IntroductionOpenLandContracts is the first global repository of publicly available contracts and related documents for agriculture, forestry, and other land-based investment projects. Users can access original documents in PDF form; the full text of each contract; plain language summaries (also called “Annotations”) of contracts’ key social, human rights, environmental, fiscal, and operational provisions; and tools to search and compare contracts.
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) created OpenLandContracts to facilitate access to and understanding of contracts that can define or affect the responsibilities of governments and investors involved in land-based investment projects. The repository can support governments, researchers, civil society, communities and their advisors, companies, and other groups. Learn more ...
Find Documents by Country or Resource
- OpenLandContracts offers quick access to documents from a specific country or related to a specific resource (e.g., timber, palm oil). Use the global sidebar menu or the world map on the homepage to view by Country or by Resource.
- On each Country page, you can sort documents by title, by year of signature, by resource, or by document type. In the right column, you’ll also find links to view country documents for specific resources. (Each Resource page has the same features.)
- Use the search box immediately above the results to narrow your search using specific words or phrases.
- You can download country lists, resource lists, and search results using the Download button above the list on the right. The downloaded spreadsheet will contain the title, details, and web address (URL) for every contract and document displayed.
- These pages to view by Country or Resource are available for easy browsing, but you can also use the main Search Box to search on the same terms.
Search All Documents
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- To search OpenLandContracts, enter any word or phrase in the Search Box at the top of most pages.
- To narrow your search, use the advanced Search Tools to limit the results shown. Select from the options in each category (Country, Resource, Year Signed, etc.) and click the green Search button to narrow your search. You can select multiple categories—and multiple options within each category—to further narrow the results.
- To show only recent documents (past 90 days) or only contracts with Annotations, use the checkboxes in the Search Tools. See more about Annotations below.
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- Use the gray Reset button to remove all previous search criteria and start a new search.
- You can share or download the results of any search using the buttons on the right above your list of results.
- Search results are based on matching terms in the text, the title or the Annotations of documents on OpenLandContracts.
- Searching for contracts using an Annotation Category will allow you to view all contracts that include the type of Annotation you selected (e.g., Community Consultation, Resettlement, Water Use, etc.).
View a Document
- To view a specific document, click on the document title to go to the View Document page.
- You can scroll through the full PDF document page by page, or click the “TEXT” button to switch to a text-only view.
- To search for specific words in the text, use the “Search in this document” box on the left. Note that text-only view is created automatically and may contain errors.
- OpenLandContracts features Annotations (i.e., plain-language summaries) on the left of the page that explain key provisions throughout the document.
- To download or share the document, use the buttons near the top of the page above the right column.
- To view key document details such any Associated Documents, the original source website, or document metadata, switch to the Summary Page using the green button on the top right of the page.
View Annotations of Contract Terms
- OpenLandContracts features hundreds of contract Annotations: plain-language summaries that help to explain key provisions and to locate certain topics within a contract.
- Annotations are listed alongside a contract on the left as you view the document, and marked with yellow boxes on relevant pages as you scroll through the contract PDF. Click on an Annotation to skip to the relevant page in the PDF viewer.
- Annotations are organized by the Topic of the related contract provision. Topics include: Environment, Fiscal, Legal Rules, Social, Operations and General. You can view a contract's Annotations by Topic or in order by page.
- Every Annotation has its own unique web address (URL), to make it easier to bookmark, cite, and share specific contract provisions.
- Please note that Annotations offer short summaries that explain contract terms. They do not interpret or analyze the terms or the overall contract. For more about contract analysis and our methodology, see the FAQ page.
Compare Using Clips Tool
- You can compare the text of terms in different contracts, by using the Clips tool to select, view, or download multiple Annotations from multiple contracts.
- Click the paper clip button at the top right of any contract page to turn on the Clips function, then select any Annotation to add it to your saved Clips. You can continue adding Clips from any document as long as the Clips tool is on.
- To review your selected Clips, click the blue “View Clips” button to go to the All Clips page. You can sort and share this list of Clips like any other OpenLandContracts list.
- To make it easier to compare terms, the All Clips page also offers enhanced print and download bundles. Select Print to create a document with the full text of all the Annotations in your Clips. Select Download to save a file including the document with the full Annotation texts, a spreadsheet with text, metadata and URLs for each Annotation, and a PDF that compiles the contract pages that correspond to each Annotation you clipped.
- To quickly compare a small number of Annotations on your screen, you can also use the red View buttons in the last column of the All Clips page. Click the buttons to display each relevant contract page as a pop-up window. If you want to compare more than four or five contract provisions, we recommend using the Download button on the All Clips page instead.
- For more tutorials on Annotations and Clips, see the Training Modules and videos below.
Guides to Land ContractsGuides for non-lawyers seeking to better understand agricultural and forestry investment contracts. Created by CCSI in collaboration with International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) staff and volunteers.
Briefing Material for Civil Society Organizations: Bridging the Information Gap
This short briefing note explains how local organizations can use land contracts to support communities to protect their rights. With the contracts, organizations can help communities to:
- Understand company and government obligations related to a company project;
- Monitor whether those obligations are being fulfilled; and
- Hold companies and governments to account for bad contracts or for failing to deliver on commitments important to communities.
Guide for Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs)
This guide, produced by EarthRights International, provides context for and explains the importance of Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs). It briefly describes the content which is usually found in ESIAs (pp. 6-19), highlights the parts of ESIAs which are important for non-legal experts to pay attention to (e.g. civil society and community advocates), and outlines important considerations for those who are involved in conducting ESIAs and/or writing ESIA reports. ESIA reports are often lengthy and technically complex documents. This guide is intended to help visitors understand, read, and use the ESIA documents found on OpenLandContracts. Although the latter parts of the guide are geographically specific, it contains valuable information relevant to understanding ESIAs in any jurisdiction.
Tutorial VideosThis 4-minute tutorial video guides users through searching for and viewing documents on OpenLandContracts.
Self-Study Training Modules and Contracts ExerciseTo provide a more in-depth understanding of land contracts, their terms, and how OpenLandContracts can support your work, CCSI has prepared a set of self-study training modules.
Prior to commencing the self-study training, please read the accompanying Guidance Note.
The self-study training includes four modules:
- Module 1: OpenLandContracts - Introduction and Key Features
- Module 2: Analyzing Land Contracts Using OpenLandContracts
- Module 3: Understanding Land Contracts and Land Investments
- Module 4: Land Contract Transparency: Benefits and Limits
The modules are designed to be used in combination with this contracts exercise, which guides users in applying the key features of OpenLandContracts and is intended to provide some practical experience with contract analysis. The short tutorial videos (above) complement these self-study modules.
Supplementary MaterialsCCSI and Open Contracting Partnership, “Transparency in Land-Based Investment: Key Questions and Next Steps” (Briefing Note, March 2016)
CCSI, “Recommending Transparency in Land-Based Investment: A Summary of Relevant Guidelines and Principles” (March 2016)
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, “Briefing: Sugar Contracts and their Impact on Land and Workers’ Rights” (October 2018) (Prepared with support from an OpenLandContracts Mini Grant)