The Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) composed of FAO, UNCTAD, IFAD and the World Bank have jointly developed the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respect Rights, Livelihoods and Resources (PRAI).
The PRAI draw attention to rights and livelihoods of rural populations and the need for socially and environmentally sustainable agricultural investments. The principles can help governments develop laws and policies. They can be used as a reference for impact assessments, negotiation of business contracts and corporate social responsibility initiatives. The principles build on research on FDI in agriculture and various international commitments, including the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, the Equator Principles, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food. The PRAI is a 'living document', which will be further refined, elaborated and operationalized in light of the evidence.
The IAWG prepared a Plan of Action for the further elaboration and operationalization of the PRAI consisting of twin tracks. The G20 endorsed this action plan in 2011 and called on governments and investors to uphold the PRAI. The G8 has also expressed support to the implementation of PRAI in developing countries.
The Plan of Action comprises field-testing the PRAI and research on the impacts of investments in developing country agriculture (first track) to establish a solid base of evidence on the impacts of investment, use the lessons learned as a basis for refining the principles, and inform various consultation processes (second track), including through the consultations led by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
Track 1: Field Testing
Projects on the field-testing of the PRAI and research on the impacts of investment:
• Review of other initiatives relevant to PRAI
• Analysis of agricultural investment in developing countries. This includes the FAO report Trends and impacts of foreign investment in developing country agriculture - evidence from case studies
• Field-testing of PRAI with investors
• A meta-analysis of existing research on the impacts of investment in agriculture
Track 2: Consultation processes
Between 2010 and 2011, FAO held a series of consultations and information-sharing events on the PRAI with stakeholders, including governments, NGOs and the private sector.
The objectives of the consultations were as follows:
• Explain to stakeholders the objectives, origins, contents and possible use of the proposed PRAI;
• Explain the relationship between the PRAI and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security;
• Solicit views from participants on the PRAI;
• Review and pool knowledge, identifying priorities for policy, incentives, best practices for responsible agricultural investment, and issues for further research
The consultations reviewed available knowledge about responsible agricultural investments, identified key issues, and explored relevant policy and legislative questions. FAO experts presented overviews of the issues, introduced the PRAI and their possible implications for developing countries, and explained how these principles were developed building on existing international commitments and research on FDI in agriculture.
Participants shared their views and suggestions concerning the proposed principles and their suitability to governments, civil society and the private sector. Possible next steps were explored, including further elaboration of the principles and their implementation.
CFS led consultations on principles for responsible agricultural investments
The Inter-Agency Working Group supports the CFS-led inclusive consultation process to develop and ensure broad ownership of principles for responsible agricultural investments in the context of food security and nutrition. This process started in 2012.