the community are responsible, sustainable and beneficial for the community, the community needs strong systems and safeguards in place that are rooted in good practices and centered on:
The establishment or strengthening of new systems and safeguards should include the entire community. The process will also likely generate debate and challenging discussions that will require time to resolve. Best practices for Holding Community Meetings located in the introduction will promote the interests of all community members and result in:
Although many communities have governance structures for consultation, information sharing and decision making, the process may require adjustments to improve effectiveness, inclusivity and accountability to facilitate a responsible land investment.
An outside expert such as a CSO can help by:
Ideally, the CSO would assist the community in:
The community should work with its selected partner to evaluate the strengths and weakness of the community’s existing governance structures for investment. In this guidebook, we will refer to this activity as a community governance assessment.
This process includes:
Supplemental Resource: Community Governance Assessment will help community leaders understand what is required by the CSO. In addition, it will help the CSO understand what activities should be undertaken.
Following the presentation of assessment findings, the assessment team should make any revisions to the report based on feedback gathered at the community meeting. If the team makes revisions to the report or recommendations based on this meeting, the revised report should be presented at a follow-up community meeting.
To implement the findings from the community governance assessment, community leaders (with the support of the CSO) should establish an interim Land Investment Committee composed of representatives from key stakeholder groups in the community. Based on the findings of the assessment, community leaders should determine if the responsibilities of this committee can be added to an existing community structure or if a new one should be created. Regardless of the approach taken, for the purposes of this guidebook we are referring to this group as the Land Investment Committee. After the community validates the community’s by-laws for responsible investment in step five of this task, the community will elect permanent members to the Land Investment Committee.
Supplemental Resource: Leveraging Land Investment Committees outlines more detailed steps for establishing the roles and responsibilities of the Land Investment Committee and electing/selecting its members. Refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings in the introduction section when moving through this process.
Regardless of the specific process, a new structure should be:
Committee members are responsible for implementing the phases of these guidebooks:
An important part of establishing a foundation for responsible investment in land is ensuring that individuals and communities are well informed about their rights and the potential benefits and risks that investments in land may bring.
Before training the broader community, it will be important for the CSO to first train members of the Land Investment Committee. A local CSO partner may be helpful in assisting the Committee to develop the appropriate approach, which may include:
For an example training curriculum on legal-literacy, see Supplemental Resource: Land Rights Awareness Training Curriculum. This resource is intended to serve as a guide for a trainer to adapt for community trainings. It includes modules on civic awareness, land and property rights, land governance, women’s land rights and land rights in the context of a potential investment. Refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings when planning and conducting these trainings.
Drafting community by-laws for responsible investment should be a participatory process that involves rounds of consultation, discussion and drafting. It is important that all community members are given the opportunity to participate and shape the content of these rules to avoid formalizing rules that hurt vulnerable members of the community or unfairly benefit certain community members. As discussed in Step 1, enlisting the support of a third-party expert, like an experienced CSO, can help empower communities to establish systems and rules that support good governance for all.
Supplemental Resource: Developing Community By-laws for Responsible Investment outlines specific considerations and recommendations for the community in establishing these rules. The drafting process will include:
The by-laws for responsible investment should include the following categories:[i]
Refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings in the introduction section for best practices on preparing, organizing, conducting and documenting these community meetings.
Once a final draft is agreed upon, the Land Investment Committee should host a community-wide ceremony to adopt the community investment by-laws. Refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings when preparing, organizing, conducting and documenting the ceremony. Supplemental Resource Holding a By-Law Adoption Ceremony provides additional guidance.
Listed below are the main features of the adoption ceremony:
Assuming the by-laws are adopted, elections for the Land Investment Committee should then be held as required based on the newly adopted by-laws.
[i] For a template of what types of rules could be included in the by-laws, see Namati, Community Land Protection Facilitators Guide 107-112 (2017), available at https://namati.org/resources/community-land-protection-facilitators-guide/
[ii] The process for drafting community by-laws is adapted from Namati’s experience working with communities in community land governance protection efforts. See id. at 95-112.
At the outset of a potential investment process, it is imperative for a community to act with due diligence to avoid harm to the community and individual land holders and users from the impacts of a potential investment. It will be important for community members to continue learning about their rights, document their land and natural resources, and understand the value of their land. By doing so, a community will be better positioned to engage with a business by identifying and mitigating or eliminating issues and risks a potential investment project may pose.
For a community, acting with due diligence includes:
Each of these activities – training, rights identification and mapping, land use planning, and land valuation – should be designed and conducted with the following principles in mind:
Although this section primarily covers due diligence activities that the community should complete prior to engaging with a business about a potential investment, due diligence is an ongoing process. In subsequent investment phases, including after an agreement is signed with a business, the community should continue acting with due diligence to be prepared for changing circumstances. For example, land in the area could become more valuable or attract other commercial interest. The community could also experience a transition from subsistence to commercial agricultural land use that could lead to powerful members of the community asserting claims over land of less powerful members, such as female heads of households.
