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International Investment in Land: Impacts on Rights and Development, and the Role of the Law

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Boston Bar Association - 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA



Large-scale land acquisitions can have serious implications for land users and local communities, as well as for host governments’ sustainable development efforts. Although increased investment in agriculture is sorely needed, if investments are not structured equitably or regulated carefully, they can fail to provide benefits to host governments while dispossessing people of their land, livelihoods and rights. The increasing numbers of large-scale land acquisitions, sometimes known as “land deals” or “land grabs,” will affect sustainable development strategies for decades to come.

Lawyer and researcher Kaitlin Y. Cordes will discuss current trends in land-based investments, the complex web of international and domestic laws governing such investments, and the impact of land investments on rights and development. In addition, she will explore the role of lawyers and the law, examining some of the cutting-edge ways in which lawyers have been addressing these issues.

Kaitlin Y. Cordes is a Senior Legal Researcher at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), where she leads its work on investments in land and agriculture, as well as on the intersection of human rights and international investments. Prior to joining the VCC, she worked with the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch (focusing on farmworkers in South Africa) and served as an advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food (concentrating primarily on large-scale land acquisitions, inclusive business models, and the rights of agricultural workers). She is the co-editor of Accounting for Hunger: The Right to Food in the Era of Globalisation (Hart, 2011). She holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University.

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Elizabeth Vincensi


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