Resettlement is the process of moving people to a different place to live when, due to the project, they are no longer allowed to stay in the area in which they were residing. It is good practice to avoid involuntary resettlement and, when unavoidable, to minimise it through different project siting and design alternatives during the preparation stage.
A Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) is a document or set of documents outlining the actions that will be taken to address resettlement. Practical examples of resettlement measures include provision of better-quality housing, livelihood support, better access to natural resources or areas of importance to the community and construction of community assets like health clinics, schools and community centres.
Adhering to good practice in resettlement can help projects ensure that the dignity and human rights of those physically displaced are respected, that these matters are dealt with in a fair and equitable manner, that livelihoods and standards of living for resettlees and host communities are improved and that commitments made to resettlees and host communities are fulfilled.
Understanding good practice
International industry good practice in resettlement for hydropower projects is defined in the Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP).
The guidelines were published by the International Hydropower Association and are governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a multi-stakeholder group of representatives of civil society, industry, governments and financial institutions.
Assessing project performance
Two assessment tools are available to measure hydropower project performance:
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) is used by independent accredited assessors to consider whether a project has achieved good and best practice at different stages of its life cycle. Resettlement is addressed in P-14 for the preparation stage, I-10 for the implementation stage and O-10 for the operation stage.
The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool is used by independent accredited assessors to help project teams address any gaps against good practice in environmental, social and governance topics across 12 assessment sections. Resettlement is addressed in Section 5.