Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Policy

photoDevelopment projects that displace people involuntarily generally give rise to severe economic, social, and environmental problems: production systems are dismantled; productive assets and income sources are lost; people are relocated to environments where their productive skills may be less applicable and the competition for resources greater; community structures and social networks are weakened; kin groups are dispersed; and cultural identity, traditional authority, and the potential for mutual help are diminished. Involuntary resettlement may cause severe long-term hardship, impoverishment, and environmental damage unless appropriate measures are carefully planned and carried out (quoted from the WB's OD 4.30).

The World Bank was the first multilateral lending agency to adopt a policy for Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R). The Bank's present policy is contained in the document "Involuntary Resettlement," Operational Directive (OD) 4.30, adopted June 1990.

OD 4.30 broadens the treatment of resettlement issues beyond hydropower and irrigation projects to all types of investment operations. It emphasizes the need for:

The World Bank's OD 4.01 "Environmental Assessment" of October 3, 1991 indicates the kind of projects which are categorized as "A" projects and for which a full environmental assessment (EA) is required. These projects include most of those having large population displacement impacts. Category B projects do not require a full EA but do require some environmental analysis. Category C projects do not requre environmental analysis.

A full EA is required if a project is likely to have significant adverse impacts that may be sensitive, irreversible, and diverse. The impacts are likely to be comprehensive, broad, sector-wide, or precedent-setting. Impacts generally result from a major component of the project and affect the area as a whole or an entire sector (quoted from OD 4.01). The following list is illustrative of Category A projects:

Category B Projects are ones in which the project may have adverse environmental impacts that are less significant than category A impacts. Few if any of these impacts are irreversible. The impacts are not as sensitive, numerous, major, or diverse as category A impacts; remedial measures can be more easily designed. Preparation of a mitigation plan suffices for many category B projects. Few category B projects would have a separate environmental report; most may be discussed in a separate chapter of the project preparation or feasibility study (quoted from OD 4.01). Examples of Category B projects are:

An EA or environmental analysis is normally not required for Category C projects because the project is unlikely to have adverse impacts. Professional judgment finds the project to have negligible, insignificant, or minimal environmental impacts (OD 4.01). Category C projects might be:

Social analysis is a part of the EA process, and resettlement is one of five topics that the OD 4.01 requires, where they are relevant, be explicitly addressed in an EA. The five topics are: involuntary resettlement, new land settlement, induced development, indigenous peoples, and cultural property (the World Bank's Environmental Sourcebook. Vol. 1, Chapter 3. 1991).

Policy Objectives: The objective of the Bank's resettlement policy (OD 4.30) is to ensure that the population displaced by a project receives benefits from it. Involuntary resettlement is an integral part of project design and should be dealt with from the earliest stages of project preparation, taking into account the following policy considerations (from OD 4.30):

OD 4.30 describes the processing procedures required for all World Bank projects involving resettlement and outlines the main points planners should consider when preparing a resettlement plan. Depending on the magnitude of displacement and other factors, the resettlement plan will normally contain a statement of objectives and policies, an executive summary, a budget, a timetable coordinated with the physical works of the main investment project, and provision for:

The foregoing is meant to be an indicative, not authoritative, discussion of the World Bank's involuntary resettlement policy. The page authors suggest reference to the documents cited, or to newer documents, for up to date and authentic information. For more information, visit the World Bank's Public Information Center or the Environmental Management for Power Development page supported by the World Bank and other sponsors. The MESAS page also has an abbreviated list of standard resettlement documents.

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