In this issue we focus on gender and land governance, an upgraded investment law handbook and other new publications.
IIED legal tools newsletter
The Legal tools newsletter is sent out every three months to keep you updated on legal tools for citizen empowerment, a collaborative initiative to strengthen local rights and voices in natural resource investments.

Spotlight: Gender and land governance in Africa

A small-scale farmer in Tanzania. Photo: GWI/ Mike Goldwater

In the global rush for land, women are often losing out. While research tells us that agribusiness has differentiated impacts on men and women and that gender-blind investments can exacerbate underlying inequalities, it is now crucial to generate further evidence on how to achieve gender-equitable land governance and devise concrete actions.

Addressing this need has been one of the Legal Tools Team’s strategic areas of focus over the past year. We are currently implementing a two-year initiative focusing on gender, land and accountability in natural resource investments in East and West Africa, where commercial pressures on land are particularly intense.

We recently organised a two-day learning event in Tanzania, where 20 civil society representatives and researchers from across Africa gathered to pinpoint the gendered impacts of commercial land deals, share lessons and identify ground-breaking approaches to make women's voices heard in community-led land governance processes.

A webinar on ‘strengthening women’s rights in land governance: experiences from Tanzania’ was also held on 3 February 2016.

To dig deeper into the subject, read IIED's briefing 'Reconsidering approaches to women’s land rights in sub-Saharan Africa' and Catriona Knapman's blog 'Getting to the root of gender equal land governance'.


The new database cover image

Opening up land contracts

Many of the investment deals affecting land use are kept hidden from public view, leaving communities in the dark about decisions that can so profoundly affect them. Will OpenLandContracts, a new online repository of land contracts, change the game?

Land cleared for palm oil production, Indonesia (Photo: Rainforest Action Network, Creative Commons via Flickr)

How investment treaties protect "land grab" deals

New research examining the geographical coverage of international investment treaties raises concern about how they might affect public action to address 'land grabbing'.

Women farmers in Senegal face challenges over land ownership. A recent workshop looked at how more equal land access could be achieved (Photo: vredeseilanden, Creative Commons, via Flickr)

Getting to the root of gender equal land governance

A workshop in Senegal revealed that issues over equal access to land for men and women may not be as simple as they at first seem.

Holding actors in agricultural investment chains to account

When communities lose access to land, or their livelihoods, as a result of large agricultural investment projects, what can they do?

Business and human rights in investment treaties: what progress?

Despite much talk about integrating business and human rights considerations in international investment treaties, real progress remains limited.

Our work

Fausta Mwasa Pania, Tanzania © Dirk Musschoot via FlickR
Women’s participation in decision making processes relating to land is often extremely limited and their voices are rarely heard. Drawing from examples from Tanzania, a webinar organised by IIED and attended by around 35 participants shed light on the gendered impacts of commercial agriculture and the question of women’s voice and participation in decision making processes relating to land governance.

Helen Dancer, Barrister and Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton, introduced gender issues in agricultural investments based on her research experience, and Naseku Kisambu, Director of programmes at the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA), presented the organisation’s work to mainstream gender in village land use planning and village bylaws in Tanzania.

Publications and briefings

Cover image of Land rights and investment treaties: exploring the interface
Foreign investment, law and sustainable development: a handbook on agriculture and extractive industries (2nd edition)

This handbook is about how to use law to make foreign investment work for sustainable development. It aims to provide a rigorous yet accessible analysis of the law regulating foreign investment in low and middle-income countries – what this law is, how it works, and how to use it most effectively.

This is the second edition of a handbook originally published in 2013, featuring extensive revisions and updates.
Cover of land deals and invetsment treaties: visualising the interface
Land deals and investment treaties: visualising the interface

Complementing an earlier IIED report exploring how investment treaties can affect land rights in low and middle-income countries, this new publication measures and illustrates the geographic extent of the phenomenon. It finds notably that the vast majority of land deals are protected by at least one investment treaty.
Transparency in extractive industry legislation: recommendations for Kazakhstan’s Code on Subsurface Use

Transparency in extractive industry legislation: recommendations for Kazakhstan’s Code on Subsurface Use

The Republic of Kazakhstan is preparing a new Code on Subsurface and Subsurface Use. The government developed and shared for comment a ‘Concept’ outlining key policy directions for the new Code. This issue paper discusses ways to install robust transparency provisions in the new Code, making recommendations to take the Concept’s policy directions to their full potential.

Community-based advocacy: Lessons from a natural gas project in Mozambique

Community-based advocacy: Lessons from a natural gas project in Mozambique

This paper distils lessons from the use of paralegals as a tool for community-based advocacy in a district of Mozambique, where a natural gas project is increasing pressures on community lands. Also available in French and Portuguese.

Harnessing the law to contest ‘land grabs’

Harnessing the law to contest ‘land grabs’

This 'Reflect and Act' summarises lessons learnt from the Legal Tools for Citizen Empowerment project, which explores how to strengthen local rights and voices in the governance of land and investment.

Reconsidering approaches to women’s land rights in sub-Saharan Africa

Reconsidering approaches to women’s land rights in sub-Saharan Africa

This Briefing argues that projects that focus solely on women's land ownership can be restrictive, as they fail to address the breadth of challenges women face in relation to land stewardship, such as involvement in decision making. It briefing suggests that any attempt to tackle gender inequalities in land governance must also take into account local contexts and gender dynamics.

See also:

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