Increased investment in agriculture is critical. In a world confronting anticipated increases in food demand arising from a growing world population and changing diets, as well as potential decreases in food supply due to climatic changes and water scarcity, agricultural investment will prove crucial to addressing food security needs in the future.
In addition, increased agricultural investment can help accelerate sustainable development in some countries, potentially bringing capital, jobs, infrastructure and other benefits. Yet if not structured equitably or regulated carefully, investments can also lead to social and environmental degradation or worse. These risks have only heightened as investments in land for agriculture have become increasingly attractive to foreign investors and host countries alike.
Indeed, countries concerned about sustainable development confront multiple challenges in managing foreign direct investment in agriculture, including land-based investments. These challenges include developing robust legal and fiscal frameworks; negotiating equitable deals with investors; leveraging investments for greater sustainable development outcomes; and mitigating environmental impacts while protecting human rights.
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment will be addressing these challenges and more with policy-makers and practitioners in its inaugural Executive Training Program on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture, which will be held at Columbia University in New York City from March 8-13, 2015.
The training is designed to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to address some of the key challenges posed by international investments in agriculture, and to encourage a rich dialogue about best practices from around the globe. The course targets mid-level public sector officials, civil society and private sector representatives.
The course draws primarily from among faculty and experts at The Earth Institute at Columbia University, as well as experts from around the world who will teach specific topics related to their expertise. Select faculty include Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute and special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon; Ward Anseeuw, research fellow at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development; and Lorenzo Cotula, principal researcher – law and sustainable development, International Institute for Environment and Development.
If you are interested in participating in the training or know of qualified candidates, visit the center’s website for more information, including how to apply. The application deadline is Dec. 15, 2014.