The INDR Guide to The World Bank Involuntary Resettlement Proposed Policy Dilution

The 30 July 2014 proposed new policy on involuntary resettlement (IR)  dilutes decades of knowledge and experience with a policy, creating a much weaker policy that will increased development-induced impoverishment.  The International Network on Displacement and Resettlement specialists,  especially assisted by talented professionals from Inclusive Development, have compared the proposed new policy to the existing Bank operational policy (OP 4.12 and its Annex A) on key dimensions of the involuntary resettlement process.  This comparison proves the proposed change eviscerates current policy, removing the protections afforded those who just happen to be in the way of Bank financed projects. The result is increased risks of project induced, new poverty – an outcome alien to the Bank’s Articles of Agreement and poverty reduction prime objective.

Theodore E. Downing, President INDR


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Criteria for Comparison of OP 4.12 and Proposed ESSS5


Policy Objectives

1. Where it is not feasible to avoid resettlement, resettlement activities should be conceived and executed as sustainable development programs, providing sufficient investment resources to enable the persons displaced by the project to share in project benefits. (OP, para 2(b))

Policy Applicability

2. This policy applies to all components of the project that result in involuntary resettlement, regardless of the source of financing. It also applies to other activities resulting in involuntary resettlement, that in the judgment of the Bank, are (a) directly and significantly related to the Bank assisted project, (b) necessary to achieve its objectives as set forth in the project documents; and (c) carried out, or planned to be carried out, contemporaneously with the project (OP, para 4).

Exploration of alternative designs to avoid or minimize displacement no longer required

5. The [Bank task team] and borrower staff…(b) explore all viable alternative project designs to avoid, where feasible, or minimize displacement (BP, para 2(b)).

Impoverishment Risk Assessment

  6. Project affected people share in project benefits.

Due diligence for appraisal

7.  As a condition of appraisal of projects involving resettlement, the borrower provides the Bank with the relevant draft resettlement instrument which conforms to this policy, and makes it available at a place accessible to displaced persons and local NGOs, in a form, manner, and language that are understandable to them. Once the Bank accepts this instrument as providing an adequate basis for project appraisal, the Bank makes it available to the public through its InfoShop. After the Bank has approved the final resettlement instrument, the Bank and the borrower disclose it again in the same manner (OP, para 22). [continued in PDF document]

Displacees lose rights to disclosure and consulation

8. … Displaced persons should be meaningfully consulted and should have opportunities to participate in planning and implementing resettlement programs (OP, para 2 (b). [continued in PDF document]

Risky subprojects escape scrutany

9. For each subproject [including those deriving from sector investment operations, financial intermediary operations and all other Bank-­‐assisted projects with multiple sub-­‐projects) that may involve resettlement, the Bank requires that a satisfactory resettlement plan or an abbreviated resettlement plan that is consistent with the provisions of the policy framework be submitted to the Bank for approval before the subproject is accepted for Bank financing (OP, para 29). [continued in PDF document]

major abdication of bank supervsion of bank resonbsilibites

10. …The Bank regularly supervises resettlement implementation to determine compliance with the resettlement instrument… (OP, para 24). [continued in PDF document]

Policy Objectives Omitted

1. Omitted.

Policy Applicability

2. Omitted.

Avoidance of Alternative Designs

5. The Borrower will consider feasible alternative project designs to avoid or minimize land acquisition or restrictions on land use, especially where this would result in physical or economic displacement, while balancing environmental, social, and financial costs and benefits, and paying particular attention to impacts on the poor and vulnerable. (ESS5, para 7) 

Critical impoverishment list assessment no longer required

  6. …the Borrower will, as part of the environmental and social assessment, conduct a census to identify the persons who will be affected by the project, to      establish an inventory of land and assets to be affected to determine who will be eligible for compensation and assistance and to  discourage  ineligible persons, such as opportunistic settlers, from claiming benefits. (ESS5, para 16). [continued in PDF]

