The World Bank has proposed (July 2014) to replace its entire system of Social and Environmental Safeguard Policies with a downgraded ESF (Environmental and Social Framework) that reduces protections against the risks and negative impacts of development projects. The consultations around the ESF—and a large wave of public, CSOs, institutional, and UN experts comments—severely criticize, or fully reject, the draft ESF, asking instead for the strengthening and enrichment of the existing safeguarding policies. Anthropology and environmental scholars and researchers have been among the original proponents of safeguard policies and have made an immense contribution to their global implementation and improvement over-time.

To enable a scientific analysis and debate around the World Bank’s draft standards and ESF, the 75th SfAA Program includes a set of extraordinary 12 sessions organized by INDR (International Network on Displacement and Resettlement). The sessions embrace a rich thematic arc: hydropower dams-caused displacement; urban displacement; human rights; climate change and its risks of displacement injustice; environmental safeguards; the ethics of forced displacement and resettlement; eminent domain; the legal critique of the World Bank draft ESF; impoverishment, livelihoods, and gender; compensation and benefits-sharing with displaced populations; the unsolved legacy of previous forced displacements; institutional & moral accountability; the intractable and intangible effects of displacement; recovery and reconstruction post-relocation as embodiment of “Putting People First” goals in development.

A detailed account of all sessions, including recommendations and proposals by paper presenters and debate-participants on how to improve WB safeguard policies, will be submitted to the World Bank and publicly disseminated.

Select a Session Below

1. The World Bank’s Social Safeguards Policies Must Be Strengthened, Not Diluted!

CHAIR: CERNEA, Michael M. (Brookings Inst, INDR)

LIEBOW, Ed (AAA Executive Secretary) Salute to INDR on behalf of AAA

CERNEA, Michael M. (Brookings Inst, INDR) Keynote Address: Reversing History and Ignoring Evidence is Unjustified: The Moral and Economic Imperatives for New Social Safeguards and a New Policy Vision. Earlier than other agencies, World Bank recognized impoverishment as the gravest scourgein induced development, preparing in late ‘70s and adopting (1980, February) a game-changing, pioneering policy on resettlement that decidedly reversed the previous bad normative values (“acceptable collateral damage”). In opposition to history and global trends, the Bank’s 2014 draft ESF ignores precedent and empirical evidence. It represents a reversal of history and has markedly departed from the commitment and objective set by the Bank’s Management to not dilute but update the World Bank’s SESPs. The world’s response has been overwhelming criticism and stern rejection of the ESF. The World Bank needs to step back from this draft which doesn’t reflect its mission.

PRICE, Susanna (Australian Nat’l U, INDR) Safeguard Policies and the Survival Instinct: The Impending Race to the Bottom.

Fearing competition from emerging country-Banks, the World Bank and other IFIs attempt to downgrade their current safeguard policies built on science-based knowledge and experientially tested over three decades. Despite scholarly-documented risks of impoverishing displaced and indigenous peoples, the World Bank has not re-focused itself on decisively stopping the impoverishment caused by its own projects. Instead, it is proposing to lower further and dismantle its “too-timeconsuming” policies and to replace them with some imprecise “standards” – which lack the status of mandatory policies, are untested, and have no capacity to achieve the safeguarding goals of existing policies. Such lower “standards” would drive-down implementation performance further, well-below human rights’ legal definitions. Examining regional banks’ cases, the author warns against the consequences and dangers of an expanding corporate race to the bottom that the World Bank’s retreat would trigger, and explores necessary counter-measures.

DOWNING, Theodore E. (INDR) Putting People Last: The World Bank’s New Involuntary Resettlement Policy Intentionally Creates Poverty. 

The World Bank’s current safeguard policies define its responsibilities to people and environments in the way of large-scale infrastructure projects. Over three decades, the safeguard policies evolved into quasi-international socioenvironmental standards, subject to the Bank’s accountability review. What becomes of these safeguards, as the Bank redefine its mission away from post-War II reconstruction, away from McNamarian poverty alleviation, toward a new, yet to be defined mission? These questions are addressed in the context of involuntary resettlement policy. Is the Bank acquiescing to creating-project specific poverty whose mitigation, if any, is someone else’s challenge? Unlike thirty years ago, the proposed, revised standards are being diluted with full scientific and experiential knowledge that the on-the-ground consequences will be the creation of new poverty and extensive, psychosocio-cultural disruption.

