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Innovative Financing Solutions for Community Support in the Context of Land Investments

By: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Too many communities struggle to access the support they need to protect their interests, in large part because they cannot afford it. This is in stark contrast to companies, who can generally afford the legal and technical support needed for their investments. Inadequate support can weaken a community’s ability to: prepare internally; influence due diligence and planning; consult and interact with a company about a proposed project; negotiate a contract with a company; monitor company operations; engage in dispute resolution; litigate and enforce relevant judgments; and ensure responsible project closure. As a result, communities around the world risk losing access to critical land and resources, suffering human rights violations, or missing opportunities to benefit from investments. The inability of communities to secure necessary support can also result in conflict and challenges that are damaging for companies, host governments, and other actors. Although donors, support providers, and others have found ways to support communities directly and indirectly, their combined efforts can only extend so far. To fill the financing gap, promising new opportunities exist. But they require both catalytic and sustained efforts by a range of different actors, and present their own challenges, which must be carefully addressed. This report presents a call to action for different stakeholders to help communities secure the support they so crucially need.