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FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Involuntary Resettlement?
Involuntary Resettlement refers to two distinct but related processes. Displacement is a process by which development projects cause people to lose land or other assets, or access to resources. This may result in physical dislocation, loss of income, or other adverse impacts. Resettlement or rehabilitation is a process by which those adversely affected are assisted in their efforts to improve, or at least to restore, their incomes and living standards.

How can it be determined if a project involves resettlement?
In most cases, involuntary resettlement is triggered by land acquisition through eminent domain or other powers of the state. In some instances, people may lose the right to use resources without losing possession of them. Such involuntary loss of access to resources may also be considered involuntary resettlement. A Land Acquisition Assessment, examining present ownership, occupancy and use of land identified for project purposes (including public land) is the most reliable method for determining the extent and scope of resettlement.

Who is entitled to compensation and other forms of assistance?
All persons losing assets or use of resources as a direct result of a Bank-supported project are considered ‘Project Affected People’ entitled to compensation and/or other forms of assistance. This includes people losing land they have held under customary or traditional rights, people utilizing common property resources, squatters residing on public lands, and encroachers deprived of established access to resources, as well as those with formally recognized property rights. It also includes tenants, artisans, and wage earners whose livelihoods or living standards would be adversely affected as a direct result of the project. It does not include persons opportunistically invading a site after disclosure of project plans for the purpose of obtaining assistance.

What kind of planning is required for resettlement?
If it is determined that a project will involve involuntary resettlement, the Bank requires preparation and implementation of a plan to improve, or at least to restore, incomes and living standards of those affected. However, planning requirements vary according to the extent and severity of impacts. If resettlement involves preparation of new residential sites, requires some of those affected to shift to alternative forms of livelihood, or otherwise affects more than 200 people, a full Resettlement Action Plan is required. Otherwise, a simplified plan is acceptable for projects with relatively minor impacts.

What is a RAP?
A RAP, or Resettlement Action Plan, consists of several basic features: a statement of policy principles; a list or matrix indicating eligibility for compensation and other entitlements or forms of assistance; a review of the extent and scope of resettlement, based upon a census/survey of those affected by the project; an implementation plan establishing responsibility for delivery of all forms of assistance, and evaluating the organizational capacity of involved agencies; a resettlement timetable coordinated with the project timetable, assuring (among other things) that compensation and relocation are completed before initiation of civil works; and discussion of opportunities afforded those affected to participate in design and implementation of resettlement, including grievance procedures.

When must a RAP be submitted for Bank legal and technical review?
Because of the complexities inherent in resettlement processes, it is best to begin resettlement planning as are as practicable. In most projects, a draft RAP is submitted to the Bank for legal and technical review during project preappraisal, and Bank approval of a RAP is normally a condition of project appraisal. In some projects with multiple subcomponents, or projects for which final designs cannot be known by appraisal, the Bank requires submission of an acceptable policy framework establishing entitlements and organizational responsibilities by appraisal. Approval of a supplemental RAP based upon final designs and census/survey is then typically a condition of initiating civil works.

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