To help the community prepare for such changes, it will be important for community members to continue learning about their rights and using the maps they create as part of this process to make better decisions about how to manage their lands and natural resources equitably and sustainably.
If required, the Land Investment Committee should continue ensuring that individuals and communities are well informed about their rights and the potential benefits and risks that investments in land may bring. Individuals and communities who hold tenure rights should know about their rights and how to ensure that their rights are respected. Refer to Supplemental Resource: Land Rights Awareness Training Curriculum.
Before conducting any community land use planning activities, the Land Investment Committee should contact local government about current or future rights identification and mapping activities, as well as a CSO partner with expertise in gender sensitive community mapping to facilitate the process.
This will help the community:
Maps that identify the land rights of the community and individuals are important tools for communities to use throughout the investment process and in their discussions about land and resources.[i] Maps will help the Land Investment Committee:
But maps can also provide sensitive information to people outside the community.[iii] The Land Investment Committee should work with community leadership and the CSO to coordinate an initial meeting with community members to discuss land use planning. Refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings.
The Land Investment Committee should work with community leaders and its CSO partner to:
The community mapping process will involve many community meetings. Refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings in the introduction section for best practices on preparing, organizing, conducting and documenting all of the community meetings that are critical to successful rights identification and mapping processes.
Equipped with the community map (with boundaries marking settlement areas, private land, pasture lands, forest land, etc.) the community has a better understanding of existing land uses and rights claims; through the boundary harmonization process, the community has also addressed existing boundary conflicts. The community now has the opportunity to reevaluate and shape the future uses of this land through a process called land use planning.
Before conducting any land use planning activities, the Land Investment Committee should contact community leadership and local government to see if there are related ongoing or planned activities. This will help the community:
Land use planning is the systematic assessment of the current uses of land and natural resources and evaluation of alternative options to select and adopt the best land use options within a community.[iv] Given competing demands on arable land – such as for agriculture, animal grazing, forestry and residential development – the community should think carefully about the best use of limited resources now and for future generations.
Through this process, a community will be able to determine if there is land suitable available for prospective investment and, if so, what land. The community should think about how land planned for investment would fit within the broader picture of community land use and consider what the community would be like if it implemented alternative land uses for the area. It is ideal that a community think about this before a business even approaches the community, and that gender-sensitive land rights identification and mapping is completed prior to land use planning.
The Land Investment Committee should:
Communities that know the value of their land have more bargaining power with business and are better prepared to negotiate more effectively for a fair deal. But community members do not always know the value of their land and natural resources in a monetary sense or how much it is worth on the open market. Furthermore, the open market value of land may be less than the value of the land to the community because of the many ways in which the community might use the land that markets do not consider. As a result, land is often sold or rented for much less than the value it provides to communities. If a bad contract happens to be signed with a business, community members may become poorer over time.
Supplemental Resource: Land Valuation provides guidance on how to value the land designated for the investment. Community land valuation is a participatory exercise; refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings throughout the process.
[i] Namati, Community Land Protection Facilitators Guide 143 (2017), available at https://namati.org/resources/community-land-protection-facilitators-guide.
[iii] Id. at 144.
To attract sustainable investments that maximize benefits to the whole community, leaders must foster strong relationships with prospective investors through regular consultations with a wide range of community members. The process should be in accordance with FPIC, which recognizes the right of land holders and users to say “yes” or “no” to proposed changes in their land use. It is also understood to be a legal principle of good contracting – the party being asked to enter into the contract has the right to say “no.” FPIC stands for Free, Prior and Informed Consent:
FPIC is an important concept to guide the entire investment process, as the community moves from initial notice of investor interest and subsequent consultations to negotiation and contract signature. Even after contract signature, the principle of FPIC should apply if the company proposes a change to the original investment plan that impacts land use within the community. For more information, see the FPIC Primer. Other good resources include a guide developed by FAO: Respecting Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (2014), as well as with Oxfam’s FPIC Flashcards (2015).
In addition to meeting FPIC standards, meaningful consultation and engagement should feature:
A community Negotiation Team should facilitate community engagement with the prospective investor. This can help keep the community organized to achieve a fair deal that provides meaningful benefits to all community members. We recommend the Team be comprised of three individuals from the community’s Land Investment Committee. If the community is facing an immediate investment proposal and has not yet set up a Land Investment Committee, refer back to Phase 1 of this guidebook to complete that process.
Having a smaller group directly engage with business will increase coordination, ensure all community members are participating in the decision-making process, and show the business that the community is unified. Given the overlap between those two bodies, their respective roles may be a little blurred. Basically, the Negotiation Team is responsible for representing the community in negotiations with the business, while the Land Investment Committee is responsible for community engagement and mobilization. The community will have to work out the proper roles for each as the investment moves forward, according to what makes the most sense for the community.
