The Working Group on agricultural land investment contracts has thus far met four times. Summaries and documentation for each of the meetings are included below.
The Working Group’s first meeting took place at UNIDROIT’s seat in Rome on 3-5 May 2017, with the objective of receiving expert input to better define the contours of the work, in particular with respect to the possible scope of the instrument, thereby allowing both for the organisation of future work and for consultations with a broader group of experts and stakeholders. In particular, the Working Group discussed, inter alia, the following:
The documentation for the first meeting includes:
The Working Group’s second meeting took place at UNIDROIT’s seat in Rome on 13-15 September 2017. The Working Group discussed recent developments and general considerations in relation to the work, in particular with respect to the future instrument’s scope and target audience and its alignment to existing initiatives (e.g. the VGGT and CFS-RAI Principles); examined in detail the draft outline of the future instrument, proposed revisions to that outline and initial drafting contributions for certain chapters; and discussed the organisation of future work, including possible events and other means for raising awareness about the work, consulting stakeholders and seeking their input.
The documentation for the second meeting includes:
The Working Group’s third meeting was held at UNIDROIT’s seat in Rome on 25-27 April 2018. The Working Group began by discussing recent developments, including the Secretariat’s presentation of the work at the World Bank’s Annual Land and Poverty Conference (Washington, 19-23 March 2018), as well as some general considerations in relation to the work (e.g. scope and key themes). The Working Group then reviewed in detail drafts for the chapters and issues identified in the draft in-progress outline of the future instrument on agricultural land investment contracts and considered, in connection with that review, various drafting issues to facilitate revisions (e.g. terminology to be used; the framing of guidance to be offered; the level of detail to be provided; and references to other instruments and sources). Lastly, the Working Group discussed next steps (e.g. remaining drafting and revising responsibilities; stakeholder engagement and consultations for input on the drafts; and the upcoming schedule for the work) and decided that the fourth meeting of the Working Group would be held at UNIDROIT’s seat in Rome on 9-11 October 2018.
The documentation for the third meeting includes:
The Working Group’s fourth meeting on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts took place at UNIDROIT’s seat in Rome on 9-11 October 2018. The Working Group began by discussing recent developments, including a presentation of the work at the panel on “Sustainable Investment in Agriculture” (Rome, 8 October 2018) during the IBA’s annual conference and the upcoming side event on “Improving Agricultural Investment Contracts and the Contracting Process” (Rome, 18 October 2018) that will take place during the CFS’ 45th plenary session. The Group then reviewed in detail drafts for all of the chapters of the future Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts, which are expected to be consolidated into a combined and substantially complete draft by the end of 2018. Lastly, the Group discussed next steps, including the plan for broad and extended consultations on the draft Guide, for incorporating the input received and for finalising the Guide.
The documentation for the fourth meeting includes:
In addition, the UNIDROIT Secretariat has held, together with FAO and IFAD, two informal meetings and a CFS Side Event with experts and interested stakeholders – during the 43rd (Rome, 17-21 October 2016), 44th (Rome, 9-13 October 2017) and 45th plenary sessions (Rome, 15-19 October 2018) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) respectively – to raise awareness about the work and to solicit input on it.
The first informal meeting was held on 20 October 2016, at which participants discussed the scope, content and form of the future instrument on agricultural land investment contracts (see the draft agenda). The input received during the meeting was taken into consideration in the formation of the Working Group and was provided to that Group once constituted for its first meeting (Rome, 3-5 May 2017).
The second informal meeting was held on 11 October 2017, at which participants reviewed and commented on the draft in-progress outline (see the draft agenda). The input received during the meeting was provided to the Working Group for its consideration in preparing the chapter drafts that were reviewed at the Working Group’s third meeting (Rome, 25-27 April 2018).
The CFS Side Event was held with experts, interested stakeholders and participants on 18 October 2018. Entitled “Improving Agricultural Investment Contracts and the Contracting Process,” the event was moderated by Secretary-General Ignacio Tirado (UNIDROIT) and brought together an impressive panel of experts, including Ms Margret Vidar (FAO), Mr Charles Forrest (IFAD), Mr Lorenzo Cotula (IIED), Mr Brian Baldwin (CFS/Private Sector Mechanism) and Ms Ilaria Bottigliero (IDLO) (see the flyer for the event). The panel discussed UNIDROIT’s future Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts, examined some of the key issues and safeguards addressed in that Guide and sought input from participants for consideration by the Working Group.
Consultations on the ALIC Zero Draft: at its fourth meeting (Rome, 9-11 October 2018), the Working Group agreed that the revised draft Guide – the ALIC Zero Draft – should be submitted to broad and extended consultations to raise awareness about the Legal Guide and to seek further input from stakeholders, in order to ensure a high-quality product that responds to actual needs and complies with ascertained best practices. This course of action was endorsed by the Governing Council at its 98th session (Rome, 8-10 May 2019).
The consultation included various activities.
The key recommendations gathered throughout the course of all the consultations have been summarized and classified according to the issues raised and allocated based on the Guide’s chapters most likely to be impacted. For more information see the Consolidated Report.
Drafting committee meeting: on the basis of the feedback and comments received throughout the ALIC Zero Draft consultation process, the UNIDROIT Secretariat organised, in coordination with FAO and IFAD, a drafting committee meeting in Rome on 2-3 March 2020 (see the annotated agenda). The Secretariat provided a brief overview of the outcome of the consultations and an update on the next steps for finalisation of the ALIC Guide. Members of the drafting committee, including experts from the ALIC Working Group, reviewed each comment and recommendation received on a chapter-by-chapter basis and decided how the various chapters of the ALIC Zero Draft should be accordingly adapted. With a view to the finalisation of the future Legal Guide, a number of issues were discussed, such as: (a) terminology; (b) the framing of guidance; (c) the appropriate level of detail; (d) references to other instruments and sources; and (e) revisions of an editorial nature as to clarity of expression and user-friendliness.
Approval of the ALIC Guide: In September 2020, the UNIDROIT Governing Council approved the Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts, subject to possible minor adjustments during the process leading to the approval by the partner organisations.