Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New Database Tracks Large Land Deals in Bid to Boost Transparency

Something we also do, albeit with different motivations.
From the Thompson Reuters Foundation:
Large purchases of farmland can at times be cloaked in secrecy, but a new online database is aiming to shed light on such deals globally by publishing contracts between governments and investors, according to its organizers. 
OpenLandContracts.org, based at Columbia University in New York and backed by the World Bank, lists details of 69 deals so far involving palm oil plantations, sugar cane, biofuels, soybeans, tea and other crops in eight countries.Organizers expect to have some 100 entries by year's end. 
The database could lead more companies and countries to make the details of land deals public, said Kaitlin Cordes, head of land and agriculture at Columbia's Center on Sustainable Development. 
"There is such a lack of transparency around these deals," Cordes told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Making contracts transparent can help individuals, communities and civil society monitor whether governments and investors are fulfilling their responsibilities."...MORE