LIDS Projects

SPRING 2014 PROJECTS

1. ABA Criminal Law Section’s International Committee, Law Enforcement and Police Reform Toolkit

Most people’s day-to-day interactions with the criminal justice system, especially in developing countries, are with the police. At their best, law enforcement officers keep the peace, protect property, and limit civil and human rights abuses. However, poorly resourced law enforcement agencies with antiquated policies and procedures can lead to the abuse of civil and human rights and undermine police effectiveness. To address this problem, the ABA International Committee of the Criminal Justice Section, with the assistance of the LIDS team, would like to assemble a Law Enforcement and Police Reform toolkit of policies and procedures that could be utilized by law enforcement agencies internationally.

The toolkit will set out best practices on topics such as professionalization, supervision, recruitment and training of law enforcement personnel, and internal investigation and discipline, among others. The LIDS team will start by examining settlement agreements between the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and major police departments stemming from the DOJ’s determination under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (Section 14141), that a pattern or practice of systematic civil rights violations occurred. These settlement agreements reflect evolving norms in policing and contain a wealth of knowledge that can be drawn upon by law enforcement agencies seeking to professionalize their forces and modernize their policies and procedures to ensure effective policing which protects civil and human rights. The LIDS team will also identify sources of best practices from other countries and regions and will draft a coherent set of policies and procedures that reflect best practices in effective policing that protects civil and human rights.

2. Center for Civil Society, Mapping Regulatory Barriers to the Sale, Transport, and Storage of Sugarcane

This project addresses how regulatory barriers impact smallholder sugarcane farmers in India. Many sugarcane farmers in India face prohibitive barriers and are unable to develop their business and move out of poverty. These barriers include mandatory local quotas, prices ceilings, and bans on exports and come in different forms, such as entry, operational, and exit barriers. The proposed research contends that these barriers are unreasonable restrictions on farmers’ right to livelihood, guaranteed to them in the Indian Constitution. The LIDS team will map these barriers, research the impact of the barriers on the livelihoods of sugarcane farmers, and provide a framing of the legal arguments on how these barriers violate farmers’ constitutional right to livelihood.

3. Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN), Developing Genomic Approaches to HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

This project will contribute to the development and integration of genetic and genomics technologies that probe the factors important to the progression of HIV and HIV-TB infection in sub-Saharan African children. CAfGEN is working to create a collaborative network that uses genomics approaches to study gene/environment interactions for HIV/AIDS. This project will further this objective in three ways: (1) preparing a report addressing the legal, ethical, and societal implications of genomics research and biobank governance with pediatric populations in sub-Saharan Africa; (2) collecting and preparing case summaries and best practices from around the world (with an emphasis on African and developing countries) on ethical and legal policies and procedures for pediatric genomics research and biobank governance; and (3) conducting a textual analysis and assessment of existing CAfGEN ethical and legal policies and procedures.

4. Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (Janaagraha), Fiscal Transparency and Accountability in Cities 

Janaagraha’s mission is to transform the quality of life in India’s cities and towns. One of its main objectives is to improve transparency, accountability, and participation in Indian urban life. The LIDS team will work with the public disclosure and accountability initiative of Janaagraha—PROOF (Public Record Of Operations and Finance). PROOF believes in the importance of participatory budgeting, meaning citizens actively participate in the annual budgeting process of municipal corporations and all other urban service providers through formal platforms. To this end, PROOF’s on-the-ground work is directly involved with getting urban service providers to produce tangible documents and data sets that are “proof” of sound financial governance. The LIDS team will supplement these efforts by examining fiscal transparency and accountability at a policy level. Specifically, they will first identify top cities in the world for fiscal policy and research their legislation and policy reforms. They will then develop a framework that can be used as a guideline for constructing excellent fiscal reforms in India. Finally, the LIDS team will analyze key legislation in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Surat, highlighting deficiencies and good practices and outlining recommendations for reforms that will make the cities’ financial systems more robust, open, and accountable.

5. Namati, Mapping State Recognition of Community Paralegals Worldwide

Namati works to put the law in people’s hands. Through its global network, Namati is building a movement of grassroots legal advocates who help communities to exercise their rights. In many countries, these legal advocates, also known as community paralegals, are far more accessible, affordable, and effective than lawyers. Paralegals use their training in basic law to pursue creative, practical solutions to everyday justice problems, from stopping a schoolmaster from beating students to persuading the water authority to repair a well. But in countries where paralegals are not formally recognized as service providers, their legitimacy is often questioned, their efforts resisted, and their wellbeing threatened.

To address this problem, legal empowerment advocates around the world are pushing for legal aid reforms that take a holistic approach to legal services—one that recognizes the work of community paralegals.  Promisingly, a number of countries have passed legal aid legislation that acknowledges a role for non-lawyers in the provision of justice services. Hundreds of members in Namati’s Global Legal Empowerment Network are now advocating for similar reforms within their respective countries. The LIDS team will inform these efforts by researching which countries have paralegal-friendly laws or regulations, how legal aid systems that provide a role for paralegals are constructed, and the experience of implementing these systems on the ground, from the perspective of both civil society and government actors. This work will fill an urgent need and will be an invaluable resource to practitioners in Namati’s network who are actively advocating for such reforms in various developing countries.

NOTE: Students proficient in languages other than English are particularly encouraged to apply.

6. Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), Justice Sector Reform in Post-Conflict Societies 

Justice sector reform poses a major challenge for countries emerging from conflict and transitioning to democracy. PILPG seeks a report advising such countries on best practices in reforming state-administered prison systems and best practices in transitioning prisons from non-state actors to the state. This includes addressing pressing issues such as the treatment of extrajudicial detainees and mechanisms for monitoring human rights compliance by prison staff. There will also be an emphasis on how post-conflict considerations effect prison reform. Case studies will be global, but with an emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa region.