Because the community deserves a fair deal that provides meaningful benefits to all members, the Negotiation Team should be responsible for:
When drafting the community by-laws for responsible investment, the community may have already drafted rules about the selection of a Negotiation Team; if so, the community should follow those rules. If the community did not, consider the following tips:
There are three main roles that members will need to fulfill in order to conduct effective negotiations:
While it may be tempting to assume that Negotiation Team members will fall into these functions naturally, it is very important that these roles are specifically assigned and that Negotiation Team members are held accountable for upholding their responsibilities.
The business will initiate a meeting with community leaders to determine whether there is initial interest in the investment. The meeting might be requested through a third-party, such as a CSO who is providing the business with technical support because they are familiar with the customs of the local community.
Since this is the beginning of the engagement process with the business, it will be important for the Negotiation Team to set the tone for any long-term relationship by:
The purpose of the meeting is to exchange of information about the potential investment:
The negotiation team should consolidate information gathered from meetings with the business and prepare for a new round of meetings with groups of community members as well as leaders and representatives from neighboring communities. Supplemental Resource: Consultation Meeting Notes Template will help with documenting conversations.
This process should consist of the following steps:
Review and consolidate information from the initial meeting.
Consult with third-party CSO to review information.
Meet with community members to review process and gauge community interest.
Research conducted on a land concession in Ghana shows the importance of ensuring both women and men are included in the investment process. In the proposed investment area, women generally grew groundnuts, pineapple, moringa, cashew, okra, and pepper within and around the yams and cassava being grown by men. Community members were told that they would be compensated for all crops being grown. However, farmers reported compensation for crops predominantly grown by men. Crops traditionally grown by women were not considered for compensation according to focus group respondents. The exclusion was not due to the company’s decision to exclude women from the process. Rather, the third-party firm who was hired to value community assets did not account for women’s crops because they were not being farmed at the time of the survey.
Compare information with neighboring communities.
Meet with community leaders to determine how to proceed.
The first meetings between the investor and the community will introduce new dynamics into the engagement process. Importantly, more than one meeting may be needed with the business for the community to understand the investment proposal. Community members may use these meetings as an opportunity to learn more about the business and its proposed investment. As the liaison between the community members and the business, the Negotiation Team bears the responsibility for ensuring that potential benefits and community concerns are communicated clearly and effectively. The business should provide the same information to the whole community that it did to the Negotiation Team.
As mentioned previously, it is important that meetings adhere to best practices for community consultation. Refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings and Supplemental Resource: Community Consultation Meetings Checklist to ensure this is accomplished.
At the end of each meeting, after all the information has been presented and all members of the community have had the opportunity to engage with the business, the community should have an opportunity to decide whether or not to proceed in the investment process.
As in all of the steps described here, the Negotiation Team must advocate for the interests of the community. If the Land Investment Committee believes that the consultation has been insufficient or that the consent of the community does not live up to FPIC standards, it must voice those concerns and work to fix any deficiencies.
While many community members may know about the proposed investment through initial meetings and “word of mouth,” the business should take the initiative in providing formal public notice of its intent to invest. The Negotiation Team should ensure that the investor’s notice of intent is accessible to all impacted community members. This may require the Team to assist the investor in distributing the notice and advising on the appropriate languages and formats for publication.
[ii] See id. at 33.
[iii] See Ginger Gibson & Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh, IBA Community Toolkit: Negotiation and Implementation of Impact and Benefit Agreements 68 (Gordon Foundation 2015), available at http://gordonfoundation.ca/app/uploads/2017/03/IBA_toolkit_web_Sept_2015_low_res_0.pdf.
[iv] Id. at 54.
[v] Id. at 55.
To inform whether both the business and the community/communities should proceed with the investment, the business is responsible for hiring a neutral and experienced third party to conduct three community assessments that examine community capacity, environmental and social impacts, and the value of land. The Land Investment Committee should further ensure that community members are informed about the assessments, can participate meaningfully in them, and have assessment findings communicated to them in a form that they can understand. It is best practice to conduct, at minimum, the following assessments:
The Land Investment Committee is responsible for ensuring the business conducts the appropriate assessments through neutral and experienced third-party experts. The Land Investment Committee should be prepared to support the experts by responding to information requests, encouraging community participation and helping organize community meetings. The Committee is not responsible for designing or conducting the assessments; that is the purpose of selecting a neutral, third-party team, so that both the community and business have confidence in the findings.
CSOs could play a role during the assessment process by connecting the business with reliable local experts or the appropriate government authorities for ESIAs and land valuation. CSOs may also offer general support for the Land Investment Committee in ensuring the assessments are inclusive, transparent and well-publicized.
The business should hire neutral and experienced third parties to design and conduct the capacity assessment, ESIA and land valuation. The goal of these assessments is to provide factual information to help both the business and community decide if they should proceed with the investment. A biased assessment team may produce findings that preference one party over the other. The Land Investment Committee should request the opportunity to provide feedback on the criteria for selecting the teams and the business’s final selection.
If the business does not plan to hire neutral and experienced third-parties, the Land Investment Committee should demand that the business do so. If the business refuses, the Committee should refuse to proceed with investment negotiations. Proper assessments are an essential component of a socially responsible investment. It is a community’s right to know the full risks of an investment before signing an agreement.
