OpenLandContracts.org has just launched an online, searchable repository of publicly available contracts for large-scale land, agriculture, and forestry projects. Thomson Reuters Foundation reports: “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 Investment.”
According to OpenLandContracts.org, “the online repository includes: the full text of contracts; plain language summaries of each contract’s key social, environmental, human rights, fiscal, and operational terms; and tools for searching and comparing contracts.” Their goal “is to improve access to and understanding of these contracts in order to assist all stakeholders, and particularly those with limited resources, to understand key aspects of the contracts that govern land-based investments.”
Currently, contract documents are from these countries: Cambodia, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Timor – Leste.