Improving Food Security and Land Governance through investment standards

Project completed

Legal and policy frameworks for agricultural investments in developing countries need to be strengthened to direct foreign investment in agriculture and food systems towards sustainable development outcomes that benefit rural poor populations. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) will perform   advisory, training and research activities targeting government negotiators in developing countries and African Parliamentarians with a view to supporting the application of the CFS-rai Principles.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Global and Regional Economic integration
Agricultural policy
Investment regimes (til 2016)
Legal and judicial development
Public sector policy
15.12.2014 - 28.02.2019
CHF  2’550’000

Increased interest in farmland and water has been noted worldwide. The necessity to re-invest in agriculture and in rural areas is no more debated, but foreign investments, mainly those at large-scale, have mixed development impacts. Thus, they need to be structured to maximize their impact on rural poor populations and natural resources and generate sustainable development outcomes.


Through more robust and transparent legal and policy frameworks related to investment in agriculture and food systems in developing countries, food security is strengthened, decent employment opportunities are created, land rights are protected, gender equality and advancement of women is improved, and natural resources are managed responsibly.

Target groups

Government negotiators from developing countries (in West Africa (e.g. Bénin, Burkina-Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia) Eastern and Southern Africa (e.g. Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi), South East Asia (e.g. Lao DPR, Myanmar, Indonesia);

African Parliamentarians at country, regional, economic community, and continental/”Pan-African Parliament” levels.

In addition to the main target groups, civil society organisations and academia will also be addressed through knowledge outputs prepared by IISD, and through specific project activities in Africa, such as organization of public hearings and advocacy campaigns. 

Medium-term outcomes

- Developing countries have improved capacities to negotiate and to participate in processes related to  sustainable investment in agriculture and food systems;

- Participation of African Parliamentarians in policy processes at country and regional levels lead to improved transparency and strengthened legal frameworks related to sustainable investment in agriculture and food systems;

- Increased uptake of sustainable development dimensions in key international processes relating to investment in agriculture and food systems.


Expected results:  

- Improved quality and capacity of developing countries’ negotiators involved in investment in agriculture and food systems.

- Improved capacity of African Parliamentarians to influence sustainable investment in agriculture and food systems.

- Improved transparency of investment in land and other agricultural development in Africa.

- Availability of adequate written and knowledge-sharing tools for government officials and parliamentarians from developing countries.

Results from previous phases:  

- Improved understanding by developing country officials on how to integrate sustainable development considerations into agricultural transactions;

- More active and informed involvement of African Parliamentarians at national, sub-regional and continental levels in agriculture investment discussions;

- Key decision makers understand the need to integrate sustainable development perspectives in agricultural investment.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Other partners

In 2015, DfID, IDRC, Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund (RBF). DANIDA and DfID will decide on the renewal of their multi-year grants  during 2015.

Coordination with other projects and actors

The proposed project directly supports the utilisation of the „CFS-rai“ Principles adopted by CFS in October 2014, and of the VGGT adopted in 2012. 

Outcome 1: SDC/Regional Cooperation programmes in priority countries (e.g. Lao DPR and Burkina-Faso during Ph.1). 

Outcome 2: 7F-06989.02.01 (ILC), 7F-07699.01.03 (LPI)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’550’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’450’000 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   6’850’000
Project phases Phase 3 01.01.2019 - 30.06.2024   (Current phase)

Phase 2 15.12.2014 - 28.02.2019   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.01.2011 - 31.12.2014   (Completed)