In addition to possessing the requisite expertise and professionalism, the Land Investment Committee should consider the following objectives when providing feedback to the business on the assessment teams:
Each assessment team should develop an assessment process, including a timeline and engagement plan in coordination with the business and community. The Land Investment Committee should be prepared to provide feedback into the planning process.
An assessment engagement plan outlines how the community will be represented in assessment activities and will receive information about findings. As part of developing the community by-laws for responsible investment, explained in Phase 1 of this guidebook, the community discussed communication expectations and channels throughout the investment process. The Land Investment Committee should share the by-laws related to communication channels with the assessment teams and use them to inform a draft assessment engagement plan. (In the next step, this draft assessment engagement plan will be presented to the broader community for feedback).
When providing feedback into assessment planning, the Land Investment Committee is responsible for advocating for community interests and relaying any relevant community rules. The Land Investment Committee should remember that community members have the right to choose how they will be represented in the assessment activities.[iv]
The Land Investment Committee should organize a community meeting for the business to introduce the assessment team and draft engagement plan, receive feedback, answer questions, and confirm the community is comfortable moving forward. The meeting should follow the principles outlined in Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings in the introduction section.
The purpose of the community capacity assessment is to evaluate the capacity of community leaders and community members who use land to listen, comment, disagree, ask questions, and ultimately negotiate benefits, compensation and other terms of a contract.
If the community conducted the community governance assessment explained in Phase 1 of this guidebook, it should already have a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses in community systems and safeguards. Some of those issues overlap with what will be covered in a community capacity assessment, although there are some differences (principally, the community governance assessment is more focused on the institutions and the community capacity assessment on the people). The Land Investment Committee should share the community governance assessment findings and recommendations with the assessment team, as this can inform the team’s approach to the community capacity assessment.
Many communities and individual land holders and users lack experience with commercial land transactions and may need the assistance of experts in order to understand and assess the potential risks and benefits from an investment. The Land Investment Committee should work with community leaders and members to foster a positive outlook of the assessment as an opportunity to learn new things and get support if needed. Leaders and community members should be as honest as possible about what they know and do not know, so that the community can get the support it needs to make an informed decision. This could be a good opportunity to receive financial assistance from the business to address gaps through trainings or technical support. In particular, the community may need legal advice, representation from a CSO, agricultural expertise or other skills to assess the potential social, economic and environmental benefits and risks of the project. Without such support, proceeding with the investment would very likely fail to comply with international best practices such as FPIC and could produce unintended risks and consequences for the investment and the community. Therefore, the community should consider seeking such assistance, including seeking funds from government and business for communities to hire the needed experts.
The Land Investment Committee is not responsible for designing or implementing the assessment, but it is responsible for ensuring the assessment involves community participation, is performed by a qualified team and is conducted ethically. Below are some ways the Land Investment Committee may be involved:
Some options to consider in developing the capacity building plan based on findings could include:
The business will be responsible for conducting an ESIA, which includes examining the impacts on the community’s land rights, uses and livelihoods. As described in Step 1 of this task, the Land Investment Committee should help the business identify independent local experts to conduct the ESIA, supplemented by international experts if local expertise is lacking. The ESIA should proceed in the following order:
Displacement is rarely acceptable and will lead to international scrutiny and condemnation, so it only should be used as a last resort. USAID Land Tenure Guidelines calls for limiting displacement, but if unavoidable, to the minimum program requirements for specific programs and a specific length of time, using the minimum land necessary. A Resettlement Action Plan or a Livelihood Restoration Plan is necessary to serve impacted land holders and users. The Land Investment Committee should work with the business to ensure this is completed and that the plan for resettlement is sufficient for community needs.
According to USAID, a Resettlement Action Plan will address the impacts of displacement with a resettlement plan compliant with international standards. This RAP may include:
IFC Performance Standard 5 also highlights the importance of minimizing the impact on displaced land holders and users if displacement is unavoidable, and developing an effective Livelihood Restoration Plan for affected communities. Companies may use other community assessments to gauge the number of individuals and households impacted to judge who would be eligible for compensation as part of a holistic, sustainable restoration of their livelihoods following displacement. The company needs to acknowledge the basic cost of the LRP and additional costs that might arise to ensure compensation is sufficient, such as the cost to develop land adequately for the community’s uses. Procedures should also be in place to continuously monitor and evaluate the implementation of the LRP or RAP.[vi]
The business and/or government will conduct a valuation assessment to determine the value of the land being considered for the investment project, depending on national valuation law. As valuation efforts are being carried out, the Land Investment Committee should facilitate its own valuation process. Although the community valuation likely will not be recognized by the government, communities that know the value of their land have more bargaining power with business and are better prepared to negotiate effectively for a fair deal. This type of effort should have been carried out in Phase 1, but if not, consult Supplemental Resource: Land Valuation for guidance on how to value the land designated for the investment.
The Land Investment Committee should receive final valuation amounts from the business, and then share the findings and discuss the adequacy of the valuation with the entire community. The calculation of values should be transparent and easily comprehensible to all individuals whose land rights and uses were the subject of valuation.[vii] If not, seek support from a CSO. Based on the valuation results together with the valuation conducted by the community in Phase 1, develop a compensation and benefits framework. Consult the Valuation and Compensation Primer to ensure the compensation framework includes the following:[viii]
[i] See African Union (AU), Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa 15-16 (2014), available at https://www.uneca.org/publications/guiding-principles-large-scale-land-based-investments-africa
[ii] FAO, Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of Food Security 4 (2012), available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2801e/i2801e.pdf (“Business enterprises should act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the human rights and legitimate tenure rights of others.”). See also UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 5 (UN Human Rights Council 2011), available at: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf (“In order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their adverse human rights impacts, business enterprises should carry out human rights due diligence. The process should include assessing actual and potential human rights impacts, integrating and acting upon the findings, tracking responses, and communicating how impacts are addressed.”).
[iii] Nigel Edmead, Presentation on “Gender Issues in Designing and Setting Up Land Information Systems and Databases: Experiences from Ghana, Zambia and Uganda” (May 2011).
[v] See Guidelines on Compulsory Displacement and Resettlement in USAID Programming, USAID May 2016. Available at https://www.land-links.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/USAID_Land_Tenure_Guidelines_CDR.pdf
[vi] See International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 5: Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement, January 1, 2012. Available at https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/topics_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/sustainability-at-ifc/policies-standards/performance-standards/ps5
[vii] International Finance Corporation (IFC), Guidance Note 5 ¶ GN22 (2012).
[viii] See True Price, Towards a Better Protocol on Fair Compensation in Cases of Legitimate Tenure Changes: Input Document for a Participatory Process 5 (2016), available at https://landportal.org/debates/2017/debate-land-valuation-and-fair-compensation
[ix] IFC, Performance Standard 5: Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement ¶ 5 (2012), available at https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/topics_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/sustainability-at-ifc/policies-standards/performance-standards/ps5
[x] See Edmead, supra note iii.
The Negotiation Team is responsible for representing the entire community throughout the negotiation process. Laws, policies and practices in some countries prevent communities and/or individual land holders and users from participating as informed and empowered contracting parties. If the process omits or limits the involvement of the full community, it contravenes principles of good contracting. In such instances, the business, government and community must devise methods to ensure full participation in accordance with best practices as described below.
The Negotiation Team should ensure:
Given the complexity of contracting it is highly advisable that the Negotiation Team seek support from lawyers or CSOs with legal expertise. Some capacity building for negotiation skills should have occurred in Phase 1, but more may be needed here to ensure the Negotiation Team is on equal footing with the business.
In some countries, communities may not be legally permitted to contract with investors to sell or lease their land on their own (e.g., if the government is the legal owner of the land), and national law may require the business to contract instead with the government to purchase the land. If this is the case, it is imperative that the community nonetheless follow these steps to obtain a binding MOU with the business that enshrines the community’s terms for parting with the land and obligates the business to incorporate those terms into its contract with the government.
In most countries, the requirements of domestic law fall short of the requirements of international best practices. Therefore, the contracting process must go further than domestic law to comply with international best practices. Standard government-business contract provisions often fail to include important clauses pertaining to communities.
Due to the importance of the contracting process and its complexity, the Negotiation Team should seek support from a CSO, particularly if:
The Negotiation Team should work with the company to develop a Letter of Intent (LOI). An LOI is an important starting point for the contracting process between the company and the community because[iii]:
Important elements to consider when drafting an LOI and the resulting contract are listed in Supplemental Resource: Key Contract Elements. In addition, the LOI should include:
A sample Letter of Intent can be found in Supplemental Resource: Template for LOI/MOU.
With the assessments having identified who should be compensated and determined land values, the Negotiation Team should engage the business to begin constructing the compensation package.
The valuation calculations should serve as the basis for compensation. Remember that national law usually provides a floor, rather than a ceiling, for compensation;[iv] look to supplement the base monetary value of the land with additional compensation and other ways of restoring and improving livelihoods. At a minimum, compensation should be such that livelihoods are made no worse off over the full term that the land is not available for use by current users.
If the community agreed upon by-laws pertaining to compensation (see Supplemental Resource: Developing Community By-Laws for Responsible Investment), the Negotiation Team should follow the community rules. Otherwise, the Team will need to:
A CSO can provide useful guidance and advice about contract provisions that should be included in the document. The following are two important guides specific to agribusiness investment contracts that could be useful:
Before drafting a contract, review the results from Phase 2 assessments to identify information that will likely be useful to inform the contracting process. It is imperative that the company address any social impacts and rights issues pertinent to the contract.
Ensure that the contract:
See Supplemental Resource: Key Contract Elements for a list of terms and elements that should be included in a responsible land investment contract.
The Negotiation Team, and the Land Investment Committee more broadly, should be actively consulting with the community throughout this process. A lack of community engagement combined with a lack of transparency could jeopardize the legitimacy of the investment deal.[viii]
Similar to the LOI process, the Negotiation Team should host a series of consultation meetings with all stakeholders to explain the proposed contract and discuss the proposed terms with all community members. This should be done with assistance from identified CSOs and, if possible, local or regional government.