7. Qorax Energy, Renewable Energy Business Development in Frontier Markets

Qorax Energy is a renewable energy social impact firm currently focused on bringing international power engineering expertise to the Somaliland electricity market. Qorax is poised to rapidly expand their operations, but first they want to ensure that they have the ideal legal structure to ensure optimal capital movement between countries and entities. Qorax currently comprises two separate entities: (1) a renewable energy engineering & micro-entrepreneurship training center, a joint venture with a Somaliland university run as a subsidiary of a U.S.-based non-profit (Qorax Foundation) and (2) a for-profit private company intended to attract capital for the training center’s micro-entrepreneurs and, potentially, larger infrastructure projects to be taken on by core team members.  This team will provide advice in defining the legal scope and shape of these two organizations, with a focus on the types of investments and donations they would be attracting in the context of a frontier market.  They would also like to know what kinds of cross interactions of ownership stakes and management are permitted between the two entities.

8. World Resources Institute (WRI), Compulsory Land Acquisition Laws

Land laws, including compulsory land acquisition laws, are currently undergoing reform around the world. WRI’s Land and Resource Rights project and The Access Initiative are launching new research on compulsory land acquisition, or eminent domain, to identify best practices and inform the development of new laws. For example, these laws should balance the state’s need to protect private property with its need to acquire land for public purposes. The LIDS team will assist these efforts by conducting an assessment of compulsory land acquisition laws, engaging in comparative research on their findings, identifying best practices, and developing a set of policy recommendations for reforms of compulsory land acquisition laws. The research will likely focus on three critical components of compulsory land acquisition: 1) the justification for using compulsory land acquisition; 2) the procedures for exercising this authority; and 3) the compensation provided for property losses. The findings will be part of a broader movement to strengthen community land rights and improve government accountability in the exercise of eminent domain.

NOTE: Students proficient in Spanish, French, and Portuguese are particularly encouraged to apply. Students with Arabic and Chinese language skills would also be able to make a valuable contribution to the team.

 

FALL 2013 PROJECTS

1. African Capacity Building Centre (ACBC), The Legal Framework for Humanitarian Border Management

ACBC is a pan-African training institution run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), based in Moshi, Tanzania that has so far assisted over 40 African states in building their immigration and border management capacities. Currently, IOM is piloting trainings for immigration and border police officers in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a new area called humanitarian border management (HBM). Practically, HBM activities aim to improve humanitarian preparedness and responses to protect those who cross borders in emergencies as well as to assure the continued maintenance of border security affected by migration crisis. Once the courses are finalized, they will become part of ACBC’s training portfolio and will be taught to immigration and border management personnel in DRC and eventually other countries prone to conflict or natural disasters that trigger cross-border population movements. Students will investigate the legal framework for HBM by conducting a detailed analysis of relevant human rights conventions to determine which provisions are most relevant and thus should be taught to and understood by frontline immigration and border police officers. They will also consider the overarching framework of state responsibility and obligation to protect nationals and, in particular, non-nationals within their territory. Their analysis will then be directly incorporated into the training curriculum.

2. Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), Waqf—An Islamic Property Institution in the MENA Region

The Arab Spring offers an unprecedented opportunity to integrate the majority of citizens in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) currently excluded from the rule of law and the formal economy. This majority today is more willing than ever to join a formal economic system, but they are checked by a variety of obstacles. In its research into the region, ILD has come across the waqf property institution in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco. This form of property is limited to certain types of philanthropy, is held in perpetuity, and is not susceptible to adverse possession procedures. In short, the characteristics of this institution limit the economic use of this kind of property. The waqf institution is primarily located in rural areas, and in some cases comprises a large percentage of farmland in a country, thereby limiting investment in this sector, especially since it cannot be used as collateral for credit. Students will analyze the institution of waqf in several MENA countries, including its legal and economic implications and how the institution operates in the legal system of the selected countries. The students will also verify the effect of this institution on property, and if there is any common practice (legal or social) to avoid the consequences once property is under this kind of regime.

3. Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), The Effect of Corruption in the Asylum System

Corruption can be a very serious obstacle to asylum seekers and refugees who try to access services at refugee offices in some countries. For example, they can face requests for bribes from security guards in order to even gain access to the office or requests for bribes in order to receive certain permits, such as a renewal of a permit. LHR is committed to taking some active and practical measures to enable their clients to receive services that are not plagued by these corrupt practices. Students will assist LHR in these efforts by drafting a policy paper on the effect of corruption in the asylum system and how this acts as a barrier for the protection of asylum seekers and refugees. The paper will include comparative studies of corruption and mechanisms developed to tackle corruption in selected jurisdictions around the world. It will also highlight strategies that have been unsuccessful in addressing this problem.

4. Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), Managing Spoilers in Constitution Drafting

As one of PILPG’s clients embarks on state building, transitional justice, and constitution drafting, there is a high likelihood of rogue actors involving themselves in these processes in an attempt to derail, undermine, or influence state progress. Individuals and groups with the potential to act as spoilers include armed actors not traditionally involved in the political process. These elements seek to act outside of democratic channels to promote their interests. As the constitution-drafting process commences, it will very likely face opposition from these or other elements that could slow or potentially deadlock the drafting process. Political issues that could potentially provoke spoiler involvement include future state structure, government structure, the relationship between religion and the state, women’s rights, protection of ethnic minorities, and the distribution of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Students will research management strategies for dealing with spoilers in post-conflict situations, with a focus on managing spoilers during legislative or constitutional drafting processes. A particular emphasis will be placed on examining strategies employed by other post-conflict states for dealing with the challenges likely to be faced in the client country.

5. New Markets Lab (NML), Obstacles Facing Women Entrepreneurs in African Agriculture

NML, formerly TransFarm Africa (TFA, now an initiative of NML), is a nonprofit organization dedicated to unlocking economic potential through legal and regulatory reform, as a driver of sustainable development. NML works with partners to better map and address legal and regulatory challenges in all aspects of the market—improving access to land, finance, inputs, services, and markets through targeted tools and interventions. NML develops, tests, documents, and ultimately teaches the opportunity-driven methodology that bridges entrepreneurial opportunity at the grassroots level with the law and policymaking process. Students will conduct research for the NML regarding the legal and regulatory barriers facing women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan African agriculture. All stages of the agricultural value chain demand individual attention, because the lack of access to one component—for example, land or seeds—ultimately limits control of the final product and any profits. This project will offer students a unique opportunity to research crosscutting issues in international development, at the intersection of two essential Millennium Development Goals: gender equality and food security.

6. South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), Transformation of SPBD Samoa from NBFI to Commercial Bank Status 

SPBD is a network of Microfinance Institutions working in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and the Solomon Islands. Its mission is to eradicate poverty by empowering women in poor rural villages with the opportunity to start, grow and maintain sustainable, income generating micro-enterprises, build assets, and finance home improvements and childhood education. It provides clients with a range of training, financial services and ongoing motivation so that they can climb permanently out of poverty. SPBD Samoa was first established as a NGO in 2000 and became a non-bank financial institution (NBFI) in 2010. Students will be involved in helping SPBD Samoa complete its next transition into a commercial bank. They will research the requirements necessary to become a commercial bank in Samoa. Additionally, the team will look at the benefits of such a transformation and the regulatory hurdles that must be met. They will also conduct a comparative analysis by examining other microfinance banks that have made this transformation.

7. Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment, Analyzing Land Deal Contracts

Investments in land and agriculture can be a springboard for development—or a source of corruption, social degradation, human rights violations, and environmental destruction. The increasing numbers of large-scale land acquisitions, sometimes known as “land deals” or “land grabs,” will affect sustainable development strategies for decades to come. These land deals are notoriously opaque, and contracts are rarely publicly available. The failure to disclose deal information and contract terms can harm all parties involved—from host governments to communities to investors. Currently there is no existing online resource that collates and analyzes the limited land deal contracts that are publicly available. This is a missed opportunity, as an online repository of land contracts that explains the legal and fiscal terms and enables easy comparisons between contracts would assist a range of interested actors. Such a database would provide useful information to host governments negotiating with investors, to community members pushing for better outcomes and greater accountability, and to global advocates and development practitioners concerned about increased commercial pressures on land. Students will provide crucial and timely support to a groundbreaking effort to compile and analyze land deal contracts in an online, searchable, and user-friendly database. The LIDS team will also write a complementary memo analyzing the sustainable development implications of the set of examined contracts.

8. White Paper with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD)

Comparative Study of Inclusion in Early Childhood Education (under the direction of Professor Alford and Dr. Cui Fengming) HPOD’s work includes advising governments, disabled persons organizations, and other actors in Asia on legal and policy issues related to inclusion in early childhood education. LIDS students are invited to assist HPOD by researching best practices, especially (but not exclusively) in developing nations on three interrelated topics. They are: (1) the legal, economic and social rationale for inclusive early education; (2) the rights and roles of parents of children with disabilities in determining their schooling; and (3) how responsibilities for early childhood education are divided between state and society, and, within governments, between various entities. For each topic, students will be asked to identify, research and write about particularly useful examples in order to provide HPOD with a comparative perspective that can inform its work.

 

SPRING 2013 PROJECTS

1.  Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), Water Rights and Conflict Resolution
Team leaders: Kelsey Bagot and Julian Hill.

ILD, based in Lima, Peru, researches, designs and implements strategies and projects for business formalization and institutional reform. In 2009, there were massive riots in Bagua in the Peruvian Amazon, stemming from the lack of property rights and economic exclusion of the native peoples. There are currently over 250 social conflicts in Peru and the legal tools for development are still out of reach for indigenous communities. Chief among these conflicts is water, water use rights, and the weak institutional frameworks for water management. LIDS students will conduct comparative research on water management and conflict mitigation to identify how strong institutional frameworks for water management can help resolve and avoid conflict, focusing on local decision-making and best practices. Students will create a set of recommendations for an inclusive legal framework for water management that would permit a reduction of social conflicts and create opportunities for indigenous people to protect their territories from environmental degradation.

2.  Instituto Alana and ANDI, Public Health and Food Advertising to Children
Team Leaders: Maria Parra-Orlandoni and Edgardo Perez.

ANDI, a news agency for children’s rights, is one of the leading NGOs in Latin America working at the intersection of media and development. Together with Instituto Alana, these organizations are addressing serious public health issues central to development. The Children and Consumerism project promotes critical awareness about product and services consumption practices by children and teenagers in Brazilian society. LIDS students will work with this organization to analyze food marketing to children, focusing on regulating advertising to children for foods with high levels of salt, fats and sugars, and beverages with low nutritional content. Students will conduct comparative research to examine the self-regulation initiatives as compared to government regulation initiatives in an effort to identify the most effective policies for addressing Brazil’s nutritional issues and obesity epidemic that affects 15-30% of the children in Brazil. This work will cause a significant impact on the quality of life for today’s children and for future generations.

3.  Millennium Challenge Corporation, Methodology for Legal System Impact Evaluation
Team Leaders: Rachel May and Nachama Rosen.

