A web-based contracts repository can make contract disclosure more open and more efficient and can increase access to land contracts and other relevant documents for investors, communities, journalists and public officials seeking to write, review or compare contracts from their own country or in other jurisdictions.
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, who created and manage OpenLandContracts, can provide governments with the technical support to build their own online contract repositories using the OpenLandContracts system. How do you use land deal information in your work? Can a repository like OpenLandContracts make the land contracts that matter to you more accessible?
The OpenLandContracts team is available to work with governments and other stakeholders to create country-specific websites to host contracts and other relevant documents. A country-specific site would include the same functionality as OpenLandContracts, enabling users to access contract documents, read summaries (or "Annotations") of key contract terms, search within or across contracts, and compare one contract to another. Each individual country site will link to the global OpenLandContracts database.
For host governments...
What benefits can this project bring to your country?
A country-specific contract repository will enable policymakers, companies, and communities to better understand and monitor existing contracts and to use this knowledge to inform future deals. By making the contracts more accessible and understandable, a country-specific repository could help increase government and citizen understanding of the content of documents that are often difficult to understand for non-lawyers. The repository could be one important tool in a government’s efforts to inform citizens about the terms governing large-scale land-based investments. One example of a country-specific site is the website that our team helped develop for the government of Guinea. In Guinea, ResourceContracts.org partnered with the government’s mining contract review committee to produce www.contratsminiersguinee.org, which has significantly increased the transparency of the Guinean mining sector and the knowledge of Guinea’s citizens, government officials, and investors.
How does the process work?
The specific steps to create a contracts repository (including workflow and maintenance considerations) are determined by your government and the OpenLandContracts team at the outset of each project. This includes designing the features of the online repository that meet both government needs and the OpenLandContracts system capabilities. The goal of the country sites process is to put at the disposal of your government the experience that the OpenLandContracts team and their colleagues have acquired in building the global database, and to assist in developing a state-of-the-art online platform to enhance transparency and understanding of contracts in your country. Please note that our sister site, ResourceContracts.org, is also available to build a country-specific website that focuses on oil, gas, and mining contracts, or we can develop a comprehensive site that covers those types of contracts as well as commercial agriculture and forestry contracts.
For investors ...
Recent and forthcoming guidelines on responsible land-based investment point to the importance of transparency around contractual terms, and to the significant role to be played by investors in this process. Numerous guidelines recommend that investors make all relevant information concerning land-based investments, including the contracts governing control over and/or use of the land concerned, available to affected stakeholders and the general public. Even where applicable legal frameworks do not specifically require such disclosure, investors can take the lead in promoting increased transparency and ensuring that affected stakeholders are informed of the rights and responsibilities of contracting parties.
OpenLandContracts provides investors with a practical, straightforward way to meet this emerging best practice by providing a neutral web-based platform for disclosure. Investors can work directly with the OpenLandContracts team to select and publish land-based investment contracts online. Should you wish to learn more about how disclosure can become a part of the investment process, please contact us.
For further information ...
To learn more about how the OpenLandContracts team can support host governments, investors, and other relevant stakeholders in their efforts to disclose contracts and associated documents, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.