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Increasing Local Voice and Benefit in Natural Resource Investment: a Legal Empowerment Approach

By: Lorenzo Cotula, International Development Law Organization

There have been sizable increases in investment flows to several African countries in recent years, particularly in mining, petroleum and agriculture for food or fuel. While this may create livelihood opportunities, it also creates risks. Rural people may lose access to the resources they depend on, especially where their resource rights are weak, their capacity to enforce such rights is limited, and where major power asymmetries undermine their position in relation to governments and investors.

Legal Tools for Citizen Empowerment, an initiative involving the International Institute for Environment and Development in partnership with organizations in Ghana, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal, seeks to empower local people by increasing their influence on and benefits from natural resource investment projects. The program involves research, capacity-building, sharing of information and advocacy on policy. This paper draws on material and preliminary lessons from the Legal Tools for Citizen Empowerment program with a view to providing insights for international consideration of legal empowerment.

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Uploaded on: Feb 25, 2013
Last Updated: Dec 04, 2015
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