EBRD launches new Resettlement Guidance and Good Practice publication

By Philippa  Moore

EBRD launches new Resettlement Guidance and Good Practice publication

First major resettlement publication by an IFI in over 10 years

The EBRD has published ‘Resettlement Guidance and Good Practice’, a document providing advice on interpreting and implementing Performance Requirement 5 (PR5): Land Acquisition, Involuntary Resettlement and Economic Displacement under its Environmental and Social Policy.

This is the first major publication of resettlement and livelihood restoration guidance by a development bank in over 10 years.

It shares the EBRD’s relevant experiences and provides practical information to help clients determine the best approach to addressing physical and/or economic displacement for their specific project.

“This is a must read for all resettlement stakeholders. Drawing on good practice examples from eastern Europe, Central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean, it provides plain language, practical advice on designing and implementing resettlement programmes,” said Robert Barclay, a resettlement specialist with over 25 years international consulting experience.

‘Resettlement Guidance and Good Practice’ is relevant to all sectors and project types, and may also be beneficial for affected people, consultants, stakeholders and civil society.

“The EBRD’s publication is a very welcome addition to our knowledge about the challenges of involuntary resettlement,” said Reidar Kvam, Advisor to the IDB’s Environment and Social Safeguards Unit and formerly of the World Bank.

“There is a wealth of advice here, and it will be of great value to decision-makers and practitioners in the field.”

Helping our clients manage resettlement with care

Over the years, many of the EBRD’s clients have identified a need for guidance in this area. So, rather than duplicate existing handbooks and ‘how to’ guides, the Bank’s Environmental and Sustainability Department (ESD) designed this comprehensive document to address the most common challenges in a resettlement/livelihood restoration scenario. 

The guide outlines how to manage these issues and also provides links to additional resources and template documents such as censuses and surveys.

While the focus is on the EBRD’s countries of operations, the information in the document could be applicable to any resettlement process. 

“Resettlement is challenging, but it can bring about many positive changes if it is done well,” explained Michaela Bergman, Chief Counsellor for Social Issues at the EBRD.

“Because resettlement involves people and their daily lives, it is impossible to apply a cookie cutter approach that will work for every scenario. There are as many different resettlement scenarios as there are affected people. So our aim with this guidance document was to really encourage the audience to put themselves in the shoes of affected people so they can understand just how crucial it is for their views and needs to be placed at the centre of the resettlement process.” 

Frederic Giovannetti, a freelance resettlement consultant who has worked on projects in 57 different countries, agreed.

“In my practice as a resettlement professional, the EBRD’s ‘Resettlement Guidance and Good Practice’ reminds me of one simple thing that I should never forget: what if it were my land and house that were being taken away? Two days ago I was conducting a negotiation meeting with a group of affected people in Africa, and just remembering this changed my perspective.”

Thinking outside the box

The aim of any resettlement process should be to minimise negative impacts and maximise development opportunities.

Therefore the key messages of ‘Resettlement Guidance and Good Practice’ are addressing both physical and economic displacement; livelihood restoration (resettlement often means that people lose land they rely on for their income); making provisions for vulnerable people or groups; the process for replacing land and assets; and managing compensation entitlements in a fair and transparent way.

“The aim is to encourage those involved in resettlement to approach it in a practical way and to think outside the box,” said Rachelle Marburg, social adviser in the EBRD’s Environmental and Social department and project manager for the document.

“Hopefully our guidance document will give our clients a roadmap for the key issues to think about when they encounter it in their projects.

“Involving the Bank as early as possible is always a good idea – the EBRD has a lot of relevant experience in resettlement and we are here to help our clients in this process and guide them through the best approach and committing the appropriate resources to make resettlement, when it cannot be avoided, a success for everyone involved.”