publication March 7, 2018

Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI): Knowledge into Action Notes series

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • UNCTAD–World Bank ‘Knowledge Into Action Notes' series provides evidence-based advice on the implementation of responsible agricultural investment.
  • Each of the 24 notes provides information, tools and guidance to governments, investors, communities, and civil society for their work in sustainable and responsible development in agriculture

In many developing countries, the share of agriculture and the food system in the economy is large and critical to the livelihoods of billions. It is thus essential to ensure that all investment in the sector, including by large-scale private investors, is attuned to local needs and operates responsibly, in line with international good practice. When done responsibly, boosting the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of agriculture can help fight poverty and help achieve several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as those aiming at ending hunger, ensuring decent work, and attaining gender equality.

The UNCTAD–World Bank ‘Knowledge Into Action Notes’ series provides evidence-based advice on the implementation of responsible agricultural investment. Each note provides information, tools, and guidance to governments, investors, communities, and civil society for their work in sustainable and responsible development in agriculture.

Large-scale investment by the private sector constitutes a part of countries’ development strategies. These notes seek to ensure that such investments are conducted responsibly, maximizing benefits and minimizing risks. Moreover, the practical knowledge they provide is also pertinent to smaller-scale investments and public projects.

The evidence used in the notes is drawn primarily from UNCTAD–World Bank field research. Insights from failure can be invaluable, especially because the various issues examined in the notes are wide-ranging.

Full details and publications of the joint UNCTAD-World Bank research program on responsible agricultural investment can be obtained at the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) website.  This site also provides an overview of all responsible agricultural investment related work and research programs and publications by the IAWG (FAO, IFAD, UNCTAD and the World Bank).  


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Each note examines a specific issue --such as women’s empowerment, land rights, or technology transfer. On the basis of the evidence, international commitments and agreements, and international best practice, the notes offer practical, context-specific advice and guidance to governments and investors on the implementation of responsible agricultural investment principles and values. Notes primarily address decision making by governments or investors, or both. They are also of value to other stakeholders, such as civil society, communities, and partner country governments.

Users of the notes are encouraged to consider a combination of guidance documents, tools, and sources suitable to their context and circumstances. There is no “one size fits all” recipe for the operationalization of responsible agricultural investment.

Each note examines a specific issue --such as women’s empowerment, land rights, or technology transfer. On the basis of the evidence, international commitments and agreements, and international best practice, the notes offer practical, context-specific advice and guidance to governments and investors on the implementation of responsible agricultural investment principles and values. Notes primarily address decision making by governments or investors, or both. They are also of value to other stakeholders, such as civil society, communities, and partner country governments.

Users of the notes are encouraged to consider a combination of guidance documents, tools, and sources suitable to their context and circumstances. There is no “one size fits all” recipe for the operationalization of responsible agricultural investment.

Each note examines a specific issue --such as women’s empowerment, land rights, or technology transfer. On the basis of the evidence, international commitments and agreements, and international best practice, the notes offer practical, context-specific advice and guidance to governments and investors on the implementation of responsible agricultural investment principles and values. Notes primarily address decision making by governments or investors, or both. They are also of value to other stakeholders, such as civil society, communities, and partner country governments.

Users of the notes are encouraged to consider a combination of guidance documents, tools, and sources suitable to their context and circumstances. There is no “one size fits all” recipe for the operationalization of responsible agricultural investment.


 

NOTE 1: Introduction 

Explains the logic, structure, and sequence of the notes, and suggests guidance for their use.

NOTE 2: Additional resources

Resources which can be consulted and used on responsible agricultural investment, in addition to the notes.

NOTE 3: Choosing an appropriate business model

What to consider when selecting an appropriate business model for an agricultural investment.

NOTE 4: Outgrower schemes

How to design and implement outgrower schemes to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for investors and smallholders.

NOTE 5: Creating an enabling environment

How to create an investment climate that is conducive to attracting high-quality, responsible investment in agriculture.

NOTE 6: Screening prospective investors

How to screen and select prospective investment projects to ensure they maximize social, economic, and environmental benefits while minimizing the risks.

NOTE 7: Tools for screening prospective investors

What tools government agencies can adapt to their national context and use to develop the technical capacity to screen and select investors (this note complements note 6).

NOTE 08: Investment contracts

Guidance on the form and content of contracts between investors and governments pertaining to agricultural investments.

NOTE 09: Monitoring investments

Ways to monitor the performance and impact of agricultural investments, and which aspects to observe.

NOTE 10: Public transparency

Guidance to investors and governments on land-based project elements that can be considered as private and those that are in the interests of the public and therefore should be disclosed.

NOTE 11: Respecting land rights and averting land disputes

How to ensure that agricultural investments respect existing land rights, both formal and informal, and thereby avert land disputes.

NOTE 12: Relocation and resettlement

Guidance on approaches to relocation and resettlement of people affected by investments.

NOTE 13: Water access and management

Methods to ensure that the impact of agricultural investments on water resources is effectively measured, monitored, and regulated.

NOTE 14: Environmental and social impact assessments

The conduct of environmental and social impact assessments and the implementation of associated environmental and social management plans.

NOTE 15: Community engagement strategies

Good practice on the overall approach to consultation, engagement, and partnership with local communities, to bridge gaps in information and expectation between communities and investors and to generate the social license to operate.

NOTE 16: Healthy and safe working environment

Guidance to investors and governments on the importance of occupational health and safety policies, programs, procedures, and processes that follow good practices.

NOTE 17: Training and integrating local people into the workforce

Methods to assist people from surrounding areas in gaining formal employment.

NOTE 18: Community development agreements

The negotiation, design, and implementation of community development agreements between investors and local communities.

NOTE 19: Grievance redress mechanisms

Ways that investors can provide effective remedies to affected parties who perceive that their rights have been adversely affected by investment activities.

NOTE 20: Empowering women

Good practices for reducing gender inequalities and empowering women to make a positive contribution to development through agricultural investments.

NOTE 21: Participation of youth

Guidance that investors, civil society, and governments can follow to engage youth in participating in agriculture.

NOTE 22: Food security and nutrition

Methods to ensure that agricultural investments make a positive contribution to local and national food security and nutrition.

NOTE 23: Technology transfer

Guidance on how to support the development and transfer of technologies to local smallholders and communities.

NOTE 24: Economic linkages

How to ensure that the influx of agricultural investment supports opportunities for individuals, smallholders, businesses and institutions.

NOTE 19: Grievance redress mechanisms

Ways that investors can provide effective remedies to affected parties who perceive that their rights have been adversely affected by investment activities.