IIED webinar: using web platforms to promote transparency and strengthen land rights
This webinar on 6 July discussed how web platforms can be used by civil society organisations to support communities whose land rights and livelihoods are affected by agricultural projects.
Citizens groups around the world are taking action to change the way that investments in natural resources are happening, and working to protect the environment and the rights of citizens.
Unfortunately, information about natural resource investments and land deals and associated land conflicts in particular is often very limited.
On 6 July 2016, IIED hosted a webinar on 'Using web platforms to promote transparency and strengthen land rights'.
This online seminar was designed for civil society organisations in low and middle-income countries that want to support communities whose land rights and livelihoods are affected by agricultural projects.
- IIED senior researcher Emily Polack introduced the seminar
- Sam Szoke-Burke, legal research at Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI), introduced the Open Land Contracts database, which contains publicly available investment contracts for large-scale land projects, and
- Wai Wai Lwin, from Open Data Myanmar (ODM), discussed how ODM uses web technology to share unbiased and verified data on land conflict in Myanmar to resolve conflicts and improve land governance.
After the presentations there was a facilitated discussion with webinar participants. The discussion addressed questions such as:
- What role is currently played by web platforms to promote transparency in natural resource investment and protect land rights and resolve conflicts?
- How can civil society organisations (CSOs) make use of web platforms to protect the rights of citizens, and with what results?, and
- What are the challenges, and how can they be addressed?
This online seminar is funded by UK Aid from the UK Government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the UK government.
About the speakers
Sam Szoke-Burke is a legal researcher for the CCSI's focus areas of land and agriculture, and extractive industries. He also specialises in the intersection of human rights and international investments. Prior to joining CCSI, Sam worked as a legal consultant for the Land, Environment and Development project at the Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia, where he represented various indigenous communities in legal claims relating to mineral exploration, ancestral land claims and forced resettlement.
He has also worked with various human rights and public interest organizations in the US and Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and a Bachelor of Laws with first class honors from Monash University Australia, and a Master of Laws from New York University School of Law. He is admitted to practice in Victoria, Australia.
Wai Wai Lwin previously served as executive director of local Myanmar NGO BadeiDha Moe. In that position, she focused on land rights issues, working alongside farmers in eviction and land confiscation cases, especially in areas with heavy foreign direct investment.
She has recently been leading the development of ODM. She has also facilitated several stakeholder consultations, and has carried out a number of community-led social impact assessments. Prior to her involvement with BadeiDha Moe, Wai Wai Lwin worked with various international NGOs and the UN on development, relief and child rights programmes.
The webinar was part of IIED's work on Legal Tools for Citizen Empowerment, a collaborative initiative that aims to help local communities protect their rights in relation to natural resource investments.
Lorenzo Cotula, principal researcher at IIED, attended CCSI's launch of OLC in October 2015 and wrote a related blog on opening up land contracts.
For more information about IIED's Legal Tools work, contact Lorenzo Cotula (firstname.lastname@example.org), team leader, legal tools