Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

A Community Development Agreement or CDA can be a vital mechanism for ensuring that local communities benefit from large-scale investment projects, such as mines or forestry concessions. In formalizing agreements between an investor and a project-affected community, CDAs set out how the benefits of an investment project will be shared with local communities. In some countries CDAs are required by domestic legislation; in others, they are entered into voluntarily. The most effective CDAs are also adapted to the local context, meaning that no single model agreement or process will be appropriate in every situation. Nonetheless, leading practices are emerging which can be required by governments or voluntarily adopted by companies and communities. This briefing note reviews existing research, as well as available agreements from the extractive sector in Australia, Canada, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Ghana and Greenland, to highlight these leading practices.