Community Rights

Multi-actor contracts: A strategy for advancing community rights to free, prior and informed consent?

The UNIDROIT/FAO/IFAD draft guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts is an exciting addition to existing guidance and norms surrounding investor-state (and other) contracts for agricultural projects. One potentially transformative feature is the guide’s discussion of multi-actor contracts (also known as “tripartite contracts”), which would include land-holding communities and other legitimate tenure rights holders as a party. Why is this a good idea? What challenges do we face in encouraging more multi-party contracts? And when are such contracts likely to facilitate the fulfillment a community’s right to give or withhold its free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and to meaningfully participate in decision making? This submission considers these questions.