I don’t know much about land access and resettlement, but from what I do know, it will cost way more than you think, something will go hideously wrong, and it will take a lot longer than planned. (Quote from manager of a major mining project)
Projects can have considerable impacts on local communities, chiefly due to the need to acquire large areas of land. When projects are located in developing and middle income economies the impacts are most keenly felt, as it often requires displacement of large, often rural, populations, with predominately land-based livelihoods.
Land access and resettlement is concerned with managing these challenging processes to minimize impacts on communities, mitigate any impacts that do occur, and ideally leave communities better off, through appropriate resettlement, restoration of livelihoods and related initiatives. The ideal result should be mutual gains for communities, companies and governments.
When resettlement is practically unavoidable it must be:
• Carefully and systematically planned from an early stage
• Undertaken with the informed and active participation of displaced persons and other relevant stakeholders.
The goal of a land access and resettlement project is not just to achieve access to the land, but to form a lasting and meaningful partnership with local communities, government and all relevant stakeholders, in order to ensure the future success of a project, and benefits for all.
Regardless of whether resettlement is involuntary or voluntary, the overall objectives, guiding principles, approach and desired outcomes should not be different.