A new report released by the Earth Security Initiative puts the question of arable land at the center of a new security agenda. The risks to national economies, political stability and social cohesion, it argues, must now be acknowledged and dealt with. As the interest in farmland and commodities investments accelerates over the next decade, a new risk management agenda for investors and governments must focus on creating long-term value.
The report shows the interdependence that soil resilience, human rights and access to water has on these risks, and why all three must be considered together within a single risk framework.
“The Land Security Agenda: How Investor Risks in Farmland Create Opportunities for Sustainability” at: http://www.earthsecurity.org/projects/landsecurity
The report introduces an action agenda, which seeks to mobilize:
1. Investors to manage the long-term risks in their portfolios as opportunities to create value for people, land and water. The performance reviews of fund managers and their pre-investment due-diligence processes integrate these criteria.
2. Governments regulate land acquisitions according to these criteria, applying them to domestic and foreign investments alike. Transparency on these three trends enables civil society and investors to assess the long-term risks of nations.
3. The customary rights held by communities are fully recognized by investors and governments, ensuring communities to own their land assets, which is a condition for prosperity.
"The Land Security Agenda is definitely a rallying point for action. This well-written report has educated me on how we can begin to address this widespread issue. Our network across Africa is interested in a continued engagement with this agenda." Gilbert Sendugwa, Africa Freedom of Information Center (AFIC), Uganda.
"The Earth Security Initiative’s report is relevant to many countries across the globe. Issues of soil erosion, land rights and water availability are becoming real risks for investors in farmland and other commodities in both the developed and developing world. The greater pressures on arable land mean that these challenges are likely to grow in significance. Building an understanding of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues and how they manifest as investment risks and opportunities creates the business case for investors to take a proactive approach to these issues. The PRI Secretariat looks forward to the discussion that will be generated by this report." Katie Swanston, Head of Implementation Support, UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)
"The land question puts sub-Saharan Africa's future on the balance. The region's political stability, equity and economic prosperity depend on how we manage this issue. The ESI's Land Security Agenda provides us with a new perspective on the practical actions that we can take now to address this challenge. It rightfully highlights that issues like soil, biodiversity, water, human rights, transparency, governance and access to information must now be seen and acted upon through one single Land Security framework." Mukelani Dimba, Executive Director, The Open Democracy Advice Center, South Africa
"The Earth Security Initiative manages to look holistically at land issues, a real need given the changing context of a global financial crisis and the growing trend in foreign involvements in land. It opens new possibilities for action to advance good governance. It is timely and will prove important in defining the sustainability debate for land." Charles Wanguhu, Africa Centre for Open Governance, Kenya
“In order to move from ‘land-grabs’ to ‘land stewardship’, politicians and financial markets must internalize a new vision of prosperity. This vision must include the full recognition of informal land rights held by communities, on a continental scale, as the only route to a sustainable economic prosperity. Hand-in-hand with this is the effective protection of soil resilience, biodiversity and freshwater resources. Given the risk exposure of countries to climate change these resources should be now seen through an economic lens, as precious national assets.”Alejandro Litovsky, lead author of the report and Founder of the Earth Security Initiative