The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. – Nelson Henderson
Involuntary resettlement is one of the highest social risks when it comes to project sustainability. Put yourselves in the shoes of a villager or an entire community that needs to move from their current homes because a road will be built right through their location. There is clearly a potential of disruption of their livelihoods. When involuntary resettlement is unavoidable, a resettlement plan must be prepared to ensure that the affected people receive fair and adequate compensation and rehabilitation. But there’s more to resettlement than just relocating and compensating affected people. These are the basics:
Resettlement is all about the impact on people, like you and me, on our assets and livelihoods. If resettlement is not managed well, if we do not feel respected and informed, if we feel we can’t influence the project and are not listened to, then we may be opposed to it. We might not want resettlement even if it’s for a new road, a transmission line, or a railway that helps our development, because we have the right to be heard!
We not only have the right to participate in a consultative process, but also to a transparent process that gives us fair compensation; Transparent in the sense that the entitlements and compensation system is the same for everyone. For example, if I feel that my wealthy neighbor is not given preferential treatment but treated the same way as my family, then I will trust the system and focus on making sure that I get my fair share according to the system and not on questioning it. If I also understand how the compensation rates have been calculated and had the possibility to question and maybe even change some of them, I will tell everyone around me that the compensation process is fair and good.
Remember that project affected people (PAP) didn’t ask to be resettled, so please make sure that you take them fully into account from the beginning of the project. Put yourself in their shoes and you’ll understand it better. Let’s do this together!
If we make sure that a resettlement process is participatory, transparent and equitable – that fully engages and fairly compensates affected people – we considerably increase the chances of completing a project that is sustainable and beneficial to all parties involved.
To achieve this goal, we use our policies mentioned below and strive to put them into practice in the best possible way!
The Inter-American Development Bank’s OP-710 Involuntary Resettlement Policy looks to minimize the disruption of the livelihood of people living in the project’s area of influence, by avoiding or minimizing the need for physical displacement, ensuring that when people must be displaced they are treated equitably and, where feasible, can share in the benefits of the project that requires their resettlement. For more information, visit www.iadb.org/safeguards.
We apply a comprehensive set of environmental and social safeguard policies to the projects we finance to help protect against environmental and social harm, improve development value for our stakeholders, and enable our countries and clients to meet best international practices. These policies are essential to our mission to reduce poverty and inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean.