Five ‘big’ issues for land access, resettlement and livelihood restoration practice: findings of an international symposium (2015)

Eddie Smyth, Michael Steyn, Ana Maria Esteves, Daniel M. Franks & Kemal Vaz, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 2015

This paper synthesises findings of the IAIA Symposium on Resettlement and Livelihoods in South Africa, October 2014. Over 250 practitioners from 42 countries attended, representing governments, private sector, academia, impacted communities, civil society international financial institutions (IFIs) and consultants.

Five ‘big’ themes emerged:

  1. Land access and resettlement practice falls short of community expectations, with negative impacts on livelihoods of displaced people, absence of meaningful involvement by communities in decision-making and inadequate benefits from projects.
  2. The best practice standards of IFIs are converging. Countries are also increasingly putting in place legislation, but there remains significant scope to improve legislative frameworks and align them closer with international good practice.
  3. Livelihood restoration is not being properly planned or implemented. Finding replacement land is increasingly difficult. Women, youth and the vulnerable need more of a voice and more livelihood support. Livelihood restoration is a long-term process and can be better integrated with broader community development efforts.
  4. Projects need to start planning and engagement early and more thoroughly.
  5. Resettlement practice is improving but requires more resources.

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