Since 2005, MCC has assisted land tenure reform projects in 12 nations, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.  All projects have had the goal of strengthening landholding rights of small farmers or poor urban households.  Several of the projects have made physical and operational improvements to registry offices, trained their staff, and assisted the governments to draft and adopt new laws, regulations and policy declarations.  Each project has anticipated that these actions would provide landholders with more secure tenure and would encourage and enable them to engage in transactions, invest, seek credit, increase productive use of their land and improve their living conditions.  To gauge the true impact that these reforms have had, MCC is engaging Orrick and LIDS to develop a methodology for monitoring and evaluation to see if the benefits are, in fact, being realized.  This will involve developing a method of legal system impact evaluation for the activities of land reform legislation, regulation and policy, land tenure “formalization,” and land registry improvements for 3 specific countries, and extracting general learnings for evaluating other legal land tenure reforms.

4.  Nanubhai Education Foundation, Legal Analysis of India’s Right to Education Act
Team Leaders: Amy Kabaria and Aditi Singh.

The primary mission of Nanubhai Education Foundation is to improve the quality of English language instruction in rural primary schools in India by empowering teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively teach in challenging, low-resource environments.  To develop a plan for its future growth, it is imperative that the Foundation understand the impact of India’s Right To Education Act (RTE), 2009, particularly on teacher training, teacher certification, and any other aspects of the law related to its mission.  Students will focus on preparing a policy analysis of how this new law impacts all stakeholders in the educational field in India, specifically teachers, teacher training institutes, government schools and NGOs.

5.  Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), Freedom of Information
Team Leaders: Sofia Klot Betancort and Juan Carlos Portilla.

The Open Society Justice Initiative uses law to protect and empower people around the world. Silence and secrecy are two of the most powerful tools that governments can employ to mute critics and cloak their actions from public scrutiny. The Freedom of Information/Expression program works to uphold the right to speak and to know in order to support public involvement in government and accountability, and to challenge corruption and human rights abuses. OSJI has developed a website to promote FOI advocacy as a resource for lawyers and law-makers around the world (1) by providing access to best practices in law from varied jurisdictions, and (2) by sharing successful campaign and litigation strategies. LIDS students will collect and prepare summaries of cases from around the world on the right to information. These reports will be published on right2info.org for use by practitioners internationally.

6.  TransFarm Africa, Mapping Trade Opportunities for the Agricultural Sector
Team Leaders: Elizabeth Floyd and Stephen Huie.

African agriculture holds great untapped development potential, and entrepreneurs from Africa and around the world are increasingly flocking to opportunities in the African agricultural sector.  Yet, the legal and regulatory environment in Africa is notoriously complex and can sometime present insurmountable barriers for these entrepreneurs.  TransFarm Africa, in collaboration with Dr. Cesar Hidalgo of the Media Lab at MIT and Harvard Kennedy School and creator of the “Product Space” methodology, is helping to develop the “Policy Space,” an interactive data visualization tool meant to make the policy environment facing different industries in different countries more transparent and easier to navigate for entrepreneurs on the ground.  As a first step in designing the Policy Space tool, LIDS will support TFA to identify and map nascent opportunities for a handful of products in the Tanzania and Rwanda agricultural sectors and the relevant laws, regulations and policies impacting them.  More specifically, students will be conducting research and fact finding on trade laws, investment regulations and product-specific certification, registration and safety standards for a number of specific agricultural products.

7.  Vale Columbia Center, Evaluating “Strings” Attached to Foreign Direct Investment
Team Leaders: Themi Asthenidis and Sam Smolkin.

Many countries – developed and developing – have used performance requirements as a tool to maximize the potential benefits of foreign direct investment (FDI).  Governments can impose performance requirements on multinational enterprises (MNEs) as a mandatory condition for establishing an investment, or can impose the requirements as a condition for the MNEs’ receipt of an advantage such as a tax break; and they do so in order to further a variety of development objectives. Although performance requirements have been shown to be important tools for countries to advance their sustainable development goals, not all such measures are equally successful.  And some have even been shown to have the perverse effect of frustrating development goals.  This project seeks to address that issue by using research and interviews to produce a paper on the types of performance requirements, specifically to facilitate technology transfers, which countries may want to use (or avoid using) in order to fully reap the benefits from investments by MNEs.

 

FALL 2012 PROJECTS

1.   Center for Civil Society, Reforming Bamboo Policy in India

The Planning Commission of India estimates that bamboo could provide employment to nearly 50 million people, particularly the poorest forest-dependent communities.  However, bamboo, which is scientifically recognized as a grass, is classified as a tree in India, and is therefore regulated by legislation banning its harvesting.  Center for Civil Society (CCS) has been advocating for reforming the bamboo policy for years and is seeking to investigate the legal status of court pronouncements, allied laws, and ministerial declaration on bamboo in order to take the campaign into Parliament and secure changes including amendments to the current law.  LIDS students would research the current legal status of bamboo in the country, conduct comparative research, and suggest key amendments to current legislation.  Findings will be summarized in a policy memorandum.

2.   Equal Education Law Centre, Increasing Accountability, Transparency and Quality in South Africa’s Education System

Education districts in South Africa are the main local vehicle for monitoring the education of students and supporting local schools.  Yet, these local offices suffer from substantial shortcomings and challenges, many of which can be traced back to the lack of a clear policy framework setting out the roles and responsibilities of district offices and their officials.  In exploring ways in which litigation can be used to increase accountability, transparency and ultimately quality in South Africa’s education system, Equal Education Law Centre seeks to understand international best practices of how various government bodies have used local offices to monitor and provide support to individual schools, as well as communicate and respond to concerns expressed by the surround school communities.  Students will conduct research on best practices at the district-level to increase accountability and transparency of education delivery and will develop a draft policy proposal to regulate school districts.

3.   Legal Resources Centre, Empowering Communities to Assert Their Own Development Path

LRC is supporting the Working Group on Extractive Industries established by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.  The Working Group is tasked with, among other things, examining the impact of extractive industries in Africa within the context of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.  In recent years, there has been an overwhelming tide of large-scale investment by extractive industries, which has resulted at times in the displacement of communities, among other negative aspects, in the name of development of the nation as a whole.  This project seeks to answer the question: How can rural and customary communities in Africa (constituting roughly 70% of land space on the continent) resist large scale investment and land grabbing in the name of the development to assert their own path of development?  Research will involve a textual analysis of the African charter, assessment of relevant jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and analysis of legal frameworks of selected countries.  Findings will be incorporated into the report of the Working Group to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

4.   Open Society Justice Initiative, Freedom of Information Comparative Research

OSJI is working on developing Global Principles of Freedom of Information (FOI) related to national security.  As part of this effort it would like to understand the current state of FOI law on an international level.  To help in this endeavor, students will collect, categorize and record FOI law from as many countries as possible, and draft a report on the foundational state of right to information law in various countries.  The final product will be a memo analyzing the state of FOI law internationally as compared to the principles being proposed by OSJI.

5.   Public International Law and Policy Group, Economic Reconstruction and Development

Post-conflict states have a variety of tools at their disposal to restructure their economy and foster development, which they implement by setting up a legal framework including both constitutional and legislative provisions. Relevant considerations in developing such constitutional and legislative provisions include the adoption of an economic model as well as economic development goals; establishing economic rights and freedoms; and establishing a state’s right to be an economic actor by retaining authority to regulate and control the economy.  Students will write a memorandum analyzing these core elements of state constitutional and legislative practice with regard to economic reconstruction and development.  Research will be conducted on various states and their practices to inform the process for PILPG’s client- a transitional government in North Africa.

6.   TransFarm Africa, Mapping the Legal and Regulatory Environment for Products of Potential in East Africa

African agriculture holds great untapped development potential, and entrepreneurs from Africa and around the world are increasingly flocking to opportunities in the African agricultural sector.  Yet, the legal and regulatory environment in Africa is notoriously complex and can sometime present insurmountable barriers for these entrepreneurs.  TransFarm Africa, in collaboration with Dr. Cesar Hidalgo of the Media Lab at MIT and Harvard Kennedy School and creator of the “Product Space” methodology, is helping to develop the “Policy Space,” an interactive data visualization tool meant to make the policy environment facing different industries in different countries more transparent and easier to navigate for entrepreneurs on the ground.  As a first step in designing the Policy Space tool, LIDS will support TFA to identify and map nascent opportunities for a handful of products in the Tanzania and Rwanda agricultural sectors and the relevant laws, regulations and policies impacting them.  More specifically, students will be conducting research and fact finding on trade laws, investment regulations and product-specific certification, registration and safety standards for a number of specific agricultural products.

7.    Vale Columbia Center, Performance Requirements Facilitating Technology Transfer

Many countries – developed and developing – have used performance requirements as a tool to maximize the potential benefits of foreign direct investment (FDI).  Governments can impose performance requirements on multinational enterprises (MNEs) as a mandatory condition for establishing an investment, or can impose the requirements as a condition for the MNEs’ receipt of an advantage such as a tax break; and they do so in order to further a variety of development objectives. Although performance requirements have shown to be important tools for countries to advance their sustainable development goals, not all such measures are equally successful.  And some have even been shown to have the perverse effect of frustrating development goals.  This project seeks to address that issue by using research and interviews to produce a paper on the types of performance requirements, specifically to facilitate technology transfers, which countries may want to use (or avoid using) in order to fully reap the benefits from investments by MNEs.

8.   Vaxess Silk Innovation, Comparative Study of Regulatory Frameworks for Vaccines

The LIDS team will be doing research for Vaxess Technologies. Vaxess is working to commercialize a patented Tufts University platform technology to stabilize vaccines in silk-based materials so that no longer need refrigeration. Students from Harvard’s Business School, Law School, Kennedy School, and School of Engineering and Applied Science have incorporated Vaxess to take this innovation to market with the aim of making silk-stabilized vaccines widely accessible, especially in developing countries. The LIDS team will add to their efforts by providing Vaxess and Tufts with an overview of the different regulatory frameworks under which they need to seek approval before the product can enter the market.

9.  White Paper on Corruption, Developing a Private Right of Action

The White Paper Model is a new addition to LIDS this year. It will involve researching broader development-related issues and using this research to write white papers that we will publish on our website. This year, LIDS would like to develop a white paper on corruption.  The specific topic will involve developing a private right of action to allow individuals who have been harmed by corruption to bring suits in a court of law.

 

SPRING 2012 PROJECTS

1. World Bank International Corruption Hunter’s Alliance: Compilation of Case Studies of Whistleblowing Laws and Corruption Complaint Mechanisms

2. TransFarm Africa: African Regional Trade Agreements and the Agricultural Sector

 

FALL 2011 PROJECTS

1.   Pensamiento y Acción Social – PAS, and Arbeitsgruppe Scheiwz-Kolumbien – ASK!
This project will research voluntary business principles, codes of conduct and International Law applicable to extractive industry in general, and mining companies in particular. The objective of this project will be to help ASK and Pas to engage in legal actions with mining companies in Colombia to ensure that such companies adopt practices that are respectful of human rights and environmental issues.

2.  Landesa

Landesa (previously Rural Development Institute) has operated in almost 50 countries to work with local governments to advance land tenure rights for the rural poor. It currently has offices in the United States, China, India and Russia with over 100 staff members working around the globe. The LIDS team will conduct a comparative study on the best practices and policies of progressive land titling practices for women in five different countries in South East Asia. The study will focus on the legal and regulatory framework for women’s property right, including marital property rights and land registration rights.

