Responsible Investments in Property and Land (RIPL)
Developing Guidebooks for socially responsible land-related investments
With global attention focused on inequitable, and sometimes exploitative, land-related investments, governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector have come together in an effort to improve land governance and investment practices. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT), African Union Guiding Principles, and several other standards and principles are emblematic of the international community’s commitment to addressing these challenges.
One of the persistent challenges, however, is how these standards and principles can be effectively implemented and brought to account. This requires practical, specific guidance.
In response, Landesa has launched the RIPL project, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) as part of its LEGEND Program, to lead a global effort to help women and men, communities, governments, and investors realize socially responsible land-related investments.
The RIPL team is developing step-by-step, field-tested, practical guidance that can be used by the three stakeholder groups that are centrally involved in the investment process and outcomes: communities, governments, and private sector investors. The “RIPL Guidebooks,” one for each respective stakeholder group, are based on field research and stakeholder input and will be adaptable to different country and investment contexts so that all stakeholders are in a better position to comply with internationally recognized standards and principles to improve land governance and investment practices.
Ghana and Tanzania have been selected as the project locations to develop both country-specific and “Model” Guidebooks that are grounded by practical experiences and informational needs. These Model Guidebooks are intended for adaptation across other geographic and investment contexts.
Achieving these objectives requires significant engagement and collaboration with communities, CSOs, governments, investors, and experts in the field. The RIPL team is gathering input from a range of stakeholders to guide the design and development of the Guidebooks, and is exploring avenues to support ongoing stakeholder discussions and resource sharing to promote the dissemination and use of the Guidebooks.
- RIPL Country Partners: Ghana’s Community Land and Development Foundation (COLANDEF) and the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF)
- DFID| The Department for International Development leads the United Kingdom’s work to end extreme poverty, and is responsible for the LEGEND Program
- LEGEND Program Global Grant Partners: Columbia Centre for Sustainable Investment (CCSI); Land Portal; Namati; Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI); TMP Systems; and others
Extensive stakeholder engagement in Ghana and Tanzania has led to the creation of Project Advisory Groups in each country. These groups, made up of community leaders, land-related CSOs, government officials, investors, academics, and other experts, provide local expertise to guide the development, validation, and dissemination of the Guidebooks. Additionally, field work in Ghana and Tanzania is intended to illuminate challenges, lessons learned, and good practices in the diverse investment and tenure contexts found in each country.
Case studies of specific land-based investments have been conducted in Malawi, Tanzania, and Ghana, to examine the realities faced by investors, communities, and governments involved in land investments. Collectively, these perspectives will inform the development of both country-level Guidebooks for Ghana and Tanzania, as well as the Model Guidebooks, which will be available in 2017.
The engagement of the broader global development and investment sectors are essential to project success. The RIPL team is therefore working to (1) increase stakeholder participation in RIPL project activities; (2) encourage the international development community, governments, and investors to integrate Guidebook content and principles into their work on large-scale land investments; and (3) enable stakeholders to access, disseminate, and use Guidebook content and principles.
- Land Portal| The Land Portal is an online resource that documents land rights and allows for the collection, sourcing, and searching of information on land governance and land use, and promotes innovations and networking on land issues.
- Land Matrix| The Land Matrix is a global and independent land monitoring initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in decisions over land and investment.
- LEGEND Land Bulletin| LEGEND, under the global DFID program, supports the design and delivery of new land governance programs, including the RIPL Project.