Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa

The Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa were drafted by the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) and endorsed by the tripartite consortium of the African Union, the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2014 to improve land governance to secure land rights and livelihoods, increase productivity and enhance environmental stewardship in Africa. Prepared through a collaborative and participatory process, the Guiding Principles are Africa-owned and establish large scale land based investments (LSLBI) that are more likely to succeed in terms of benefits for governments, local communities and investors.

The Guiding Principles are designed to help AU member states and other stakeholders develop larger-scale agricultural investments that are more likely to prove sustainable, beneficial, and successful for communities, investors and governments. They are based on a foundation of human rights and gender equality and promote six fundamental principles that include: respecting the human rights of communities; respecting the land rights of women; conducting holistic assessments of investments; recognizing the important role of smallholder farmers for achieving food security and poverty reduction; promoting collaboration among member states; and, enhancing accountability and transparency to improve governance.

In line with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), the Guiding Principles emphasize the importance of recognizing and respecting customary rights to land and resources, and of community participation in consultations and negotiations. They also call for timely and adequate compensation for those who lose rights and accessible grievance mechanisms for those who suffer harm, in line other international guidance. To better determine in all parties are meeting obligations, the Guiding Principles call for more robust monitoring of investment activities. And finally, a strong emphasis is placed on respecting the rights of women and girls to land and other natural resources.

The Guiding Principles are available on the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) website.