Transformative land investment: Trends in transnational governance

Key messages

  • Land governance standards, regulations and ‘food systems transformation’ have very different meanings across different actors, and different perceived roles – from facilitating large-scale land investments to preventing them.
  • The promise that voluntary standards would mobilize significant additional investment has not materialized.
  • Challenges with corporate self-regulation have led many, including some private sector actors, to push for mandatory regulation. However, this also comes with specific weaknesses and risks (e.g., bias towards those with the resources to comply); corporate disclosure has been inadequate to date.
  • Under the right political and contextual conditions, even what appear to be weak land governance instruments can provide opportunities for the poorest farmers to protect their land rights.
  • It is essential to understand and make explicit the different visions and assumptions regarding ‘development’ behind standards and initiatives, and their implementation pathways, in order to identify common ways forward.

Luttrell, C.,Larson, A.M.,Schoneveld, G.C.,Gallagher, E.

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