The community meetings should be conducted according to the community consultation guidance described in Phase 2.
The contract should not be signed until all documents are reviewed by the appropriate government authorities and final consent is obtained from the community, all of which is covered in Task 2 of this Phase.
If contract negotiations have materially changed the project concept, the business should update the investment project document to reflect those changes. In addition, the company should share the information with government authorities and community leaders per the engagement and consultation plan.
After these revisions, the Negotiation Team should consult Supplemental Resource: Final Contract Checklist to ensure that the contract complies with relevant standards.
[iii] While this model guidebook recommends the use of an LOI, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or a Terms Sheet may serve a similar function.
[iv] United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-Based Investment 43 (2015).
[v] IFC, Guidance Note 5, ¶ GN22.
[vii] IFC, Performance Standard 5, at ¶ 15.
[viii] See generally TMP Systems, The Financial Risks of Insecure Land Tenure: An Investment View (2012), available at http://rightsandresources.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/doc_5715.pdf.
Good contracting practices require that the contracting process remain transparent and participatory and that all community members be brought to an equal footing with investing business and governments. This means that:
The contract should not be signed before support is obtained from all stakeholders within the community.[ii] If communities do not support the project, it cannot legitimately proceed.
After the business submits the document to the appropriate government agencies, the Negotiation Team must reconvene community consultation groups to review the latest versions of the investment contract. Consent must be provided before project implementation begins.
The Negotiation Team should hold a final community meeting to ratify and memorialize the community’s decision to halt or proceed. Refer to Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings to guide this meeting and ensure community consent is present before signing the contract.
Any consultation with communities should follow best practices, as described in Best Practices for Holding Community Meetings located in the introduction.
If the land is formally government-owned, the government should provide the community with final notice of intent to transfer land over to the company.
Additional cycles of sensitization, consultation and engagement might need to occur to the extent that public comment signifies demand. At the most basic level, an oversight and consultation committee should be formed and comprised of representatives of the company, local officials and community leaders to monitor the process.[vi]
The final contract should be signed by the parties that were identified in the LOI and contract negotiation process.
If the community is not an actual party to the agreement - which could be the case in some countries – it is critical that an MOU is signed with the community as discussed in the previous task.
Once the investment contract has been finalized and signed, the business must make copies available to community members.[vii] The contract should also be made publicly available.
[i] United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-Based Investment 51 (2015).
[ii] Agence Française de Developpement (AFD), Guide to Due Diligence of Agribusiness Projects that Affect Land and Property Rights 24 (2014), available at http://www.landcoalition.org/sites/default/files/documents/resources/Guide-to-due-diligence.pdf.
[iii] See UN-REDD Programme, Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent 20 (2013), available at https://www.uncclearn.org/sites/default/files/inventory/un-redd05.pdf
[iv] AFD, supra note ii, at 24.
[v] See UN-REDD Programme, Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent 20 (2013), available at https://www.uncclearn.org/sites/default/files/inventory/un-redd05.pdf
[vi] See generally USAID, supra note i.
Land-related issues that escalate to a significant dispute between a community and business can reduce the investment benefits that the community deserves.
To maintain the broader community’s trust while resolving unanticipated challenges that will certainly arise as activities deviate from the initial plan, the Land Investment Committee and community leaders should work with the business to establish mechanisms that:
Before an investment can be responsibly implemented and effectively monitored, the community must take certain steps to ensure its capacity for holding the business accountable throughout the life cycle of the investment. Ideally these efforts would have occurred at the beginning of the investment process well before signing a contract. Even where investments have already begun implementation, the community should work to strengthen its governance structures to ensure the investment will unfold in a way that respects the rights and needs of community members.
Community leaders and the investing business should work together to equip the community for the steps that follow. Look to Phase 1 of this guidebook and its associated resources for guidance in developing robust community structures that will help ensure that the investment project is implemented responsibly. Necessary steps will include:
Conducting these steps will promote the interests of all community members and result in:
Perhaps the biggest challenge with implementation is that it will almost inevitably involve problems that were not anticipated during project planning, negotiation, and contracting. Even the most diligent preparation and community engagement cannot account for all potential challenges.
Continued engagement with the business and with individuals and groups in the community throughout project implementation is essential to maintaining a productive relationship and identifying implementation challenges and unanticipated impacts as early as possible.[ii]
This is particularly important for longer-term projects, as there is a higher likelihood that activities will deviate from the initial plan as implementation proceeds and unanticipated challenges arise. Although the challenges that arise for each endeavor are context-specific, there are some common themes that frequently appear as problems for land-based investments. A few of these themes are discussed below.
