Academic Commons

Reports

Transparency for Whom? Grounding Land Investment Transparency in the Needs of Local Actors

Szoke-Burke, Sam; Mebratu-Tsegaye, Tehtena; Sommer, William

Transparency is often seen as a means of improving governance and accountability of investment, but its potential to do so is hindered by vague definitions and failures to focus on the needs of key local actors.

In a new report focusing on agribusiness, forestry, and renewable energy projects (“land investments”), CCSI grounds transparency in the needs of project-affected communities and other local actors. Transparency efforts that seek to inform and empower communities can also help governments, companies, and other actors to more effectively manage operational risk linked to social conflict.

Troublingly, the report finds that:
- Disclosures around land investments continue to fall short
- Communities struggle to access disclosed information
- More action is needed to enable communities to understand available information; and
- Communities face barriers to using information and to participating in open decision-making processes.

Taking a politically informed approach that considers the incentives of powerful actors, the report proposes seven strategies to advance land investment transparency:
1. Driving agendas with community-led processes, such as protocols, bylaws, and development plans
2. Increasing technical support for communities
3. Empowering good faith regulators
4. Implementing multi-stakeholder and participatory processes, when appropriate
5. Factoring community-generated information into investment-related decisions
6. Initiating domestic mechanisms to increase public access to information
7. Extending community participation beyond individual projects to the policy level.

Files

  • thumnail for Transparency for Whom Grounding Land Investment Transparency in the Needs of Local Actors.pdf Transparency for Whom Grounding Land Investment Transparency in the Needs of Local Actors.pdf application/pdf 3.89 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Publisher
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Published Here
April 14, 2021