GLF Event Discusses Mitigation of Land Tenure Risks
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The discussion panel focused on practical examples of land tenure risk mitigation approaches from live investment cases and proposed recommendations for removing tenure barriers to investment.

The discussions drew on the “first-of-its-kind” investor survey on land rights aimed to address the question, “how does the private sector think about and deal with risks to their investments stemming from unclear or weak land tenure and property rights?"

30 May 2017: A survey carried out by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Indufor North America and the European Investment Bank uncovered six lessons on how to design investment policies and programmes that help land investors assess risks and protect the land rights of local communities. The survey results were presented during a discussion panel hosted by USAID at the Global Landscapes Forum in Washington DC, US, on 30 May 2018.

The discussion panel focused on practical examples of land tenure risk mitigation approaches from live investment cases and proposed some recommendations for removing tenure barriers to investment.

The discussions drew on the “first-of-its-kind” investor survey on land rights aimed to address the question, “how does the private sector think about and deal with risks to their investments stemming from unclear or weak land tenure and property rights?” The study gathered responses from private investors and developed seven detailed case studies to provide insights on how investors and land operators perceive and confront land tenure challenges in specific investments and seek to provide benefits to local land rights holders.

One of the conclusions of the survey is that land risks are mounting and increasingly important to company’s investment decisions. A second lesson learned is that local community rights to access resources and disputes over land are more important than governance issues such as expropriation or overlapping concessions. Another finding is that more companies are more aware of obligations relating to financial governance, such as the International Finance Corporation’s performance standards, than requirements under land governance standards such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Land Tenure.

The study further found that “every respondent company assesses land tenure risks,” with the majority of respondents stating that they undertake community consultations and field verification of land titles. However, fewer than half of the companies surveyed mapped land holdings or conducted environmental impact assessments or environmental and social impact assessments.

Other findings highlighted the broad recognition that “active community engagement works better than exclusionary tactics,” and that land tenure risks contribute to economic losses due to the rejection or abandonment of at least 66 percent of reported projects.

The survey report also provides some examples of how companies budgeted and planned for long-term community engagement in efforts to reduce tenure risks to operations. [Global Landscapes Forum Press Release] [Event information]

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