Follow the money to justice: New tool for fighting land grabs

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Inclusive Development International is pleased to announce the launch of our new online resource for fighting land grabs and other corporate abuses:  www.followingthemoney.org

Follow the Money to Justice is designed for advocates working to support communities whose rights and resources are threatened by irresponsible investment projects.  Building on our 2015 publication, co-produced with IIED, Following the Money: An advocates guide to securing accountability in agricultural investments, this online resource explains how to mine publicly available information to identify and analyze the companies, investors and other actors behind destructive projects. It also provides guidance on how to collect evidence, get organized and develop tailored multi-pronged advocacy strategies to hold these actors accountable.  It draws upon the experiences and lessons learned from community advocates around the world who have successfully challenged harmful investments and shaped development in their regions.

We know from experience that mapping and analyzing investment chains can be a complex, time-consuming process. Often, information about the various actors profiting from harmful investment projects can be difficult to find, due to the opaque nature of global financial and trade flows. Yet many of these actors have reputations to protect and are acting in violation of laws or their own social and environmental standards, making them potential pressure points for advocacy. When they are hidden from view, affected people are denied critical avenues to stop harmful investments and demand redress for harms suffered.

That’s why – in addition to developing this online resource – we launched the Follow the Money Initiative this year as a pilot program in the Mekong region, in partnership with Equitable Cambodia and Columbia University’s Business and Human Rights Clinic.  Through this initiative, our research team uses subscription-based digital tools to uncover the financial backers of land and resource grabs, and then works with partners to get this information to affected people on the ground, expanding their opportunities to defend their rights and demand accountability.

Upon request from communities and their local advocates, we map and analyze the upstream actors – such as parent companies, shareholders and banks – and downstream actors – such as buyers and distributors – connected to harmful land-based investment projects. We then provide tailored advice about potential advocacy strategies that target the pressure points we identify along the investment chain.

The Follow the Money Initiative is still in a pilot stage. As such, we are currently only accepting mapping requests from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, and a limited number of requests from partners in Africa, through the end of 2016.  We hope to expand the project over the next year and begin accepting more requests from other regions.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact us and if you’d like us consider a mapping request from one of our focus countries, you can do so using this form.

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