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Transparency Of Land-Based Investments: Cameroon Country Snapshot, Sam Szoke-Burke, Samuel Nguiffo, Stella Tchoukep Mar 2021

Transparency Of Land-Based Investments: Cameroon Country Snapshot, Sam Szoke-Burke, Samuel Nguiffo, Stella Tchoukep

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Despite a recent transparency law and participation in transparency initiatives, Cameroon’s investment environment remains plagued by poor transparency.

In a new report focusing on agribusiness projects in Cameroon, CCSI and the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED) find that:

  • Communities continue to be excluded from decision-making around investments.
  • The government pursues a top-down approach to concession allocation and remains reluctant to recognize all legitimate tenure rights.
  • The government faces threats to its legitimacy as the grievances of citizens and investors alike lead to the barring of roads by communities and investor withdrawals.

CCSI and CED therefore call for:

  • A …


Submission To Bonsucro Re Production Standard V5 (2019-21), Nami Patel, Sam Szoke-Burke Jul 2020

Submission To Bonsucro Re Production Standard V5 (2019-21), Nami Patel, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In July 2020, CCSI made a formal submission to Bonsucro, an international multi-stakeholder initiative and certification scheme concerned with promoting sustainable sugar cane production. The submission formed part of consultations for Bonsucro’s draft Production Standard version 5. CCSI’s submission focused on challenges associated with implementing, and auditing for compliance with, three aspects of Bonsucro’s draft standard, namely:

  • Obtaining the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous and traditional communities when establishing or expanding sugar production operations
  • Implementing transparent and participatory processes to assess, monitor, and evaluate the environmental and social impacts of new and existing projects; and
  • Establishing accessible …


Outcome Report On The Climate Crisis, Global Land Use And Human Rights Conference, Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes Nov 2019

Outcome Report On The Climate Crisis, Global Land Use And Human Rights Conference, Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

On September 27th, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Landesa, the New York City Bar Association International Environmental Law Committee, and Wake Forest Law School hosted a day-long conference on the intersection between land use, the climate crisis and clean energy transition, and human rights.

Held at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, the conference brought together individuals from civil society organizations, governments, and academia, as well as lawyers, climate scientists, land-rights experts, indigenous representatives and other stakeholder groups. The panelists analyzed the critical role that land plays in …


Briefing For Civil Society Organizations – Understanding Commercial Eucalyptus Plantations: How Do They Work And What Are Their Environmental Impacts?, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Jul 2019

Briefing For Civil Society Organizations – Understanding Commercial Eucalyptus Plantations: How Do They Work And What Are Their Environmental Impacts?, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

If a company wants to use a community’s land for eucalyptus plantations, the community should think carefully about whether this is a good idea. Civil society organizations that support communities can use this briefing to help communities understand the potential environmental impacts the community should be aware of. The briefing explains plantation forestry and the life-cycle of eucalyptus tree plantations. It also notes the different possible negative environmental impacts of eucalyptus plantations before exploring how this information can be factored into community decision-making about a proposed eucalyptus plantation. While the briefing focuses on eucalyptus plantations, a lot of it will …


Innovative Financing Solutions For Community Support In The Context Of Land Investments, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2019

Innovative Financing Solutions For Community Support In The Context Of Land Investments, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Without support, communities risk losing access to critical land and resources, suffering human rights violations, or missing opportunities to benefit from investments. A lack of community support can also lead to conflict and challenges that are damaging for companies and host governments.

Donors and support providers have found ways to finance support for communities, but such efforts can only extend so far. Promising new opportunities exist for filling the financing gap, yet they will require sustained efforts by a range of actors. …


Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 2: Negotiating Contracts With Investors, Sam Szoke-Burke, Rachael Knight, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Marena Brinkhurst Sep 2018

Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 2: Negotiating Contracts With Investors, Sam Szoke-Burke, Rachael Knight, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Marena Brinkhurst

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. If an investment project is carried out in a respectful and inclusive way, it may help community members to achieve their development goals, which may include creating jobs and local economic opportunities. But investments come with risks. Investment projects may make the land that community members need for farming and other livelihood activities unavailable for some time. They may pollute local rivers, lakes, air, and soils, or block access to sacred areas or water …


Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 1: Preparing In Advance For Potential Investors, Rachael Knight, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Sam Szoke-Burke, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Marena Brinkhurst Sep 2018

Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 1: Preparing In Advance For Potential Investors, Rachael Knight, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Sam Szoke-Burke, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Marena Brinkhurst

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. If an investment project is carried out in a respectful and inclusive way, it may help community members to achieve their development goals, which may include creating jobs and local economic opportunities. But investments come with risks. Investment projects may make the land that community members need for farming and other livelihood activities unavailable for some time. They may pollute local rivers, lakes, air, and soils, or block access to sacred areas or water …


Conference Report: Climate Change And Sustainable Investment In Natural Resources: From Consensus To Action, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Sabin Center For Climate Change Law Nov 2016

Conference Report: Climate Change And Sustainable Investment In Natural Resources: From Consensus To Action, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Sabin Center For Climate Change Law

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment has produced this conference report on CCSI’s Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Investment in Natural Resources: From Consensus to Action. A shorter outcome document, which was disseminated at COP22, is also available. These documents summarize the discussions at the eleventh annual Columbia International Investment Conference, which took place on November 2-3, 2016, at Columbia University. The Conference offered a high-level opportunity to discuss how countries can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, while also advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular the important implications for the …


Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This report, funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focuses on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects.

The report considers such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment law, international human rights law, and investor-state contracts. Understanding the implications of this diverse range of legal obligations is particularly important in …


Guide To Land Contracts: Agricultural Projects, International Senior Lawyers Project, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Guide To Land Contracts: Agricultural Projects, International Senior Lawyers Project, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Agricultural investment contracts can be complex, with complicated provisions that are difficult to understand. This Guide provides explanations for a range of common provisions, and includes a Glossary of legal and technical terms. It assists non-lawyers in better understanding agricultural investment contracts, such as those available on the Open Land Contracts repository.

The Guide was prepared by International Senior Lawyers Project staff and volunteers in collaboration with the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment.


Transparency In Land-Based Investment: Key Questions And Next Steps, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Mar 2016

Transparency In Land-Based Investment: Key Questions And Next Steps, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry are often shrouded in secrecy. In many cases, they are negotiated without the involvement of affected communities, approved through opaque decision-making procedures, and governed by legal agreements that are difficult both to access and to understand. This systemic lack of transparency impedes accountability and exacerbates ongoing disagreements about the real costs and benefits for investors, host countries, and their citizens.

Jointly authored by CCSI and the Open Contracting Partnership, this briefing note examines why contract disclosure and a contracting process that is open, accessible, and inclusive are important; what such transparency entails; and how …


Land Deals And The Law: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Land Deals And The Law: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This briefing note, funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focuses on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects. It accompanies a more in depth report on similar issues, entitled "Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human rights, and Investor Protections."

The briefing note considers such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment …


Toward Win-Win Sustainable Development, Linda Moon Nov 2014

Toward Win-Win Sustainable Development, Linda Moon

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

An interview with Lisa Sachs, Director of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment.