Report on Railways Development Project in Cambodia

Something has gone dreadfully wrong with the forced population displacement and involuntary resettlement caused by a large Railways Development project in Cambodia. Co-financed by the Government of Cambodia, the Asia Development Bank (ADB) and by the bilateral Australian Aid Agency (AA), the project is expected to follow international involuntary resettlement standards. It does not…Read More.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 30 April 2014)

A KOSID-INDR Study Examines Mining-induced Involuntary Resettlement in Kosovo

INDR President Downing has completed a report on a proposed forced displacement by a proposed Kosovo lignite mine.

The Government of Kosovo is taking preparatory actions to involuntarily displace over 7000 people to make way for an open pit lignite mine as part of the Kosovo Power Project (KPP). Kosovo Civil Society (KOSID) invited Ted to determine whether this preparation complies with the international involuntary resettlement standards (OP 4.12, PS5, PR5, OECD, and Equator Principles) that must be met for the project to obtain international financing? Ted’s report finds it does not. The reasons why provide a good overview of the risks involved in a mining-induced displacement.

Last Updated (Monday, 28 April 2014)

Inter-American Development Bank Job Posting

The Inter-American Development Bank is seeking a Social Safeguards Lead Specialist (English and Spanish bilingual) for employment. Details on applying can be found on the American Anthropological Association website. Last Updated (Wednesday, 9 April 2014)

Comments Invitation on UNDP’s draft Social and Environmental Standards

UNDP is pleased to invite your comments on their draft Social and Environmental Standards by *May 2, 2014 (French and Spanish versions will be posted soon on the website). The objectives of the standards are to: (i) strengthen the social and environmental outcomes of UNDP’s programmes and projects; (ii) avoid adverse impacts to people and the environment; (iii) minimize, mitigate, and manage adverse impacts where avoidance is not possible; and (iv) strengthen capacities for managing social and environmental risks. For more on submissions.

*the deadline for comments has been extended to May 2, 2014.

Last Updated (Monday, 28 April 2014)

Call for Papers on Urban Renewal and Resettlement Workshop 2014

Prof. Dolores Koenig, American University, Washington, DC, is convening a workshop on Planning for Renewal and Resettlement: Contested Visions at the Annual Conference of the Commission on Urban Anthropology [CUA-IUAES] on Dreamed/planned cities and experienced cities.  Conference to be held at the University Jean Monnet, St Etienne, France, 8-10 July 2014.  Her workshop seeks contributions that look at the particular clashes that occur when governments and private organizations propose development and change that involve the destruction of existing neighborhoods and the relocation of their residents. To what extent do politicians and urban planners justify these plans by visions of urban growth or quality of urban life? How do the potentially relocated respond? Under what conditions do they create alternative visions? When do they negotiate or collaborate with planners? What sorts of activism do they undertake?  For more information on submissions.   Last Updated (Monday, 31 March 2014)

Forced Displacement, Reparation, and a US ban on financing international hydro-development…  policy ramifications of new US law

 “The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United
States executive director of each international financial institution
to seek to ensure that each such institution responds to the findings
and recommendations of its accountability mechanisms by providing
just compensation or other appropriate redress to individuals and
communities that suffer violations of human rights, including forced
displacement, resulting from any loan, grant, strategy or policy
of such institution.”    United States Consolidated Appropriations Act 2014.

Barbara Rose Johnston, Center for Political Ecology

In January 2014, the United States Congress passed compromise legislation on the annual budget. Buried within its’ 1500+ pages is specific and far-reaching language that clarifies US obligations and related policy with regards to public funds invested in foreign contexts, including US investment in international financial institutions (see Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014). Specifically, international financial institutions (IFIs) must ensure that a negotiated reparation agreement between the Government of Guatemala and communities affected by Chixoy Dam construction, forced displacements, and related violence is fully implemented; take demonstrative measures to ensure similar compliance to reparation agreements between residents of Boeung Kak lake in Cambodia and the Cambodian government; and, oppose financing for any activities that involve forced evictions or other violations of human rights in Ethiopia. This law also requires US representatives at IFIs to vote against “any financing to support or promote the expansion of industrial scale logging or any other industrial scale extractive activity into areas that were primary/intact tropical forest as of December 30, 2013” and any loan, grant, strategy or policy of such institution to support the construction of any large hydroelectric dam (as defined in “Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making (World Commission on Dams, 2000).” IFIs are also required to undertake independent outside evaluations of all of its lending to ensure that each institution “responds to the findings and recommendations of its accountability mechanisms by providing just compensation or other appropriate redress to individuals and communities that suffer violations of human rights.” This language was originally introduced as part of the Foreign Appropriations bill adopted by the Senate in the spring 0f 2013, following a series of meetings with representatives of affected communities, IFI staff, civil society advocates, and input from independent experts such as myself. Documentary evidence submitted in support of Senate deliberations demonstrated IFI failures to attend to the recommendations of internal and external compliance mechanisms and, thus, an unmet IFI obligation with regards to continuing human rights abuse.

The case of the forced displacement at Guatemala’s Chixoy Dam played an important role in garnering public attention ….

FOR MORE INFORMATION Last Updated (Monday, 31 March 2014)

Resettlement News Issue #29

Hari Mohan has released our latest issue for January 2014, containing the following headlines:

  • U.S. Pushes for Outside Oversight of World Bank, Opposes Push Forward ‘Big Hydro’
  • A Victory Over 30 Years in Coming Reparations for the Victims of Chixoy Dam in Guatemala
  • Under Pressure from Human Rights Groups ADB Admits Fault in Rail Project, Pledges Compensation
  • Doing Dams Differently Can Mean Development for All
  • International Consultation on Climate Change and Population Resettlement in San Remo, Italy, 12-14 March 2014
  • Raising the Profile of Displacement/Resettlement NZASIA Conference, Auckland, November 2013
  • Social Impact Assessment of Resource Projects Canberra
  • Foreclosing the Future: The World Bank and the Politics of Environmental Destruction

Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 February 2014)

INDR names Jessie Connell as new Hot Issues editor on Environment and Climate Change-Related Displacement

How might decades of research about development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR) help inform responses to environment and climate change-related displacement?  See Editor Connell’s introduction to the new hot issue and join in this critical dialogue.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 February 2014)

India Enacts New Legislation to Protect Those Internally Displaced by Development Projects

INDR’s own Michael Cernea reviews in an OPED article on the Brookings Institution website on the new Act just adopted by India’s Parliament, entitled The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act”(LARR) 2013.  The new law repeals and replaces India’s 119 year-old, colonial Land Acquisition Act (LAA) of 1894, empowering farming families with the right of prior consent to land acquisition for some sub-categories of development projects, too narrowly defined, and increasing compensation rates for land up to four times the market value of land in rural area, and of up to two times the market value of land in urban areas. Importantly, the new Land Act legislates the mandatory incorporation of a resettlement and rehabilitation plan in each main project causing displacement. Additional comments on critical issues of policy and human rights are forthcoming in a second part of this two parts article.

Last Updated (29, Oct 2013)

Ad Hoc Committee on Mining and Sustainable Development

Critique of the Model Mining Development Agreement Project

How are, or should, the rights and lives of local people be considered when governments and mining companies negotiate secret agreements, granting companies access to the subsoil beneath them?

Such agreements are usually secret – non-disclosed to those “in the way” but they may threaten the existence of groups with ill-defined property rights. Tribal and indigenous peoples are especially vulnerable since Government may have an adversarial role with them before the mining deal is negotiated.

In 2009, the Mining Law Committee of the International Bar Association collected and analyzed over 50 existing mine development agreements to prepare a Model Mining Development Agreement (MMDA) as a tool, or set of tools, that can be used by mining companies and host governments for mining projects. As a compilation of existing agreements, the resulting protocol did not pay attention to critical social and local economic issues that are increasingly being considered by the sector, particularly when they seek financial guarantees form international lenders.


The expansion of a coal mine ends the life of a Kosovo village. Photo by Ted Downing 2013.

INDR President Ted Downing appointed a talented committee, an Ad Hoc Committee on Mining and Sustainable Development, to critically review the draft protocol. On 11 April 2013, the INDR Committee presented their preliminary findings to Luke Danielson, a member of the Mining Law Committee and their revised version will be published shortly on this page.

Learn more about mining and forced displacement:

Avoiding New Poverty: Mining-induced displacement and resettlement. Theodore Downing 2002. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.

Mining and Indigenous Peoples: Stakeholder Strategies and Tactics. Indigenous Peoples and Mining. Theodore Downing, Carmen Garcia-Downing, Jerry Moles and Ian McIntosh. 2003 IN Finding Common Ground:Indigenous Peoples and their Association with the Mining Sector. World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Institute for Environment and Development (UK). P. 11-46.

 Last Updated (Monday, 8 April 2013)