Inspection Panel – emerging lessons on involuntary resettlement

12 April 2016

18 April 2016 | Minutes

Franciscus Godts, Executive Director, World Bank (moderator)

Gonzalo Castro de la Mata, Chairman, Inspection Panel

Alberto Ninio, General Counsel for Operations, World Bank

Michael Cernea, Former World Bank Senior Advisor for Social Policies; Research Professor of Social Anthropology, GWU


Link to report click here


Franciscus Godts

  • Inspection Panel has registered 85 cases to date
  • The report series look back over Panel’s 25 years, how to enhance the work of the WB

Gonzalo Castro de la Mata

  • IPN created by the board in 1993 to provide an opportunity for people to complain harm, ensure compliance with WB policies and procedures
  • Independent from WB in process and findings, reporting to board
  • 22 years, 105 requests received
  • emerging lessons series reflect on Panel’s years, upcoming reports include indigenous peoples
  • 34 cases investigated, 22 involving involuntary resettlement (21 investigated, 1 pilot)
  • first lesson: accurate scoping of risks
    • often underrepresented in PAD
    • should not be one off but continuously adjusted
  • often projects don’t accurately analyse the impact area
  • addressing legacy issues, eg Bujagali in Uganda, previous project had resettled people but no clear assessment
  • understanding the legal framework and institutional capacity, eg Kenya Sengwer case
  • addressing unique risks with land administration and management activities, eg Albania coastal zone project
  • carrying out meaningful baseline studies, eg Nigeria West African Gas Pipeline
  • Second lesson: importance of meaningful consultation and participation
  • Eg Mumbai Urban Transport Project
  • Adequate and timely disclosure of information: eg Nepal Power Development project, disclosure in Nepali only available several years later
  • Third lesson: choice of the appropriate resettlement instrument
  • Choosing the instrument, eg Ghana Second Urban Environment Sanitation Project, no RAP
  • Fourth lesson: active supervision is necessary to effectively identify and resolve problems
  • Supervising the implementation of resettlement instruments, eg Cambodia Boeung Kak Lake
  • Fifth lesson: compensation for PAPs needs to be timely and based on sound valuation methodologies
  • Proper valuation, eg Nigeria West African Gas pipeline
  • Timely compensation, eg Nepal Power Development Project, not compensated by the time the project closed
  • Sixth lesson: to be effective a grievance redress mechanism needs to be accessible reliable and transparent
  • Effective GRMS, eg India Vishnugad Pipalkoti
  • Seventh lesson: livelihood restoration works best when transitional support, development assistance, and culturally appropriate resettlement alternatives are provided
  • Development assistance and transitional support, eg Kenya Electricity Expansion Project, Olkaria
  • Cultural factors, eg same project, lack of understanding of Maasai pastoralists
  • Impact monitoring and evaluation, eg Cambodia land management and administration project, M&E system was delayed
  • Conclusions:
    • Panel’s mandate is to respond to complaints, the sample may not represent the Bank’s overall experience, but similar issues identified in other reviews
    • Ultimate policy goal of conceiving and executing resettlement as sustainable development programmes has not been achieved in many of the cases investigated
    • Better analysis of the full economics of resettlement is needed beyond project costs and budgets, including what it takes to restore livelihoods
    • Many recurring lessons point to involuntary resettlement as one of the most challenging aspects o development
    • Cases have positively influenced WB practice

Alberto Ninio

  • worked for the Panel and on majority of cases received by the Panel, returned to the WB last year
  • no disagreement on the conclusions, we can do better, but resettlement is the most difficult issue – becomes personal
  • need to do things better as a results of the reviews, identified at least four big areas, improvement in documentation, accessibility of resettlement documents, increase resources, help countries improve their resettlement guidelines
  • success with environmental impact assessments
  • local background is important
  • risk assessment crucial for resettlement, checks and balances, technical expertise, skills development, institutional leadership, resettlement planning, management and supervision

Michael Cernea

  • former WB staff, criticising with pain, feel as part of the WB, but need to as the performance is not what it should be – in particular in resettlement, a real sting on the record and performance of the WB
  • risks imposed by people resettled
  • Panel important work synthesising the lessons, general lessons need to be distilled
  • involuntary resettlement, single most difficult social and economic part of the WB work – risks are indisputably the most toxic of all risks, because it means displacement, annihilation of the productive system, once a system is destroyed, it is creative destruction – need to be done in ways that are not destructive to the people
  • 20 out of 21 projects covered by the report, have been found 90% as failing to do correct risk scoping, is inadequate – are bound to make a lot of mistakes, cannot manage risks that are not identified
  • different degrees of not identifying risks, from mild to dishonest hiding of risks – board need to know this
  • 50% of the identified projects with resettlement risks, had not listed resettlement in the risk assessment matrix, and not just one risk – misinforming the board and WB management
  • important to identify the risks, entire WB policy not necessarily the risk, risk not caused by the WB, intrinsic caused by resettlement – creating land for industry, roads, etc
  • there are risks, our responsibility is to identify the risks, and design alternatives
  • can’t do resettlement plan unless you start with the risks that you need to mitigate
  • what are the risks – essence has been established by the WB 22 years ago, risks of impoverishment
  • at that time the WB board congratulated the task force, impoverishment risks and reconstruction, WB board endorsed it, addressed the most common risks
  • model offers predictability, has to use as a tool, but the model was abandoned – is not practiced
  • also site specific risks, sectoral specific risks, etc, which also need to be identified
  • resistance to using this model, but should require to use the tool of the WB which was approved by the board
  • risks are not discussed so there are no proposals on how to overcome
  • WB’s resettlement audits, even after a year that they were disclosed don’t have a new report on how the findings are implemented
  • remedy which we provide, compensation, has been proven to be insufficient – same envelope to restore and to improve
  • need to improve the policy, increase resources for supervision – people’s existence at stake



105 requests for investigation, brace yourself for Africa, will be more complaints. Suggestion if expertise and more manpower is necessary, pay more attention to recruiting indigenous peoples understanding the culture and language.

From Nigeria, evictee of Badia East, in our case we were not resettled, was affected 2013, but to date many of us are sleeping outside, risks including no school, rape. People are dying every day in our community. We have asked for the Panel to come, we were given the pilot process that didn’t work. Women going into sex work to be able to take care of children. No prior notice to any of the community members, the whole thing was new to us. We were supposed to benefit from the project, we should be given at least what we had, but we are still sleeping outside. I had a home before the project, now I don’t have a home.

Avoiding resettlement in the first place, on lessons learned and identifying risks, WB not responsible for the risks but for mitigating the risks – but has the WB done enough to identify the risks and provide alternative analysis that would not require resettlement.


  • most questions are for the management, and for the board
  • had a long conversation re Badia East yesterday and have visited – what happened should never had happened
  • we addressed with the pilot process, efforts toward immediate relief, aware the relief was insufficient – pilot in this case was the most useful outcome, but not enough
  • there has been publications and round tables regarding the pilot, we will do an independent evaluation once we have three cases – now we have two


  • the first thing WB staff do is to look to avoid resettlement, the immense impact on lives as well as costs
  • systematically looking at it in projects I have been involved in, but probably not always


  • importance of culture, and how certain cultures prevents targeted groups to be vocal enough, have to be careful about this
  • counterpart of this is economics, issues are in fact fundamental economic issues
  • assets, compensation, allocate investments to reconstruct, social community not equipped to do that
  • says believe in market, but resettlement predicated on non market, not an economic transaction – don’t want to waste time on this
  • but this is not a response – have a very important role in analysing the economics of resettlement
  • the safeguards policies are policies against externalities, transferring project costs
  • WB against externalities, but have not been studied, should include in research plan and how they are dealt with in safeguard policies – how to construct the economics of resettlement
  • compensation is not an investment, resettlement is a pay back to what you destroy
  • need to invest to reconstruct, the colleagues in finance bear the brunt of this difficult work

Q: What is the place WB is giving to the Panel, this emerging lessons can they be used as a minimum standard for future projects?


  • the Panel reports to the board, we listen to the Panel
  • so many issues linked to resettlement, take all points into account from report, but not seeing one standard

Q: Feasibility studies weren’t done or not taking in the social impact. People here come from these countries that could have helped, rather than superimposing so called expert from WB. Need to take into account social implications, not just figures.


  • more use of local experts, WB since early 90’s support decentralisation, can’t always use local knowledge, need training and capacity building

Maninder Gill, director of social development (from floor):

  • resettlement is when everything is happening at the same time. Needs to be seen as an impact that is distinct, challenging to address this.
  • huge responsibility on all of us, to make sure we do our best to address this as well to the best of ability. Now have more than a 100 staff working on these issues, in contrast to the early 90s – we have made progress, not enough, we are far behind where we should be. Now recruiting more social scientists. Will only work if all of us from our different perspectives engage – need to work together.
  • setting up a working group with Oxfam, BIC and others, those interested should join this endeavour. All of us need to pitch in to make it better.

Q: From DRC, based on presentation there seem to be a systemic issue within the WB regarding planning and implementation, what image is the WB portraying externally. Lack of coordination probably impact on how projects are implemented on the ground. Involuntary resettlement, by using this is it involuntary on both people on the ground and other, what is the ethic of this? Ethic on social impact, were not put into consideration when designing the project.


  • how difficult is it for the social community Maninder leads to deal with resettlement, not a problem of the social community alone – this must be made clear
  • its not the social community that triggers the problems, it’s the technical part – that support does not exist in very many cases
  • WB VP for auditing wrote a report, saying that social specialists are not properly treated by their colleagues, sometimes not listened to, someone else writes the text – not a good treatment, they are not the culprits
  • economists do not participate, no resettlement plan undergoes an economic feasibility analysis
  • resettlement action plan without economic feasibility is a simple wish list
  • a summary of a policy is not a set of actions that need to be carried out
  • the resettlement policy framework does not result in a resettlement policy action plan


  • frameworks are part of the approved policy of the WB
  • WB recent restructuring impacts the coordination
  • Implementation important, not sole responsibility of the WB, also the country – need to do it together
  • Involuntary resettlement, what is the definition of involuntary – if the person is happy it is not involuntary
  • Compensation is not a favour, it is a right


  • the problem of investing in resettlement is a task of the government, but have to convince the government that they have to invest in their own people