Lose to Gain: Is Involuntary Resettlement a Development Opportunity?

Publication | April 2014
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This book assesses the adequacy of conventional compensation and resettlement assistance programs to help policy makers, project sponsors, and project executing agencies improve resettlement planning and implementation programs and assist in reforming resettlement policies and land laws.

A crucial issue that confronts development in South Asia is how to build a better life for people displaced by infrastructure development projects, focusing on their resettlement. In this book, "resettlement" carries a broader meaning to include physical and economic displacement, restricted access to public land such as forests and parks, relocation, income rehabilitation, and self-relocation.


This book comprises recent displacement and resettlement case studies conducted by eight anthropologists in South Asia. Each contributor wrote around the key theme of the book: Is involuntary resettlement a development opportunity for those displaced by development interventions? The book demonstrates that despite significant progress in national policies, laws, and regulations, their application still requires more commitment, adequate resources, and better supervision.

Resettlement policy

ADB’s involuntary resettlement policy shares several international best practices with the involuntary resettlement policies of several international and regional development agencies. Among these best practices are

  • involuntary displacement should be avoided or minimized;
  • where displacement of persons is inevitable in the context of a specific project, they will be compensated for their losses at full replacement cost;
  • assistance should be given to displaced persons to move and support them during the transition period; and
  • assistance should be provided to displaced persons to restore their former living standards, and improve their income-earning capacity and production levels.

As the book points out, during the past several decades, developing member countries in South Asia have adopted these international best practices on involuntary displacement and resettlement on their own initiative and with the help of international development agencies such as ADB.


  • Introduction
  • Negotiating Impoverishment Risks through Informal Social Structures and Practices
  • Displacement through Limiting Access to Forests: A Socio-Legal Analysis
  • Living Displaced: Post-Displacement Livelihood Strategies of Displaced Muslims in Sri Lanka
  • Resettlement Planning and Pre-Displacement Impoverishment
  • Why Compensation Is Not Enough toMake Resettlement a Development Opportunity?
  • Reconstructing and Improving Livelihoods among the Urban Displaced: Lessons from Mumbai, India
  • Income Restoration and Livelihood Development: Impoverishment Risk or a Development Opportunity?
  • Compensation, Replacement Cost, and Post-Resettlement Impoverishment
  • Development-Induced Displacement and Resettlement: Experiences of the People’s Republic of China and India
  • Index

Additional Details

  • ADB administration and governance
  • Safeguards
  • Social development and protection
  • Bangladesh
  • China, People's Republic of
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • 234
  • 6 x 9
  • BKK135930
  • 978-92-9254-355-6 (print)
  • 978-92-9254-356-3 (electronic)

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