Eastern Europe

Date of publication
Septiembre 2015

EBG Capital was appointed by the German Development Agency (GIZ) to obtain case studies from selected agricultural investment funds (predominantly private equity investors) to determine “best practice” in Responsible Investment (RI) in agriculture and the use of international RI principles and guidelines to achieve this. We requested a case study of a practical (“on-the-ground”) investment in farmland from 33 agricultural investors from around the world. Questions related to international RI principles and guidelines, due diligence, consultation with local communities, impact, and impact monitoring. Of the 33 investors contacted, 24 either declined or failed to respond to our request before the deadline of 9 November 2014.

Our eight respondents were a diverse group of investors with total assets under management (AUM) north of US$ 2bn, and covering Latin America, Africa, Asia and Central & Eastern Europe. Their case studies covered a wide range of farmland project-types from bananas and citrus fruits to tea and grains. Investment strategies varied from debt financing and prepayment/financing to investments in equity and direct acquisition of farmland assets (land, land leases and equipment). In some cases, investors selfoperated newly acquired farmland, in others they subleased the operations to a corporate entity or individually sub-leased parcels of land to local farmers.

All investors are signatories to one or more international initiatives – guidelines or principles – such as the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI). IFC Performance Standards were frequently used as RI guidelines. However, respondents identified the challenges they face in the more practical, “on the ground” implementation of these RI guidelines. At best, these guidelines offer a checklist against which investors compare their own internal environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria (which take into account both high standards and practical constraints).

Our report finds that all investors in agriculture are concerned with securing adequate, reliable and defensible land tenure. This forms the primary focus of their preinvestment due diligence and ongoing investment monitoring. Securing “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC) seems to be a challenging part of the investment process and only a few respondents have conducted a structured FPIC process. The agriculture investors in this survey tend to acquire existing farmland operations – with many processes in place – rather than greenfield projects. This makes sense from a risk management point-of-view and helps to ensure compliance with RI guidelines. 

In terms of social impacts, these vary across the specific projects and investor ‘ESG Commitment.’ The reporting of social impacts tends to be identified as either improved livelihoods or improved community development. The measurement and reporting of social impact varies across investors and is difficult to assess.

Overall, the case studies provide exceptional detail into best practices in RI in Agriculture that can and should be emulated across the sector. In addition, this review identifies opportunities for improved RI practices ‘on the ground’ (e.g. a framework on what guides to be used under which conditions or have a more flexible version of the IFC Performance Standards for smaller scale projects). The study also identified areas for additional research such as investor mapping based on the Land Matrix database or broaden the survey by including feedback from local stakeholders (360 degrees feedback).

Date of publication
Junio 2013
Geographical focus

The transition economies of Central and
Eastern Europe, through the reform process of
decentralization, are now seeking the devolution of fiscal
powers, and responsibilities from central, to local
governments, within financially sustainable environments. To
this end, a system of local budgets, and taxes needs to be
devised, over which local governments may have control.
Thus, this report focuses on the tax on immovable real
property, one of the most important local tax options, and,
undertakes comparative analysis of tax policy formulation,
within a context of rapid institutional changes. Case
studies provide insights into the policy debates, and
choices that guide the process of property tax reform, and,
shed light on the entire cycle, from initial impetus, to
resulting legislation, and the subsequent administrative
challenges of assessment, collection, appeal, and review.
Because of the multiple roles of property taxation (as an
instrument of decentralization, an element of property
rights, an adjunct to privatization and restitution, and a
source of revenue), it is appropriate to consider its
development in multiple contexts. Therefore, the cases range
from first generation reformers, i.e., Poland, Estonia,
Slovakia, and parts of the Russian Federation, to later
efforts in the Czech Republic and Armenia. These cases aim
to broaden the understanding of available alternatives, and
their relationship to specific political, legal, and
economic settings.

Date of publication
Junio 2012
Geographical focus

A major problem in the Europe and
Central Asia (ECA) agricultural sector and rural areas
during the transition was the breakdown of the relationships
of farms with input suppliers and output markets. The
simultaneous privatization and restructuring of the farms
and of the up- and downstream companies in the agrifood
chain have caused major disruptions. The result is that many
farms and rural households face serious constraints in
accessing essential inputs (feed, fertilizer, seeds,
capital, etc.) and in selling their products. This report
presents several case studies and survey reports implemented
across countries and subsectors of the agrifood supply
chains in ECA. The case studies provide detailed information
and analysis and are a rich source of insights in the
processes of vertical coordination that are taking place in
the ECA region and their effects. In addition, the case
studies include interviews with managers of international
companies who have invested in this region. The objective of
the study was to analyze vertical coordination (VC) in
agrifood supply chains in ECA and to identify options for
improved policies, institutions, and investments which
Governments could make, and which the World Bank could
support, in order to improve links in the agricultural
marketing and processing chain and increase access of
farmers to input and output markets. This is especially
important in those countries where contractual arrangements
are slow to develop.

Date of publication
Mayo 2012

This study reviews how the integration
of environmental concerns into agriculture and forestry is
progressing in the countries of Southeastern Europe (SEE)
and of Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia (EECCA)
since 2000 and assesses prospects for the future. The
present report is a contribution to the environment for
Europe process. At the Fifth Ministerial Conference in Kiev
in 2003, participants decided to pay greater attention to
the needs of the EECCA and adopted an environmental strategy
for the sub-region. The commitments made under that strategy
are taken as benchmarks against which progress is assessed,
recommendations made, and emerging environmental priorities
reviewed. This report also includes an assessment of SEE
countries and territories. The analysis provided here is
intended primarily to inform discussions during and after
the sixth environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, to
be held in Belgrade in October 2007. The main text of this
report provides a synthesis of major regional issues and
trends, with broad recommendations for future directions and
priorities. The annexes provide a wealth of data along with
detailed country reviews for the 22 countries and
territories studied.