One common issue resulting from poor investment planning is the assumption of abundant available land for development. Land that may appear to be unused or underutilized is made available for investment but is often in fact used for multiple non-agricultural purposes, such as transit or pastoral grazing. Additionally, communal land use practices may create situations where, despite a lack of clear ownership, the development of particular tracts would disrupt the livelihood of multiple families. Finally, environmental conditions such as erosion and drought can exacerbate scarcity and heighten tensions around land use. Land scarcity issues increase likelihood of land-related disputes and the weakening of all land rights, including those of women.
An investment region that is being used for sugarcane production in Tanzania is experiencing land scarcity issues. Profitable production of cane increased the demand for land with nearly all available land being converted to cultivating sugarcane. The lack of available land has increased disputes in the region between farming communities as well as between farmers and pastoral societies that are competing for land and other natural resources.
Allegations of encroachment arise where one user is accused of extending their land use into the neighboring user’s claim. Encroachment typically occurs when the encroacher knows that he or she doesn’t have a right to the land but feels historically disadvantaged by an investment or simply views idle land not used by a business as an opportunity to meet his or her livelihood needs. It could also occur when an investor builds a structure beyond its property line and into a neighboring community or another individual’s property.
A sugarcane investor has quality land in the area that is experiencing land scarcity issues due to a population boom. Because cane is profitable, the opportunity to grow sugarcane is leading to encroachment issues between individuals and communities and creating land conflicts.
Issues around compensation create some of the most common obstacles to a successful responsible investment in land. Other common problems, like encroachment or displacement, often develop after initial faults in compensation. The Negotiation Team should have ensured fair compensation during the negotiation process. The Land Investment Committee and community leaders should work to ensure that fair compensation terms are met and that any ongoing agreements for community benefits are respected by the business and the government.
Fair and adequate compensation requires consideration of many factors. In one Ghanaian investment, community members raised complaints after initial compensation did not account for crops traditionally grown and sold by women. This illustrates the importance of inclusive community engagement at the start of and then throughout the life cycle of an investment.
In addition to considering these common issues that arise during the implementation of an investment, it is important to maintain consistent communication between the community, the business and other stakeholders. Multiple channels of two-way communication should be established to facilitate clear, well-planned and frequent consultation and engagement with communities.[iii] Approaches should address how women face particular barriers to accessing information and participating in consultations.[iv] Communication should be structured to:
A factor central to responsible business investment in land and an enduring social license is whether a business ensures access to remedy by establishing a functioning, effective and accessible grievance mechanism for handling land-related disputes.[vi]
Guidance relating to responsible land-based investment emphasizes the need for business-based, non-judicial grievance mechanisms to complement any existing state-based, judicial grievance mechanisms. The extent to which there is a need for a business-based grievance mechanism will thus depend on the governance gaps of the country where the community is located. The need for business-based grievance mechanisms is particularly acute in most low-income and middle-income countries, where governance gaps can be significant. For more guidance see the Grievance Mechanism Primer.
The Land Investment Committee and community leaders should work together to determine how grievance mechanisms should be coordinated through the business and hold the business accountable for dispute resolution where appropriate. The mechanism should comply with the UNGP criteria for non-state dispute resolution processes:
[i] See FAO, Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of Food Security 4 (2012), available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2801e/i2801e.pdf; New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, Analytical Framework for Responsible Land-Based Agricultural Investment (2015), available at https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://new-alliance.org/sites/default/files/resources/Analytical-framework-for-land-based-investments-in-African-agriculture_0.pdf; UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 31-32 (UN Human Rights Council 2011), available at: http://www.business-humanrights.org/Documents/UNGuidingPrinciples.
[ii] United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-Based Investment 50 (2015).
[iii] See Landesa, Case Study: Kilombero Sugar Company Ltd. in Tanzania 15 (2017), available at https://www.landesa.org/wp-content/uploads/KSCL-Tanzania-Case-Study-FINAL.pdf.
[iv] Id. at 4.
[vi] See note i, supra.
[vii] USAID, supra note ii, at 53.
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is essential to successful implementation of a responsible investment. The community, primarily through the Land Investment Committee, must ensure that the business conducts M&E throughout the investment. There are three primary reasons for the community to ensure the company dedicates time and resources to M&E:
The community should also help the company in monitoring its impacts on the communities and individual smallholders that have changed their relationship to the land for the benefit of the investment. A thorough and robust M&E plan should include continuous monitoring, regular evaluation and periodic impact assessments conducted by third parties. For more information see the M&E Primer.
By conducting regular M&E activities, the business will be able to identify implementation challenges and unanticipated impacts earlier than it otherwise might.[i] This is particularly important for longer-term projects, as there is a higher likelihood that activities will deviate from the initial plan as implementation proceeds and unanticipated challenges arise.
Familiarity with this M&E guidance and the accompanying resources will empower the community to hold the business accountable to its obligations under principles of responsible investment. Below are principles for M&E that the business should be adhering to throughout the life cycle of the investment.
While each investment will have its unique needs for M&E based on contextual factors (e.g., the agricultural products involved, the region in which the investment occurs, the nature of any outgrower schemes or relocation programs, etc.), there are some broad standards that will be applicable to virtually any project. The M&E Primer provides a list of indicators for M&E based on international standards for reporting on responsible investments. These indicators are not exhaustive, but are intended to provide a starting point for a rigorous and diligent M&E protocol. The community can compare the M&E tools used by the company with the resources provided in this guidebook to evaluate the company’s M&E process.
