Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)
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Respecting communities’ rights throughout the investment cycle: Experiences of communities and role of responsible investors

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From agriculture and forestry to renewable energy, businesses involved in land and natural resource investments are expected to hold themselves to the highest ethical and environmental standards. Yet even businesses operating in good faith struggle to ensure meaningful community engagement in their due diligence, consultation and negotiation, and grievance redress processes. Meanwhile, tenure risks have significant impacts on business operations in emerging markets. In a 2018 USAID survey of over 100 investment projects, investors revealed that land tenure risks played an important role in the majority of projects they rejected–approximately $1.6 billion in combined value–in the past five years.

Independent community support helps businesses minimize the risk of costly disruptions and respect the rights of affected communities. In this session, panelists will share stories of community-business engagement in Asia and Africa. We’ll discuss key conditions for meaningful community engagement and why it matters; how independent legal and technical support of communities (and lack thereof) affects communities, operating businesses, and investors; and what role investors could play in enabling communities to participate in investment-related processes as an empowered counterparty.

Confirmed Panelists

Representatives of:

  • Namati, a global legal empowerment organization dedicated to putting the power of law in the hands of people. We train and deploy community paralegals who empower people to understand, use, and shape the law.
  • Natural Justice, which specializes in human rights and environmental law in Africa in pursuit of both social and environmental justice
  • Environmental Legal Assistance Center, an environmental organization committed to helping communities uphold their right to a healthy and balanced ecology

Unconfirmed Panelists

We plan to invite an additional 1-2 investors/experts to share their perspectives and moderate the panel discussion.

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