IDB Involuntary Resettlement Paper

Exerpts from Part III, “The Experience of Multilateral Development Banks” of the IDB’s “Involuntary Resettlement and Background Paper”

[Note from Reverend Damuzi: For those of you who have read “Death to South Americans, Inc” in issue #19 of Cannabis Culture (July/August 99), the following will be of particular interest. Note the income level and cultural positioning of the groups affected by the IDB’s Nazi-inspired “resettlement program.” Resettlement of the kind promoted by the IDB is in the interests of multinational corporations, who use the resettlement of indigenous groups and peasants to clear the land for corporate infrastructural development.

Independent investigators, like the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom, have found that violence and terrorism are sometimes used as leverage to resettle citizens who get in the way of such development. Implicated heavily in the violence and terrorism are groups which receive training and weapons from the US, supposedly for drug war activities. See an upcoming issue of Cannabis Culture Magazine for more information.]

Since 1970, at least 120 Bank projects have involved or are expected to involve involuntary resettlement. Of these, 54 projects have been completed, 56 are in execution, and 10 are in the pipeline . A review of the 4 recently established database of Bank projects involving involuntary resettlement reveals that although there is not much detailed information available in the Bank regarding the design, implementation and outcomes of the resettlement components, some significant conclusions can be drawn regarding prevalence, magnitude, and sectoral distribution of resettlement and the existence of resettlement plans.

Information on the number of people affected is available for 75 of these projects, involving a total of over 650,000 people, of whom some 480,000 are affected by the projects presently in execution.However, considering that there is no information available for the remaining 45 projects, the total number of people affected may be much higher. A review of the Bank?s projects involving involuntary resettlement shows that resettlement occurs in different sectors and types of operations.

The sectors in which there has been most resettlement are energy, especially hydroelectric schemes; urban development, particularly sites and services projects for urban marginal communities; transportation, including the construction of major highways and multipleworks road programs; water and sanitation; and irrigation. Involuntary resettlement has also occurred in a small number of projects in other sectors, including tourism, industry, environmental programs and social investment funds.

One of the most significant trends is the progressive increase in the percentage of urban infrastructure projects, including water supply and sanitation and urban development. Only 8% of completed projects involving resettlement were in the water supply and sewerage sector, compared with 27% of the projects in execution and 50% of the projects in the pipeline. This tendency is even more pronounced in terms of the number of people affected by urban development projects. This sector accounts for 15% of the people affected by completed projects, as compared with 62% of the people affected by projects in execution. Conversely, there has been a decrease in the number of energy and irrigation projects and in the number of people affected by projects in these sectors.

These trends are reflected in the increased importance of resettlement projects in urban areas. In the completed projects, 14% of the people affected were from urban areas, rising to 81% in the projects in execution, and to 100% in the projects in the pipeline. In the completed projects, 34% of the people affected were from exclusively rural areas. This compares with 1% in the projects in execution, and none of the projects in the pipeline.

The rest of the population was from mixed urban and rural areas, or the documentation was insufficient In the past, virtually all involuntary resettlement occurred in specific infrastructure projects in which resettlement components could be planned in advance. In contrast, nowadays, many Bank-financed projects that involve involuntary resettlement are global multiple works or time-slice operations in which resettlement components cannot always be prepared in the early stages of the project.

The socioeconomic profile of the people affected by Bank projects is not well documented. For 39% of the completed projects and 57% of the projects in execution there is no information available on the employment profile of the displaced; 87% of the completed projects and 80% of the projects in execution lack information on the socio-cultural characteristics of the people affected. The information available shows that the people affected by resettlement projects are generally from low-income groups and are employed in subsistence agriculture, fishing, mining, industry, commerce, and service activities. Most of the people affected by completed projects were small farmers or landless laborers, while the majority of the people affected by projects presently in execution live in marginal urban settings, characterized by high unemployment rates and a marked dependence on the informal sector.

The countrywide distribution of involuntary resettlement projects has also changed over time. At present, 50% of the resettlement projects in the pipeline are in group A countries, as against 55% of the projects in execution, and 31% for the completed projects. In terms of population, 85% of the people affected by projects in execution are from group A countries, as against 69% of the people that were affected by projects already completed.

A review of the 54 completed projects shows that resettlement was the subject of contractual conditions in almost half of the cases. Twenty five completed projects had documented evidence of a resettlement plan; 14 projects had no resettlement plan, and in the remaining 15 cases it was unclear whether a resettlement plan was ever prepared. Thirteen of the 25 documented projects with a resettlement plan did not have sufficient information available to permit an assessment of the quality of the resettlement plan, 5 were considered acceptable by the Bank, and the remaining 7 were considered to be inadequate as defined by the proposed policy. The deficiencies documented included a weak conceptual basis, poor coordination with the project causing the displacement, lack of consultation with and participation of the people affected, poor baseline information, leading to an underestimate of the people affected and an inadequate budget for resettlement, little attention to rehabilitation measures, and an inappropriate legal or institutional framework. In only 2 of the 25 completed projects with a resettlement plan is there evidence that the affected community was consulted and participated in the design.

Of the 56 projects in execution, 38 developed (or were required to develop) a resettlement plan while in 11 projects a resettlement plan was not prepared, either because it was not a contractual condition, or becauseresettlement activities were limited to the payment of compensation. In the remaining 7 projects, it is unclear whether a resettlement plan was ever prepared (Figure 5). This indicates that in recent years there has been an important trend towards the improvement in the preparation of resettlement components, as evidenced by the number of required resettlement plans. However, for a significant number of projects there is insufficient information as to whether or not a resettlement plan was required.

There is no information available on the level of participation of the affected community in 26% of the completed projects and 25% of the projects in execution. The available documentation shows diverse degrees of participation, ranging from dissemination of information to consultations and negotiations on the conditions for resettlement. The implementation of resettlement was documented in 42 of the completed projects. In 14 cases resettlement was reported to have been satisfactory, while in 28 projects there were problems. The problems most frequently identified were cost overruns, delays in project execution or in the resettlement component, and an increase in social conflict.

There was no information available on the impact of resettlement on the affected population in 31 of the completed projects. In only 5 of the 23 completed projects where the impact of resettlement was documented was the outcome described as satisfactory, with the living conditions of the displaced being restored or improved. In the remaining 18 projects, the impact on the affected population has been reported as negative, with long term outcomes that included downward social mobility and the collapse of the communities? socioeconomic networks.

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