Throughout the lifecycle of the investment, the company should commission and publish reports that assess the impact of investment activities on the community, particularly with respect to vulnerable populations such as women, indigenous peoples, and ethnic or religious minorities.
In accordance with its M&E Plan, the company should assess ongoing environmental and social impacts (including impacts on land rights, uses and livelihoods) to monitor the effects of the project on the surrounding community. To ensure accountability and transparency, these assessments should be conducted by reputable third parties and based on international standards for human rights and responsible investments. More frequent assessments create more opportunities for adaptation and mitigation, but this benefit should be balanced against the feasibility of thorough assessment on a compressed timeline.
While each investment’s particular assessment needs will depend on the investor, the community, and the investment environment, it is generally best for the company to conduct assessments at each level of the value chain.
The Land Investment Committee should verify that ongoing assessments are measuring aspects of the investment’s impact that are important to community members. Supplemental Resource: Land Rights Assessment Tool Kit from the Model Guidebook for Businesses provides sample questions for assessment of household farm owners, large farm owners, farmworkers, and manufacturing plant and mill owners. These questions should be combined with suggestions and questionnaires designed by neutral third parties that are conducting periodic impact assessments. Community members can use this resource as a basis for evaluating the company’s assessment protocol, both during M&E and when conducting the ESIA in Phase 2.
[i] United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-Based Investment 50 (2015).
[iii] African Union (AU), Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa 25-26 (2014), available at https://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/PublicationFiles/guiding_principles_eng_rev_era_size.pdf.; see also UNESCO, A Guide for Monitoring and Evaluating Community-Based Projects (2009), available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001862/186231e.pdf.
[iv] UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 19 (UN Human Rights Council 2011), available at: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf
All of the guidebook phases have resources and tools to help the community translate best practices to the specific needs, risks and opportunities of the agricultural investment project.
This resource provides detailed steps on how community leaders can work with a local CSO to assess the community’s existing community governance structures and land governance rules. The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate the strengths of current systems and safeguards in place to support responsible investment.
This resource outlines steps for establishing the roles and responsibilities of the Land Investment Committee and electing/selecting its members. In the RIPL Model Guidebook for Communities, it's recommended that the community designate an existing body or establish a new body (the Land Investment Committee) to be in charge of helping the community prepare for prospective investment and engage with companies when the community receives an investment proposal.
Rights awareness is an important starting point for communities to position themselves for more beneficial investment deals. This supplemental resource provides an example framework of some of the topics and sessions that could help promote land rights awareness within a community. Topics covered include: civic awareness; land and property rights basics; land governance; women’s land rights; and land rights in the context of prospective investment.
This resource accompanies the RIPL Model Guidebook for Communities, providing detail on how a community can develop local rules governing land investment that support responsible, sustainable, and equitable investments. These rules, or by-laws, will establish how the community will make decisions about its land, who will represent the community in negotiations with prospective investors, and how compensation will be shared and used.
This resource explains how a community can coordinate and hold a ceremony to adopt local by-laws governing land investment. These by-laws will establish how the community will make decisions about its land, who will represent the community in negotiations with prospective investors, and how compensation will be shared and used.
This resource outlines how a community can identify and map land users, rights and livelihoods in the community. The resource outlines different mapping methodologies, including best practices for each approach.
This resource outlines how a community can harmonize boundaries during community mapping processes. Boundary harmonization is the process through which people agree on the land boundaries between neighboring individuals and communities
This resource outlines how a community can document the results of the community’s mapping and boundary harmonization efforts.
This resource explains how a community can assess current uses of land and natural resources, and evaluate alternative options to select and adopt the best land use options within a community, including planning for potential investment
This resource explains an activity a community can perform to better understand how much value community lands bring to the community.
This resource can be used to document conversations with stakeholder groups. It accompanies Phase 2, Task 1, Step 3 of the RIPL Model Guidebook for Communities.
This resource can help in preparing for community engagement meetings conducted by the Land Investment Committee, either within the community or between the community and a business. It is intended to accompany the RIPL Model Guidebook for Communities Phase 2, Task 1, Step 3
This document summarizes some of the available external resources that provide guidance and discuss best practices for establishing outgrower arrangements as a method of compensation or alternative to outright land purchase or lease.
This resource provides guidance on the terms and elements that should be contained within the MOU and final contract between the business and community, as well as the lease agreements that memorialize land investments.
This resource provides a sample LOI/MOU between a community and an investor that could be used during the negotiation and contracting process.
This checklist is designed for communities to use when preparing a contract for a land investment. This checklist accompanies Phase 3, Task 1, Step 7 of the Model Guidebook for Communities.
This resource provides a template for designing a strategy for ongoing community engagement during the implementation of an investment, and two checklists for evaluating the community engagement plan based on established standards for stakeholder communication.