Date of publication
Marzo 2014
Geographical focus

This paper covers the most commonly used
means to charge road users, including fuel taxes, vehicle
taxes, vignettes and tolls. It presents a brief survey of
road user charging systems in selected European countries
and a more detailed overview of current status and
perspectives of road user charges in Poland. Consideration
is also given to private financing of roads through
different forms of public-private partnerships (PPP),
including a review of potential applications of the World
Bank toolkit for PPP in highways as an instrument to help
decision makers and practitioners to define the best PPP
approach for a specific country.

Date of publication
Marzo 2012

The climate is changing, and the Eastern
Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region is vulnerable to the
consequences. Many of the region's countries are facing
warmer temperatures, a changing hydrology, and more
extremes, droughts, floods, heat waves, windstorms, and
forest fires. This book presents an overview of what
adaptation to climate change might mean for Eastern Europe
and Central Asia. It starts with a discussion of emerging
best-practice adaptation planning around the world and a
review of the latest climate projections. It then discusses
possible actions to improve resilience organized around
impacts on health, natural resources (water, biodiversity,
and the coastal environment), the 'unbuilt'
environment (agriculture and forestry), and the built
environment (infrastructure and housing). The last chapter
concludes with a discussion of two areas in great need of
strengthening given the changing climate: disaster
preparedness and hydro-meteorological services. This book
has four key messages: a) contrary to popular perception,
Eastern Europe and Central Asia face significant threats
from climate change, with a number of the most serious risks
already in evidence; b) vulnerability over the next 10 to 20
years is likely to be dominated by socioeconomic factors and
legacy issues; c) even countries and sectors that stand to
benefit from climate change are poorly positioned to do so;
and d) the next decade offers a window of opportunity for
ECA countries to make their development more resilient to
climate change while reaping numerous co-benefits.

Date of publication
Junio 2012
Geographical focus

This article evaluates the effect of the
overdraft facility (or line of credit) policy by comparing a
large sample of overdraft facilitated firms and matched
non-overdraft facilitated firms from Eastern Europe at the
sector level. The sample firms are compared with respect to
rates of different performance indicators including:
technical efficiency (a Data Envelopment Analysis approach
is applied to estimate the technical efficiency level for
individual sectors), production workers trained,
expenditures on research and development, and export
activity. In order to avoid the selectivity problem,
propensity score matching methodologies are adopted. The
results suggest that a certain level of overdraft facility
provided to firms would be needed to stimulate investment in
research and development, which will eventually result in
increased growth in productivity.

Date of publication
Junio 2012

Greenhouse gas emissions are largely determined by how energy is created and used, and policies designed to encourage mitigation efforts reflect this reality. However, an unintended consequence of an energy-focused strategy is that the set of policy instruments needed to tap mitigation opportunities in agriculture is incomplete. In particular, market-linked incentives to achieve mitigation targets are disconnected from efforts to better manage carbon sequestered in agricultural land. This is especially important for many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where once-productive land has been degraded through poor agricultural practices. Often good agricultural policies and prudent natural resource management can compensate for missing links to mitigation incentives, but only partially. At the same time, two international project-based programs, Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism, have been used to finance other types of agricultural mitigation efforts worldwide. Even so, a review of projects suggests that few countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia take full advantage of these financing paths. This paper discusses mitigation opportunities in the region, the reach of current mitigation incentives, and missed mitigation opportunities in agriculture. The paper concludes with a discussion of alternative policies designed to jointly promote mitigation and co-benefits for agriculture and the environment.

Date of publication
Abril 2013

This volume presents a synthesis of the
multi-country collaborative program of analytical and
advisory activities titled reducing vulnerability to climate
change in European and Central Asian (ECA) agricultural
systems. Climate change and its impacts on agricultural
systems and rural economies are already evident throughout
the ECA region. Adaptation measures now in use in the
region-largely piecemeal efforts-would be insufficient to
prevent impacts on agricultural production over the coming
decades. Interest is growing among governments and many of
their development partners to gain a better understanding of
the exposure, sensitivities, and impacts of climate change
at the farm level, and to develop and prioritize adaptation
measures to build resilience to the potentially adverse
consequences. Agricultural production is inextricably tied
to climate, making agriculture one of the most
climate-sensitive of all economic sectors. In many
countries, such as the four examined in this work, the risks
of climate change for the agricultural sector are a
particularly immediate and important problem because the
majority of the rural population depends either directly or
indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. The risks
of climate change cannot be effectively dealt with and the
opportunities cannot be effectively exploited without a
clear plan for aligning agricultural policies with climate
change, for developing key agricultural institution
capabilities, and for making needed infrastructure and
on-farm investments. However, an important advantage of the
innovative approach developed for this assessment is that it
can be applied to gauge the climate change risks and
opportunities of any country's farming systems, and it
can be used to define and prioritize practical adaptation options.

Date of publication
Enero 1970
Geographical focus

In countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the development of arrangements for land consolidation takes place in the wake of the transition to a new private property regime, and in the context of accession to the European Union. The process of institutional change is complex and sensitive to immediate political and economic agendas. It is also determined by other prevailing social, economic and cultural factors. Land consolidation is an ongoing process and the exact nature of its final outcome may be hard to predict; it takes time and it may suffer set-backs, but it can be an effective way of improving conditions for people in rural areas.


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