3.   Solar Sister

The LIDS team will assist Solar Sister, a US-based NGO that works on female empowerment, by conducting research and provide analysis of alternative legal structures for Solar Sister, including non-profit, for-profit, and alternative structures such as hybrid, B Corp and L3C options.

4.   TransFarm Africa

The LIDS team will prepare a memo for  a non-profit organization based at the Aspen Institute in DC on how to expand the sugar industry in East Africa. More specifically, the team will conduct research on national and international law, relevant regional agreements (like COMESA), conduct a policy analysis of regulatory regimes governing sugar production in East Africa and trade in sugar among countries in the region, and the current trade regimes in the US and the EU.

5.   Revenue Watch Institute

The LIDS team will classify different types of licensing regimes employed in the oil sector in a select group of countries. By doing so, they assist RWI to explore whether particular types of licensing regimes correlate with higher returns or more favorable fiscal regimes over time.

6.   Sanergy

The LIDS team would prepare a comprehensive analysis of land rights problems and solutions in urban slums in five developing countries.  This work will help Sanergy to better advise micro-entrepreneurs in Nairobi, Kenya on how to secure land and sustained rights in the slums of Kenya.

7.   Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG)

The LIDS team will help PILPG to assist clients in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in considering options, opportunities, and potential frameworks for constitutional reform by preparing a memo on European Union standards for state regulation of agriculture.

8.   International Institute for Sustainable Development

The LIDS team will research to find and catalogue investment contracts between mining companies and governments of developing countries.  The goal is to establish a publicly accessible database of such contracts that IISD will manage and maintain in order to improve governmental and public awareness of such contracts and their contents.

 

SPRING 2011 PROJECTS

1. Public International Law & Policy Group: Kenya Decentralization Best Practices

Following the approval of the new constitution on August 4, 2010, Kenya has been moving toward the decentralization of power from the central level to county governments. PILPG is advising Kenyan government officials, policymakers, and reform institutions on decentralization practices on three levels: political, administrative and fiscal. To help in this process, PILPG requests a memorandum which outlines best practices in decentralization and describes the specific legislation put in place to achieve this best practice.

2. Public International Law & Policy Group: Transitioning from unitary to federal governance structures in Nepal

PILPG advised Nepalese officials regarding a transition towards federal government. LIDS produced a memorandum that chronicles how other states have managed that transition. PILPG requested information regarding initiating, coordinating, and overseeing the shift; processes for devolving power; and sources of conflict or tension associated with the transition.

3. Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food: The adequacy dimension of the Right to Food 

LIDS will assist the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Oliver de Schutter, with research for his upcoming bi-annual report on the adequacy dimension of the human right to food and the impact inadequate diets have on non-communicable diseases. The research will be comprised of two sections, part one discussing the role of the private sector in influencing people’s diets, and part two focusing on policies states could adopt to combat the spread of non-communicable, diet-related diseases. The final product will be presented as a well-referenced background note, with a total length of 20,000 – 25,000 words.

4. Sirona Cares: Haiti Biofuel Farming and Rural Electricity Project

Sirona Cares is a 501(c)(3) non-profit seeking to establish a fuel company in Haiti. Sirona has proposed that LIDS develop a brief that describes the types of companies that can be established in Haiti including limited liabilities and limited partnerships. Sirona needs information on the differences between American entities of this type and those in Haiti; specifically differences in taxes, management structure and corporate governance.

5. Development Alternatives, Inc.: Analysis of Jordan’s International Tax Law Treaties 

Since 2009, DAI has been implementing the Jordan Fiscal Reform II Project, a five-year program of technical assistance funded by USAID. As a component of this project, DAI is providing the Jordanian Ministry of Finance with tax policy advice to prepare amendments to the legal framework–both laws and regulation–to foster more efficient and equitable taxation. Included in this realm is the assortment of tax treaties to which the Government of Jordan is a signatory. In this project, LIDS will assist DAI by reviewing, analyzing, and recommending improvements to Jordan’s existing tax treaties, particularly in view of international best practices for treaty design and drafting.

6. Endeavor Global: Emerging Market Investment Term Sheet Analysis

Endeavor is the global nonprofit that pioneered the concept of High-Impact Entrepreneurship in emerging markets, supporting and mentoring 540 local High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 349 developing country companies to date. In order to improve access to capital for emerging market entrepreneurs, Endeavor would like to partner with LIDS to compare key term sheet provisions and analyze key trends from deals executed by leading emerging market investors. Lack of knowledge on practices related to term sheet structure and components is an important road block preventing firms from investing in local emerging market companies. The analysis will enable Endeavor and its partner organizations, including the Latin American Venture Capital Association and the Kauffman Fellows Program, to identify and address common practices that may be slowing down the development of growth capital investing in emerging market countries.

7. Institute for Liberty & Democracy: Government policies for adjudicating arable land: A comparative analysis in five developing countries

A LIDS project team will analyze and the ways in which 5 developing countries are dealing with the pressure exerted by governments and other public or private actors to obtain large tracts of arable land in their territories. In particular, the team will examine examine how their legal frameworks deal with, for instance, the allocation, registration and titling, and protection of land rights, and the creation of investment incentives for land acquisitions. The legal framework should be assessed in terms of meeting the expected economic and social benefits that these transactions are supposed to bring about, such as poverty reduction, unemployment, environmental protection, and food security.

8. Qatar Charity / Applied Research Institute : The Right to Water in Palestine 

Qatar Charity is an international NGO that was established in 1992 to build human dignity in the most needy communities around the world. ARIJ is a national research institute based in Jerusalem, formed in 1991, that provides data and research for position papers and policy strategies in Palestine. These two groups have joined together to ask LIDS to draft a research paper on the legal framework related to water distribution in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In this project, the LIDS team will analyze international human rights law and other international treaties in the context of the right to water in Palestine.

9. International Organization for Migration: Protection of Minorities in Iraq 

The IOM Iraq Mission was established in January 2003 in response to overwhelming humanitarian need following the collapse of the former regime. In this project, LIDS will work with the mission’s Integrated Capacity Building Program to produce a report that will analyze the problems faced by minorities in Iraq, with specific attention paid to the legal framework available for the protection of minorities. In specific, the team will review norms, regulatory frameworks, proposed law and regulations, and signed conventions that exist in Iraq related to the protection of minority ethnic and religious groups.

 

FALL 2010 PROJECTS

1. Root Capital: Arbitration in Loan Provisions and Applicable Law

Root Capital, a non-profit social investment fund, works with small businesses in developing countries to provide capital, financial education, and networking opportunities. This project will follow up LIDS’ spring 2010 analysis of the benefits of arbitration in loan arrangements with small-scale cooperatives in the developing world. Root Capital has asked LIDS to look into the appropriate applicable law for its arbitration provisions in loans made in Latin American and Africa. This team will also evaluate the different commercial arbitral forums available for resolving such disputes and recommend which forum Root Capital should use.

2. Root Capital: Arbitration Locations and Language

This project will also follow up LIDS’ spring 2009 analysis of the benefits of arbitration in loan arrangements with small-scale cooperatives in the developing world. Root Capital has asked LIDS to determine the effects of language and location on the outcomes of arbitrations involving borrowers and lenders, and make recommendations regarding which language to conduct the arbitrations arising out of disputes from its loans in, as well as where those proceedings should take place. This team will also evaluate the desirability of including an arbitration provision in loan documents in countries that are not parties to the New York Convention or the Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa.

3. International Organization for Migration: Methodology for Evaluation of Iraq Land Claims Program

IOM is the principal intergovernmental organization in the field of migration. IOM provides services and advice to governments to facilitate orderly and humane migration. IOM has a contract with USAID to facilitate the Iraqi Government’s Property Claims Commission (IPCC), which is a government agency charged with resolving real property claims in the post-conflict situation. LIDS will be working with the IOM’s Iraq mission to assist them in developing a methodology to evaluate the success (or lack thereof) of the Iraq Land Claims Program and the success of a post-conflict land restitution program and administrative process, in general. If time permits, the team may also begin to prepare materials to carry out the actual field evaluation.

4. International Relief & Development: Evaluation of Land Rights in Afghanistan

IRD is a leading international development contractor that works in 40 countries throughout the world, providing $500 million a year in development assistance. IRD plans to begin a project related to land tenure and real estate in Afghanistan. LIDS will assist IRD to lay the groundwork for its project by looking at the current state of land rights in Afghanistan, the Afghan government’s ability to promote land use and development, and provide its opinion on the shortcomings on the Afghan government’s efforts as well as the economic effects of ineffectual land rights.

5. Public International Law and Policy Group: Assistance of Decentralization in Kenya

Following the approval of a new Constitution for Kenya by referendum on August 4, 2010, PILPG will assist in the design and enactment of legislation which will facilitate the transfer of powers from the national government to county governments. The LIDS team will support PILPG in this work by producing a research memorandum focusing on the purpose of restitution programs and theoretical background in post- conflict reconstruction and develop objective criteria by which to evaluate the success of a post-conflict land restitution program and administrative process.

6. Institute for Liberty & Democracy: Political and Economic Participation of Indigenous Peoples

LIDS will prepare a report for the ILD, a leading research institute located in Lima, Peru specializing in institutional reform, focusing on the comparative experience of governments throughout the world in promoting political and economic participation of indigenous peoples. This report will focus on both the legal and policy strategies employed by no less than five countries (including Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala, Sweden/Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Mali/Niger and India). The team will also critically evaluate and compare the policies researched.

7. American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative: Incorporation of Climate Change into Environmental Litigation and Advocacy in Asia

ABA-ROLI is a public service project of the American Bar Association dedicated to promoting the rule of law around the world. Currently, ABA-ROLI is exploring legal issues related to climate change in several geographic regions, including strategies that lawyers can use to incorporate climate change into their litigation and advocacy efforts on the national, regional, and international levels. To date, such efforts have included local environmental issues such as pollution and natural resource depletion, but have generally not focused on climate change. The role of the LIDS team will be to research and draft a memo that describes major issues related to climate change and legal avenues that environmental lawyers in several regions could use to leverage climate change issues in their litigation and advocacy efforts.

 

SPRING 2010 PROJECTS

1. TechnoServe, Tanzania: Horticulture Policy

TechnoServe’s office in Dar es Salaam won a sizable grant from USAID to increase the livelihoods of farmers in various horticultural sub-sectors: avocados, fresh fruits, tomatoes, etc. The Country Director asked LIDS to put together a small team of students dedicated to understanding the relevant issues and prescribing a policy framework for the relevant horticultural sectors that TechnoServe could then propose to the government. The purpose of this project was to help TechnoServe’s Tanzanian office develop a perspective on the types of public policy needed from the government to support TechnoServe’s efforts in the horticultural (fresh fruit and veg.) sector.

2. Liberian Ministry of Justice: Policy Development on Probation and Parole

This team worked directly with the Liberian Ministry of Justice, collaborating with a local Liberian lawyer and an American legal fellow on the development of a draft policy to amend and enforce national legislation on probation and parole. The team assessed the existing national legislation governing probation and parole, and conducted a comparative analysis of the effectiveness, context and constraints of regional probation and parole systems in Anglophone African countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. The final work product consisted of a concept paper/draft policy that the Justice Minister could use for pitching the probation and parole policy, and comparative research on other probation/parole systems.

3. Root Capital: Research into Arbitration and Litigation Mechanisms

Root Capital, a non-profit social investment fund, works with small businesses in developing countries to provide capital, financial education, and networking opportunities. In response to these enforceability concerns, Root Capital is considering the use of international arbitration as an alternative to litigation. This team worked to research countries regarding their various arbitration and litigation mechanisms and to provide recommendations on arbitration locations and institutions for each country.

4. International Rescue Committee, Thailand: Research on Program Models for Mobile Legal Clinics and Paralegal Networks

While most refugee dialogue in Thailand focuses on the 150,000 refugees in the border camps, there are up to 3 million Burmese in Thailand in urban and often remote rural areas.  It is estimated that about 50% of them may have a legitimate claim to asylum.  Most have currently no legal status in Thailand, have trouble accessing services, and are extremely vulnerable to various forms of abuse and exploitation, enjoying little or no protection from the law. IRC-Thailand is looking to develop a model to provide legal assistance programming in the refugee/migrant community outside of the camps. LIDS researched Legal Assistance Models for assistance and access to justice in urban/semi-urban settings and in situations similar to Thailand, e.g. Kenya, Ecuador, etc. and drafted a memo with regards to the specific jurisdictions and programs researched and recommendations for the situation in Thailand.

5. International Rescue Committee, Thailand: Research on the Effective Measurement of Access to Justice Interventions

The IRC has been implementing an Access to Justice project (“Legal Assistance Centers” – LAC) for Burmese refugees in three camp sites in Thailand since 2006. The Legal Assistance Center project strategically focuses on improving access to justice and protection of refugees by developing the capacity of the refugee camp leadership and justice system to resolve civil and less serious criminal issues equitably; engaging Royal Thai Government (RTG) authorities on refugee justice issues; and developing the legal knowledge of the community. Throughout this project, it has been necessary to develop tools for the effective measurement of the impact of these kinds of ‘access to justice’ projects and others of similar nature, and IRC requested that LIDS research Effective Measurement of Impact of access to justice interventions and draft a memo with its findings and conclusions based on research regarding methods for measuring impacts of access to justice interventions.

6. Nuru International: Contract Development

This team continued to work with Nuru International, a non-profit organization that conducts community development work in Kuria, Kenya.  The team developed model contracts, using a base contract that another LIDS team developed in Fall 2009, that Nuru will be able to utilize in developing partnerships with other development organizations.  This team built on the work of the previous LIDS team to continue researching national and international norms and regulations that govern these agreements and developed additional model contracts to be used in future negotiations.

 

FALL 2009 PROJECTS

1. Nuru International: Contract Agreement Drafting

This team worked closely with Nuru International staff to develop contracts to formalize the current agreements Nuru has with other partner organizations who conduct a variety of development projects in Kuria, Kenya. The team researched best practices in contract drafting as well as national and international norms and regulations that govern these agreements. Deliverables for this project included draft contracts for each of the existing partnerships as well as a framework agreement for the organization to use in future negotiations.

2. Nuru International: Farm-Program Evaluation

LIDS conducted both an evaluation of the current Nuru farm savings and loan program as well as researched existing best practices and regulations related to regional and village banking systems in the developing world. In addition to providing a thorough evaluation, the team drafted recommendations for Nuru as they consider transitioning the current program into a village bank for the community in Kuria, Kenya.

3. Technoserve Tanzania: Global Policy-Change Approach

This team worked to develop a global framework that Technoserve offices around the world will be able to use to implement and pursue policy change. The team researched and evaluated approaches taken by other policy and legal NGOs and developed an approach with recommendations for grassroots organization and top-down lobbying.

4. Technoserve Tanzania: Cocoa Policy Reforms

The purpose of this proposed project was to assess the policy environment in the Tanzanian cocoa sector and explore opportunities to change it, with a view to improving the viability of the cocoa sector for smallholder farmers. Working remotely from the United States, the LIDS team provided TechnoServe Tanzania with in-depth legal and policy analysis of the issues relevant to the cocoa sector, including: surveying the policy regimes governing the production, planting, grading, harvesting, handling, storage and sale of cocoa in countries around the world, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. This project involved research on regulatory regimes and significant economic/business analysis of different regulatory models.

5. Advocates for International Development: Legal Aid Provision Research

A4ID is working to create a comprehensive manual that provides information about the status of legal aid provision in developing countries around the world. This team worked to report on a number of countries in order to further A4ID’s mission to facilitate access to free legal aid services to governments, individuals, civil society organizations, etc.

6. World Learning International Development Programs: Contract Agreement Drafting

This team worked with World Learning staff to develop contracts and agreements that will facilitate their international development work.  Similar to the Nuru International contract agreement drafting project, the team researched best practices in contract drafting as well as national and international norms and regulations that govern such agreements.

7. MIT J-Poverty Action Lab: Support Research and Programming

J-PAL is working to introduce water-chlorinators at water supply areas to reduce health problems and improve sanitation in Kenya. This team supported that work through policy research regarding regulations about the distribution of such devices, help with the implementation of policy, and help drafting model contracts related to their work.

8. Kiva (with Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, LLP): National Microfinance Regulations and Strategy Implications

This team worked with Kiva, a leading global microfinance organization that allows private individuals to make loans online to entrepreneurs in the developing world. Kiva currently works with MFIs in dozens of countries around the world. It is actively trying to understand the laws governing its microfinance activities in each of these states, in an effort to modify its business strategy to comply with the regulatory regime. This team drafted country-specific memos describing the regulatory environment and implications for Kiva. The ‘working team’ included both the LIDS team and attorneys from Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, LLP. Orrick is a leading law firm with substantial expertise in the microfinance sector and a strong track record of pro bono work for development-community NGOs.