Over the past few weeks, the Land Portal along with colleagues at Cadasta, have been hosting a three week online discussion (September 9-29) on the role of open land data in the fight against corruption. With over 100 contributions to the discussion and a variety of different perspectives, ranging from civil society to government representatives, we have received some valuable and thought-provoking content.
Land distribution is an issue innately tied to inequality throughout the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is considered the most unequal region in the world. This inequality ranges from wealth disparity and political corruption to gender discrimination in labor practices and the exploitation of natural resources.
Increasingly, governments and citizens in developing countries as well as development agencies are using information technology to improve governance, shape government-citizen relations, and reduce corruption. Despite this, we continue to be at the first phases of understanding how to best use these new data sources in anti-corruption work, as well as appreciating the challenges and limitations inherent in them.
In recent years, numerous companies have made commitments to better recognize and respect land rights throughout their supply chains. Although making such commitments is a critical first step towards achieving more responsible investments, many companies still struggle with how to practically implement those commitments.
I wouldn’t say Chinese investors are not trying to take social responsibility seriously, but they must understand that the meaning of responsible investment is much more than a few corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
This is a contribution to our ongoing debate 'Open Data and Land Governance: Increased accountability and transparency as a means to overcoming poverty?'. Join in and ad your voice to the discussion!
By Kaitlin Cordes, Head of Land and Agriculture at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment