UNCTAD, FAO, IFAD and the World Bank have jointly developed a set of Principles for responsible agricultural investment that respects rights, livelihoods and resources (PRAI).
At its Seoul Summit in November 2010, as part of its multi-year action plan on development, the G20 encouraged:
"all countries and companies to uphold the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment. We request UNCTAD, the World Bank, IFAD, FAO and other appropriate international organizations to develop options for promoting responsible investment in agriculture."
G20 Leaders at the Cannes Summit in November 2011 and at the Los Cabos Summit in June 2012 reaffirmed their support for the PRAI.
The seven Principles cover all types of investment in agriculture, including between principal investors and contract farmers. In many cases no purchase of land or concessions are involved. Where this does occur the principles cover both large and small holdings. The Principles are based on detailed research on the nature, extent and impacts of private sector investment and best practices in law and policy. They are intended to distil the lessons learned and provide a framework for national regulations, international investment agreements, global corporate social responsibility initiatives, and individual investor contracts.
Consultations are still continuing and the Principles are currently being piloted with both governments and companies. The Principles comprise the following:
- Principle 1: Existing rights to land and associated natural resources are recognized and respected.
- Principle 2: Investments do not jeopardize food security but rather strengthen it.
- Principle 3: Processes relating to investment in agriculture are transparent, monitored, and ensure accountability by all stakeholders, within a proper business, legal, and regulatory environment.
- Principle 4: All those materially affected are consulted, and agreements from consultations are recorded and enforced.
- Principle 5: Investors ensure that projects respect the rule of law, reflect industry best practice, are viable economically, and result in durable shared value.
- Principle 6: Investments generate desirable social and distributional impacts and do not increase vulnerability.
- Principle 7: Environmental impacts of a project are quantified and measures taken to encourage sustainable resource use, while minimizing the risk/magnitude of negative impacts and mitigating them.