SHI, Guoqing (Director, China Natl. Research Center on Resettlement) Comparing China’s and World Bank’s Resettlement Policies: Current Content, Divergent Trends.  

JOHNSTON, Barbara Rose (Ctr for Political Ecology) Guatemala’s Chixoy Dam, Impoverishment, Human Rights Abuses and the Struggle for Accountability: Considering the Unresolved Legacy of World Bank Dams.

The World Commission on Dams (2000) brought global attention to the negative social and environmental costs of large dams and recommended that governments, industry, and financial institutions accept responsibility for flawed development, correct inflicted impoverishment, prevent further impoverishment, restore livelihood and land compensation for uprooted communities, and make retroactive reparations. One exemplary case prompting these WCD recommendations was the internationally-financed Chixoy Dam. In October 2014, the Government of Guatemala announced the achievement
of a legally-binding agreement to repair the damages associated with forced displacement, violence, and related human rights abuses accompanying Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam development. This paper outlines methods used to build the case for reparation and secure the political will to achieve this historic agreement.

2. Hydropower Dams, Mines, Infrastructure, and Resettlement Safeguard Policies


DISCUSSANT: YUEFANG, Peter (U. of Three Gorges, China)

HITCHCOCK, Robert K. (UNM) The Lesotho Highlands Water Project: Dams, Development, and the World Bank. Between 1989 and 2007 the World Bank was one of the funders of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This project, which included two large dams (Katse and Mohale), had significant impacts on local people, including losses of grazing, fields, and resettlement of 71 households in Phase 1a and 325 in Phase 1b. Conflicts between the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority and the Bank revolved around compensation, resettlement, development, in-stream flow requirements, downstream impacts, project royalties, and the safeguard policies of the World Bank. (W-157)

FUJIKURA, Ryo (Hosei U) Long-Term Evaluation of Resettlement Programs of Large Dam Construction in Asia. We conducted field surveys from 2006 to 2014 on resettlement programs implemented for 17 large dam construction projects in Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Vietnam. Except two Vietnamese cases, the resettlements were completed more than two decades ago. The study reveals that securing secondary income source is effective to increase and stabilize resettlers’ income. While it is recommend land-for-land compensation for submerged farm land, cash compensation should be considered as a feasible option taking socio-economic situation and intention of the resettlers. Farmers do not necessarily wish to continue farming after resettlement. (W-157)

HARNISH, Allison (Albion Coll), CUTRIGHT, Chelsea and CLIGGETT, Lisa (U Kentucky), SCUDDER, Thayer (CalTech) Those Who Forget the Errors of the Past are Bound to Repeat Them: Field-Research on the Impoverishment Legacy of Kariba Dam 50 Years Later. Kariba Dam, completed in 1958 before the World Bank adopted Safeguard Policies, impoverished the majority of 57,000 Gwembe Tonga displaced people. If the Bank now succeeds in gutting its subsequent resettlement policy, increased impoverishment among resettlers in future Bank-assisted mega dams can be expected. The paper explains how the co-authors are studying mutually complementary dimensions of Kariba’s displaced people’s postdisplacement existence. While much has changed since 1958, one unchanged feature is the continued political, ecological and socioeconomic marginality many Gwembe Tonga face. In December 2014, the Bank approved co-financing major repairs to secure the dam foundation’s safety. It is unclear whether these repairs will also expand the inundation area, or are carried out to also prepare a subsequent heightening of the dam and reservoir level, which would force a second displacement of area residents. (W-157)

TELLO, Rodolfo (Independent) and PARTRIDGE, William (Independent) Implementation Challenges: Why the International Social Safeguard Policies Must Be Strengthened and Expanded, Not Watered-down. Big infrastructure projects in developing countries usually require displacing people from their homes, increasing their risk of impoverishment and their level of social vulnerability, and disrupting their sources of livelihood, sense of place, and social networks. Multilateral financial institutions have policies in place to avoid or minimize the need for involuntary resettlement, but their practical implementation has shown mixed results. This paper identifies the top ten challenges recurrently found among agencies and companies implementing involuntary resettlement processes in projects funded by multilateral organizations. It also offers insights on key areas where efforts could be directed to improve the current situation. (W-157)

3. Ethics and Accountability for Compulsory Displacement

CHAIR: DRYDYK, Jay (Carlton U)

DISCUSSANT: de WET, Chris (Grahamstown U.)

DOWNING, Theodore E. (INDR) Will the World Bank’s Proposed Social Standards Undermine Their Successful Accountability Mechanism: The Inspection Panel? Initially championed by The World Bank, international financial intermediaries have evolved internal accountability mechanisms that permit project-affected-peoples to file complaints about Bank non-compliance with its safeguard policies. The most frequently filed complaints to the Bank’s Inspection Panel concern noncompliance with its involuntary resettlement policies (OP 4.12). An experienced Panel investigator compares the architecture of the current system’s accountability to that envisioned in the proposed Environmental and Social Standards (ESS). Substitution of safeguard policies by these weakened standards will significantly reduce Bank accountability and cripple mid-stream corrections of deviations from Board policy.

RICH, Bruce (Env Law Inst) Negotiable Standards? Or Enforceable Rules Based on Shared Ethical Principles? The early reforms at the World Bank Group were driven by the protests of marginalized poor people, whose access to land and resources was threatened by large Bank-funded projects. Any weakening of these environmental social and environmental safeguards will contribute to a failure of global governance at a moment when good governance is needed more urgently than at any time in history. The proliferation of global and local social and environmental crises forces us to seek enforceable rules and standards founded on commonly shared ethical principles that human societies recognize as having priority over short-term, parochial economic goals and incentives. Such an ethic is a work in progress, but for the World Bank to make a greater contribution, it will have to learn from its experience rather than flee from it. The world can ill afford institutions that have built amnesia into their bureaucratic DNA.

DRYDYK, Jay (Carlton U) Empowerment for Equitable Outcomes: More Unlikely than Ever. In this presentation, the World Bank’s Draft Environmental and Social Framework will be examined from the ethical perspective set out and defended in Displacement by Development: Ethics, Rights, and Responsibilities (Penz, Drydyk, and Bose, Cambridge 2011). One principle of that perspective is that displaced stakeholders ought to be sufficiently empowered to achieve equitable outcomes. Thus I will address the following two questions about the Social Framework: 1) If Standard 5 were followed, would equitable outcomes be fully achieved? 2) Is Standard 10 for Information Disclosure and Stakeholder Engagement sufficient for ensuring that these outcomes are achieved?

KABRA, Asmita (Ambedkar U) Displacement, Power and Economic Mobility among Resettlers: Lessons for Policy. Aspirations to make involuntary resettlement equitable must reckon with pre-existing differentials in power and influence within displaced communities. Typically, previously advantaged and powerful groups within resettlers tend to cope better with displacement risks and are better able to leverage new opportunities at resettlement sites. However, the socio-economic and cultural ruptures caused by displacement can also realign old power equations through strategies of ‘everyday politics’ (including negotiation and resistance) adopted by resettlers vis à vis state actors. These tendencies will be illustrated through an overview of field research in communities displaced due to conservation projects across India. Assuming that this power-preserving tendency will not be suppressed, aspirations to equity in resettlement must focus on raising the prospects for less powerful groups through appropriate safeguards at the local, regional, national and global levels.

4. Environmental Sustainability and Safeguards: Why Does the World Bank Group Dilute Its Policies?

CHAIR: RICH, Bruce (Env Law Inst)

RICH, Bruce (Env Law Inst) The World Bank Group’s Flight from Sustainability. The World Bank Group’s (WBG) “Safeguard Policies” date back more than thirty years, and influence all multilateral development banks, the export credit agencies of OECD countries, and the project finance of major private transnational banks. The WBG is revising these safeguards, abandoning requirements for preparation and public disclosure of environmental assessments (EAs) before project and loan approval, permitting degradation and destruction of legally protected natural areas and forests, and allowing projects to proceed with inadequate measures and budgets to protect displaced populations and indigenous peoples. WBG management appears to fear competition by new international lending agencies with lower standards financed by emerging market countries such as China, Brazil, Russia. But the WBG can only remain relevant by elevating the environmental and social quality of its lending, rather than lowering it.

HUNTER, David (American U) Abandoning a Rules-Based Approach at the World Bank. The World Bank’s proposed (July 2014) draft of environmental and social performance standards to replace its existing safeguard policy system would replace clear rules with flexible guidelines that allow large amounts of discretion by World Bank’s staff. Without the predictability and strength of clear minimum standards, however, the pressure to lend at the Bank is likely to sideline environmental and social considerations, with vulnerable negatively affected communities bearing the risk. Further, the Bank’s abandonment of a rules-based approach abdicates its historical leadership role in the development and implementation of environmental and social standards in the international development context.

MCELHINNY, Vince (BIC) The Rise and Decline of Policy Safeguard Coverage at the World Bank. The World Bank has traditionally set the industry standard for safeguards—the operational policies that seek to avoid or mitigate potential harms that result from Bank-funded projects. A wholesale internal Bank reorganization under President Kim, including a revision of the Bank’s social and environmental safeguard policies has led to a reversal in the Bank’s leadership on elevating protections for people and the environment. A review of World Bank lending reveals a rapid, alarming decline in the amount of Bank lending covered by safeguard policies: safeguard coverage has recently dipped below 50% of all Bank lending. The vehicles of this decline are newly adopted lending instruments “excused” from the application of, and the accountability to, safeguard policies. The proposed draft ESS additionally reduces safeguard coverage through “opt out” clauses. To counter the hedging strategies by Bank clients that opt to reduce safeguard norms, the World Bank must restore a guarantee that strong, uniform and accountable safeguard standards will apply to all lending instruments.

REISCH, Nikki (NYU, CHRGJ) Everything’s Negotiable?: What the Bank’s Retreat from Compliance Means for Human Rights and the Environment. Once the leader among IFIs in defining and adopting environmental and social safeguards and in instituting an accountability mechanism to identify policy violations, the World Bank has lost its leading edge on both fronts, jeopardizing its reputation and falling behind sister institutions that have openly embraced human rights in their operations. These twin trends reinforce rather than rectify the power imbalance that victimizes poor and affected communities. Treating rights and obligations as negotiable means communities will receive only the social and environmental protections they can bargain for, rather than those they deserve.

5. The International Network on Displacement and Resettlement (INDR) at 15: 2000-2015

CHAIR: DOWNING, Theodore E. (INDR President)
DOWNING, Theodore E. (INDR President) The International Network on Displacement and Resettlement (INDR) at 15: 2000-2015 Open Business Session. INDR

The International Network on Displacement and Resettlement) was founded in 2000 by a group of scholars who participated in sessions on forced population displacement and resettlement that took place in Rio de Janeiro as part of the 10th World Congress of the International Rural Sociology Association. For the 75th SfAA Annual Meetings, INDR organized a series of 12 special sessions, and it is holding its business meeting as part of the SfAA program. At its establishment, INDR was the first international network of scholars focused on studying development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR), set as a virtual global professional society in the internet age.

During the 15 years of INDR’s existence, many more anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and researchers of other professions joined the group of INDR “founding fathers and mothers.” Today, INDR includes a number of researchers of natural disaster-caused and conflict-caused displacements, since many key issues are common to these causally different types of displacements, especially – the issues of recovery post-displacement. A growing number of INDR members are getting involved in the new subfield of climate- change-triggered population displacement and resettlement.

INDR invites new members into its ranks. INDR covers its expenses exclusively from the small annual dues by its members and by voluntary contributions from its founders. INDR maintains a website ( where information on DFDR is posted. The website includes a section on “Hot Issues”, reviews of new books or studies, information on scientific conferences and other events. All participants in the SfAA 75 meetings who are interested in networking with researchers with similar concerns about population displacement and resettlement are invited to attend this open meeting and make proposals for expanding INDR activities in the future. Welcome to all new-comers! 

6. Roundtable: 1985-2015: “Putting People First” at 30. Retrospective and Thinking Forward


CERNEA, Michael M. (Brookings Inst, INDR) Introduction: Affirming Social Science Role and Contribution to Development: Fighting Impoverishment and Why “PPF” continues to be an Uphill Battle Today: Fighting Impoverishment and Defending Human Rights in Development.

PRICE, Susanna (Australian Nat’l U, INDR) Tracing Influences and Challenges to “Putting People First” in Asia. Brief reflections on how similar development issues need to be treated in diverse and different cultural and ethnic settings.

DOWNING, Theodore E. (INDR) Putting People First Means Sharing Development’s Benefits and Fighting Development’s Risks. Brief reflections on counterintuitive approaches and findings in the trenches of development project field-work.

OLIVER-SMITH, Anthony (U Florida) Social Risks Are Environmental Risks, and the Risks to the Environment Are Risks to People as well. Capturing the nature-society interactions.

SHI, Guoqing (NRCR Hohei U., China) Interactions Between Chinese Scholars and Colleagues/Social Scientists at the World Bank and in China

CERNEA, Michael M. (Brookings Inst, INDR) Some Thoughts to Take Home With Us

[Those interested to continue the professional conversation of this round-table around a collective dinner-table could do so immediately thereafter, at a place nearby. Please indicate your interest at the beginning of the roundtable (or before) for reserving an adequate space.]

7. Setting the Stage for Injustice in a Time of Increasing Climate Chaos: A Critique of the World Bank’s Retreat from Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies

CHAIR: MALDONADO, Julie (American U)


MARINO, Elizabeth (OSU-Cascades), MALDONADO, Julie (American U), and BRONEN, Robin (UAF) Human Rights in the Era of Climate Change and Relocation: Why Climate Change Should Push the World Bank to Strengthen Protection for People and the Environment. Politically-marginalized communities have disproportionately been victims of development-induced displacement, experiencing negative outcomes such as landlessness, homelessness, social disarticulation, and severe infringements on their human rights. In a time of extreme climatic changes and displacements resulting from ecological shifts, the proposed replacement of the World Bank safeguard policies will amplify human rights abuses for communities displaced by development and exponentially threaten marginalized communities as climate change creates new vulnerabilities and new development challenges. This paper explores the intersections of vulnerability and displacement under new climate regimes using case studies from Louisiana and Alaska, which reflect on experiences occurring around the world. It argues that a new climate regime should push the World Bank to strengthen protection for people and the environment, not put people in greater harm’s way.

BARRIOS, Roberto E. (SIUC) Re-Thinking Community Resettlement from the Vantage Point of the Social Production of Space. In its most basic sense, community resettlement involves the movement of people in space. This simple observation, however, is quickly complicated when we consider Henri Lefebvre’s observation that space is not a pre-existing neutral backdrop of social action, but is a social product whose production involves the interaction between three “moments,” the lived, the conceived, and the perceived. Drawing on examples from post-disaster and climate change mitigation resettlement projects in Honduras and Mexico, this presentation takes Lefebvre’s idea of the social production of space as a point of departure for exploring the broader social, cultural, and political circumstances under which communities come into being, and what is at stake in their resettlement in terms of long-term viability and sustainability.

CERNEA, Michael M. (Brookings Inst, INDR) How to Address Now the Currently Unknown Risks and Demands of Future Displacements by Climate Change?
Speculations abound about the social consequences of climate change, their nature, content, magnitudes and the options for timely building safeguards. Yet many of these speculations are unconvincing and unhelpful because they are not rooted in empirical knowledge. Despite uncertainties, however, relevant knowledge does exists now about the likely havoc and impoverishment that will accompany mass-scale forced displacements and resettlements. This is the body of knowledge about what has worked, and particularly what is NOT WORKING properly in development-caused displacements. Both development-displacement & CC expected displacement have in common the “advantage” of being known long in advance. Yet the benefits of advance lead time are more often than not wasted lamentably by governments, decision makers, planners, and managers. This exponentially amplifies DFDR’s difficulties, aggravates its risks of impoverishment by displacement and subsequently increase the new risks specific to post-displacement reconstruction. If this major lesson is not absorbed now by policy makers, the calamities of CC displacement will be aggravated by default. Many avoidable mistakes are now, and unfortunately will be repeated under CC displacement. It should be non-surprising that precisely the failures of ex-ante capacity building for development-displacement, and the flawed economics that currently presides over development-displacements will produce similar failures, only on a larger scale. Governments and much of the current literature underestimates the looming risks of mass- impoverishment through loss of infrastructures, productive lands, unique biosphere zones, jobs and personal habitat. Yet, governments are not yet equipped to proactively use DFDR knowledge for decision-making, There is a distinct gap between policy-making decisions and what social scientists have found in their work. The author argues that the most productive way to prepare today for future CC displacement and resettlement is to study and act for correcting the failures and preventing the tragedies of today’s DFDR processes and factor in the lessons in state policies predicated on using the advance lead-time for preparing

8. Benefits-Sharing with Resettlers in World Bank Projects, and in China, Brazil, and Columbia

CHAIR: ROQUET, Vincent (World Bank)
OPENING REMARKS: CERNEA, Michael M. (Brookings Inst, INDR)

DISCUSSANT: CERNEA, Michael M. (Brookings Inst, INDR)

ROQUET, Vincent (World Bank) The Road to Avoiding Impoverishment: Implementing Benefit Sharing and Livelihood Restoration Strategies for Resettlement. The need to go beyond compensation for lost assets in order to avoid impoverishment of project affected persons in resettlement programs has been clearly established in the literature. Resettlement policies adopted by international development banks require that livelihood restoration strategies be implemented for displaced persons in addition to compensation for lost assets. Where possible, these policies also recommend that benefit sharing mechanisms be put into place to enable locally affected populations to share the benefits of development projects. This presentation will discuss approaches adopted by development banks to overcome political and practical constraints to implementing these policy requirements in a number of developing countries.

ZHANG, Chaohua (World Bank) Evolution of Reservoir Resettlement Practice and Policies in China. Over the past four decades, China has built over 86,000 dams, mostly falling under the international definition of big dams. These dams, serving multiple-purposes and with other associated infrastructure, provided the basis for the country’s fast growth in the past few decades. However, this was achieved at a huge cost – impoverishment of millions of displaced population. Trying to address these resettlement legacy issues and learning from past mistakes, China has gradually developed a system through the past few decades to manage reservoir resettlement in a more sustainable and responsible fashion. This system consists of a set of policies, technical regulation and guidelines in resettlement planning and implementation, a resettlement management system at national, provincial and local levels, and a development-oriented approach in resettlement management.

ALBERTOS, Carmen (IADB) Guatemala: Chixoy Dam-affected Communities: Current Status and Challenges. The Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam during the Guatemalan civil war in the 80’s resulted in severe impacts on the lives of 33 forced displaced Maya Achi’, Popcomchi’, Q’eqchi’, and K’iche’ communities. For over 30 years the affected communities have been seeking reparations from the Government of Guatemala, and new collective identities have emerged. Recently the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) undertook efforts to foster investment in the area and to indirectly support the parties to reach an agreement of the long-standing conflict. IDB multidisciplinary team conducted community and sector diagnosis and, utilizing anthropological methods, designed a culturally-appropriate participatory planning methodology. 

BORNHOLDT, Luciano (World Bank) Innovative Country Systems for Resettlement: Example of Brazil and Colombia. How to improve the ways in which States resettle their own people? There is often a significant gap between recognized international best practices in involuntary resettlement on the one hand, and the existing national/subnational/sectorial systems, practices and regulations on the other. This presentation will discuss an experience of cooperation between the World Bank and the Brazilian Ministry of Cities that resulted in the approval in 2013 of Ordinance 317, a significant improvement of national sectorial regulations for involuntary resettlement that adversely affects tens of billions of dollars in municipal investments.

9. Urban Displacement: Safeguarding the Human Rights and Livelihoods of Involuntary Resettlers

CHAIR: KOENIG, Dolores (American U)

DISCUSSANT: PETER, Yuegfang (U. of Three Gorges, China)

KOENIG, Dolores (American U) Livelihood Restoration in Urban Resettlement Projects: Some Cases from West Africa and India. Urban resettlements are usually cast as housing projects and pay little attention to livelihood improvement or even restoration. This paper looks at the results of that inattention to livelihoods, using field data and documentary sources from West Africa and India. Not surprisingly, making an adequate living was more difficult for people after they had been resettled, even when they moved to better housing. Many could not continue their old jobs, because they were required to move far away from them and public transport was often irregular or expensive. At the same time, projects paid little attention to creating new jobs.

PARTRIDGE, Chris and KOENIG, Dolores (American U) When Livelihood Restoration Is Not Emphasized: Lessons from Refugee Resettlement in the United States. Within the United States, refugee resettlement is cast as a humanitarian effort, with little attention to development, including livelihood restoration. Using material from programs in North Carolina, this paper explores the impacts of a domestic model that that does not use international safeguards standards but emphasizes achieving self-sufficiency within ninety days of arrival. Contrary to the demonstrated success of the livelihoods approach abroad, the baseline domestic program encourages arriving refugees to choose immediate employment goals over investment in optimal employment goals. Research findings suggest that prioritizing employment over long-term livelihood promotion activities increases financial instability and resource loss over the long term.

BUGALSKI, Natalie, PRED, David, and GRIMSDITCH, Mark (Inclusive Dev Int’l) Lessons from the Cambodian Land Management and Administration Project for the World Bank Safeguards Review. The paper explains how a World Bank-supported land-titling program in Cambodia interplayed with unchecked power dynamics and an influx of investment to result in increased tenure insecurity for households that lay in the path of planned urban real estate developments and agroindustry. When the households were threatened with eviction, the Government refused to apply the involuntary resettlement policy. Under pressure to enforce its policies and legal agreements, in an unprecedented move, the Bank suspended all lending to Cambodia. The paper draws lessons from this case for the World Bank’s Safeguards Review, highlighting the deficiencies in safeguards on land and resettlement.

10. A Legal Critique of the ESF: The World Bank’s Retreat from Safeguards Policies and Accountability Rules

CHAIR: HUNTER, David (American U)


BUGALSKI, Natalie (Inclusive Dev Int’l) The Demise of Accountability at the World Bank? Recent directives at the World Bank are precipitating a shift from rules-based responsibility and accountability for the negative consequences of Bank-financed projects, to an imprecise approach to acknowledging and counteracting social, economic, and environmental risks and impacts on people. The paper will examine these trends in both the proposed draft Environmental and Social Framework and its implications for the effectiveness of the Inspection Panel, which is Board- mandated to investigate complaints from project affected people and assess compliance with or violation of Bank policies. The author will analyze what these shifts mean in practice for accountability and the protection of land, property, housing and natural resources.

CERNEA, Michael M. (Brookings Inst, INDR) What Eminent Domain Law Leaves Unsettled and What Resettlement Legal Frameworks Must Correct. After adoption (1980), WB’s Involuntary Resettlement policy advanced on two historic paths: (a)internationalization and (b)internalization. Comparing the contrasting dynamics of both paths, the author distinguishes and documents 7 tracks along which the policy’s internationalization advanced by gaining stronger content and wider geographic radius in development aid. Conversely, the policy’s internalization within the legal systems of developing countries has been slow, halting and sputtering. This discrepancy is the political cause of world’s current crisis of development-caused displacement/impoverishment. The legal doctrine of eminent domain is left intellectually stagnant for decades, while in practice being subjected to dilated and politically driven distorted interpretations. WorldBank’s resettlement policy and its replications have filled an enormous legal void in the international governance of development investing, mitigating but not eliminating congenital lacunae of ED. The Bank’s misguided retreat from its safeguard policies foretells a domino effect of spiraling negative consequences, and it must be reversed by enriching the policy with recent, updated scientific knowledge. and lessons from the Bank’s tragic experiences.

PULASKI, TERESA (Georgetown U) and GREENSTEIN, Gus (Amherst Coll) Compensation: From Legal Framework to Real-Life Impoverishment- The Case of the Belo Monte Dam. Until recently, World Bank efforts to prevent and mitigate the impoverishment risks to which its large-scale infrastructure projects regularly subject local peoples have been largely guided by a sound body of anthropological and sociological research. Tragically, this trend is now in a state of reversal. Drawing on empirical research carried out over the past two years in dam-affected communities in Brazil, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Lesotho, and Mozambique, including 3 World Bank financed projects causing displacement. I reveal how, while persisting disconnects between these theoretical foundations and real-life compensation and rehabilitation dysfunctional practices continue to plague the well-being of marginalized populations, a watering down of research-informed resettlement policy will all but guarantee even more widespread cultural and economic calamity. The paper proposes ways to improve and add new constructive provisions into Bank’s policies to meet current and forthcoming needs, rather than subtract from and dilute the existing safeguards.

11. How Policies Could Mitigate or Aggravate the Intractable, Intangible Impacts of Forced Displacement?

CHAIRS: DOWNING, Theodore E. (INDR), PRICE, Susanna (Australian Nat’l U)

DOWNING, Theodore E. (INDR) and GARCIA-DOWNING, Carmen (U Arizona) Crafting Policies to Cope with the Intractable, Intangible Psycho- Socio-Cultural Risks of an Involuntary Resettlement. A theory has been developed explaining the psycho-socio-cultural changes that accompany an involuntary resettlement. This theory holds that although these changes are mostly irreversible, policies and practices increase the likelihood that people may restore new routine socio-cultural losses. The proposed World Bank changes in its involuntary resettlement policies abandon the emerging recognition of these risks in current policy. After briefly reviewing the theory of routine and dissonant culture, I identify social development policies that mitigate these seemingly intractable, intangible risks.

XI, Juan (U Akron) Displacement and Mental Distress in the Three Gorges Area. While most policy discussions around the development project-induced displacement and resettlement have focused on its economic impacts and compensation, our study pays special attention to the social and psychological impacts of the relocation associated with the Three Gorges Dam Project on the affected population. Using a quasi-experimental design, we gathered information about a large number of indicators on the social, economic, and psychological wellbeing from a sample of migrants first before they moved and then after the move. Changes in migrants’ wellbeing during the period, when benchmarked on the corresponding changes computed for a control group of non-migrants, are attributed to the impact of involuntary migration.

ARONSSON, Inga-Lill (Uppsala U) and DOWNING, Theodore E. (U Arizona) Five Sides of the Same Coin: The Place of Global Policy Frameworks in the Setting of Negotiation Agendas of Involuntary Resettlement. How might global safeguard policies on involuntary resettlement improve meaningful negotiations with people who are inadvertently in the path of infrastructure projects? Longitudinal studies have found that involuntary resettlement involves conflictive, protracted, on-the-ground negotiations between a lender, the client, government, and those being displaced. In some negotiations, international safeguard policies may partially define agenda – for better and/ or worse. Examples are also drawn from case studies, including a close-up examination of a negotiation in which the lead author was embedded within the affected communities her co-author was part of the World Bank team (Zimapán hydroelectric, Mexico).

TAMONDONG, Susan (IDEAS) The Likely National Consequences of the Proposed Changes in International Involuntary Resettlement: A Close View of the Philippine Scenario. What role do international social policies play defining how people in path of infrastructure projects are treated at national level? The expressed purpose of proposed dilution of WB’s involuntary resettlement policy is increased reliance on national land-take laws, which denies full social and economic risks associated with forced displacement. The paper demonstrates current practices on urban resettlement in Philippines showing how international policy plays a role to change situation from bad to worse or for better. It shows likely consequences of retreat from global safeguards policy to new EES standards. Who wins? Who loses? What does it mean for project- affected-peoples?

12. Open Forum: Options and Contributions to Defend, Improve and Genuinely Update the World Bank’s Resettlement Safeguard Policy

MODERATORS: DOWNING, Theodore E. (INDR), PRICE, Susanna (Australian Nat’l U)

Full INDR Program: PDF