6 March 2013, 0900-1730 – Saranithet Room, Chulalongkorn University Campus, Bangkok

A one day forum with speakers from government, civil society, academia and the private sector.

Panellists and participants will take part in lively moderated debates on how well policies and legal frameworks are shaping agricultural investments to meet rural citizens’ needs and aspirations across Southeast Asia.

The forum will ask what reforms are needed to secure economic and social benefits for host countries, how can social and environmental costs be minimised, and how might we thinking differently about agricultural investments in Southeast Asia? 


Southeast Asia has been experiencing a boom in investment in land for agriculture. Much of this investment comes from within the ASEAN region, but also from the rest of Asia, Europe and North America. Whilst increased investment in the agriculture sector can bring benefits to rural populations, widespread social and environmental impacts associated with large-scale investments in land for food, fuel and agricultural commodities have also been documented across the region.

Policy and legal frameworks influence the way the risks, costs and benefits created by these investments are shared among multiple parties, and the extent to which investment promotes or undermines inclusive sustainable development. Multilateral and bilateral investment agreements, regional policy frameworks, investor-government contracts and national land, agriculture and investment policy all shape the regulation of agricultural investments in the region.

While legal protection of foreign investment has gained strength in recent years, much remains to be done to ensure that local rights are adequately protected, that those who stand to be affected by proposed investments have a voice in decision making, and that investments promote inclusive sustainable development.

This event will tackle these issues head-on and inspire debate amongst different actors across Southeast Asia to think about where transformation from business-as-usual might take place through different laws and policy frameworks. 


09.00-09.30 Overview: Agricultural Investment in ASEAN Countries

09.30–11.00 Agricultural investment promotion and preparedness: Investment incentives, international investment agreements, land availability and tenure 

11.15-12.45 Investment approval and contract negotiation: Negotiating investment agreements, transparency, public participation 

13.45-15.15 Law enforcement and monitoring of investment projects: Impact of poor enforcement and monitoring, identifying causes, designing solutions, third party certification 

15.45-17.30 Looking backwards to step forwards: Thinking differently about agricultural investment in Southeast Asia 

This event is a collaboration between the Masters of Arts in International Development Studies – Chulalongkorn University, Focus on the Global South, International Institute for Environment and Development, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme with financial support from UKAID