Need for due diligence for apprasail removed

7. The Borrower will develop and adopt an ESCP, which will set out measures and actions required
for the project to achieve compliance with the ESSs over a specified timeframe. The ESCP will be agreed with the Bank and will form part of the legal agreement (ESS1, para 34). [continued in PDF]

Displacees lose rights to disclosure and consulation

8. The Borrower will engage with affected communities, including host communities, through the
process of stakeholder engagement described in ESS10. Decision-­‐making processes related to resettlement and livelihood restoration will include options and alternatives from which affected persons may choose, where applicable (ESS5, para 14). [continued in PDF]

Risky sub projects escape scrutany

9. For all projects involving the preparation and implementation of subprojects, the Borrower is responsible for classifying the subprojects, carrying out environmental and social assessment, and reviewing the results of such assessment. Where the Bank is not satisfied that adequate capacity exists on the Borrower’s part, all High Risk subprojects, including the environmental and social assessment, will be subject to prior review and approval by the Bank (ESP, para 34). [continued in PDF]

major abdication of bank supervsion of bank resonbsilibites

10. …The Bank will monitor the environmental and social performance of the project in accordance with the requirements of the legal agreement, including the ESCP. The extent of Bank monitoring with respect to environmental and social performance will be commensurate with the potential environmental and social risks and impacts associated with the project. The Bank will monitor projects on an ongoing basis as required by OP 10.00 (ESP, para 46). [continued in PDF]

Policy Objectives Omitted

1. The OP 4.12 objective to conceive and execute resettlement  activities as a sustainable development program -­‐ central to the Bank’s core mission -­‐ has been omitted and replaced with a focus on compensation for lost assets. This is a significant regression in the Bank’s approach to resettlement and goes against 30 years of empirical  research, much of which has been commissioned and endorsed by the Bank, that shows that compensation  without sustained  development support cannot prevent impoverishment.

Policy Applicability

2. There are many Bank-­‐ supported projects that do not require land acquisition or restrictions on access to land and natural resources, but in the course of implementation nonetheless result in displacement. These activities are currently covered by OP 4.12 para 4, but this has been removed from the draft ESS5 leaving many people that will be evicted and displaced due to Bank-­‐financed projects wholly unprotected.

Avoidance of Alternative Designs

5.  There is no requirement in the draft ESP for the Bank to work with borrowers to explore alternative project designs to avoid or minimize displacement. This is an abdication of the Bank’s responsibilities for ensuring that displacement, which would not occur but for the Bank’s support, is avoided in accordance with the requirements of international human rights law.

Critical impoverishment list assessment no longer required

  6. The requirement for comprehensive household baseline data and other socio-­‐ economic studies, which is currently included in OP 4.12, Annex A is fully omitted.

Need for due diligence for apprasail removed

7.  The requirement in OP/BP 4.12 for a comprehensive, policy-­‐ compliant resettlement instrument to be submitted as a condition of appraisal and as a key determinant of Bank support for the project has been deleted. This critical due diligence requirement has been a core obligation of the World Bank since the adoption of its first resettlement policy in 1980.

The draft only requires an undefined Environmental and Social Commitment Plan (ESCP), coupled with extremely vague due diligence requirements upon the Bank, none of which are specific to managing the devastating social risks of resettlement.

Displacees lose rights to disclosure and consulation

8. While the new draft framework contains a standalone standard on “stakeholder engagement,” the provisions for information disclosure, consultation and participation of displaced persons regarding resettlement planning, implementation and monitoring have been diluted.

Risky sub projects escape scrutiny

9. Under the new policy, only sub-­‐projects involving resettlement that are classified as High Risk must comply with ESS5. This means that projects that are classified as having Substantial Risk need not comply with ESS5 but only national regulations.

Major abdication of bank supervision of bank responsibilities

10. … The four paragraphs on supervision in the current BP 4.12 have been reduced to three sentences in the draft ESP and two sentences in the new OP 10.00, which are extremely vague, not specific to resettlement, and based on a review by the Bank of self-­‐reporting by the Borrower.