The World Bank’s development projects aim to help promote economic growth, reduce poverty, and achieve better living standards. Such projects, however, can disrupt the lives of those living in and near project areas. These disruptions can affect the environment and communities, be positive or negative, temporary or permanent. Development projects, especially those relating to infrastructure, sometimes create impacts that can require timely and appropriate mitigation and adaptation. Households affected by projects have different socioeconomic characteristics and living standards. Households may be composed of members who could either contribute to the family income or generate an income that is solely theirs or are dependent on a single person’s livelihood. Livelihoods can derive from formal and/or informal activities, and each Project-Affected Person (PAP) can have multiple sources of income. In some cases, a person’s livelihood—such as fishing, hunting, gathering of forest produce, and/or gardening—focuses on basic sustenance. Changes in livelihood caused by a project can be felt differently by the individuals within a single household. Cognizant of a project’s capacity to disrupt a community and its potential to affect livelihoods and standards of living, the World Bank (the “Bank”) has adopted environmental and social policies designed to avoid such impacts—or when that is not possible, to minimize, mitigate, and compensate for them. Impact to livelihood can be direct or indirect. When such impact is directly stemming from involuntary resettlement, it is addressed through the application of the Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Operational Policy (OP 4.12), which was later replaced by the Environmental and Social Standard (ESS) 5 on Land Acquisition and Restrictions on Land Use and Involuntary Resettlement of the Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF). When the impact is not directly resulting from land acquisition or land use restrictions, it is addressed by the requirements of the Bank’s Environmental Assessment Operational Policy (OP 4.01), which has been similarly replaced by the ESS 1 on Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts of the ESF. This Report discusses some of the issues, challenges and complexities based on recent World Bank Inspection Panel cases associated with: i. livelihood restoration resulting from the taking of land or restrictions of access to legally designated parks and protected areas, and ii. livelihood restoration measures to address losses not directly related to involuntary resettlement—for example, fishing communities whose livelihoods are affected by restrictions on certain fishing techniques. This Report draws on Requests for Inspection, particularly those received since 2017, in which livelihood restoration was raised as a topic. Involuntary resettlement has been one of the top five areas of concern in Requests for Inspection since the Panel’s establishment in 1993. For this reason, in 2016 the Panel published an Advisory Report on Involuntary Resettlement as part of its Emerging Lesson series.4 In recent years, the Panel observed that livelihood restoration was raised in many complaints, independent of whether the households concerned by these complaints were economically or physically displaced. Since January 2017, the Panel has received 49 Requests for Inspection. In some instances, the Panel received multiple Requests regarding a given project. For this Report’s purposes, when two or more Requests for Inspection regarding a project were processed jointly to address similar issues on the same project, these Requests have been presented as a single case. Of the 39 cases considered in this report, 23 (59 percent) were registered and the Panel recommended an investigation in nine of them. Nearly three-quarters of the cases received since January 2017—29 of 39—raised issues relating to loss of livelihood. And all the cases that the Panel recommended for investigation included loss of livelihood as a central issue (See Annex 1). Of the 29 cases related to livelihood, 11 (38 percent) raised issues relating to land-based livelihoods, eight (28 percent) related to impact on communal resources such as forests, three cases (eight percent) complained about impact on fish stock and fishing activities, and some cases raised multiple livelihood issues. Six cases (21 percent) had livelihood issues involving different demographics. Therefore, the discussion in this advisory draws from several Panel cases that involved diverse concerns about project impacts on livelihood.

Ensuring Development while Securing Livelihoods: Lessons Learned and Considerations From Panel Cases

Resource Key: 9DRKKSA4

Document Type: Report

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  • World Bank

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Place: Washington D.C.

Institution: World Bank & The Inspection Panel

Date: October 2023

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The World Bank’s development projects aim to help promote economic growth, reduce poverty, and achieve better living standards. Such projects, however, can disrupt the lives of those living in and near project areas. These disruptions can affect the environment and communities, be positive or negative, temporary or permanent. Development projects, especially those relating to infrastructure, sometimes create impacts that can require timely and appropriate mitigation and adaptation. Households affected by projects have different socioeconomic characteristics and living standards. Households may be composed of members who could either contribute to the family income or generate an income that is solely theirs or are dependent on a single person’s livelihood. Livelihoods can derive from formal and/or informal activities, and each Project-Affected Person (PAP) can have multiple sources of income. In some cases, a person’s livelihood—such as fishing, hunting, gathering of forest produce, and/or gardening—focuses on basic sustenance. Changes in livelihood caused by a project can be felt differently by the individuals within a single household. Cognizant of a project’s capacity to disrupt a community and its potential to affect livelihoods and standards of living, the World Bank (the “Bank”) has adopted environmental and social policies designed to avoid such impacts—or when that is not possible, to minimize, mitigate, and compensate for them. Impact to livelihood can be direct or indirect. When such impact is directly stemming from involuntary resettlement, it is addressed through the application of the Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Operational Policy (OP 4.12), which was later replaced by the Environmental and Social Standard (ESS) 5 on Land Acquisition and Restrictions on Land Use and Involuntary Resettlement of the Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF). When the impact is not directly resulting from land acquisition or land use restrictions, it is addressed by the requirements of the Bank’s Environmental Assessment Operational Policy (OP 4.01), which has been similarly replaced by the ESS 1 on Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts of the ESF. This Report discusses some of the issues, challenges and complexities based on recent World Bank Inspection Panel cases associated with: i. livelihood restoration resulting from the taking of land or restrictions of access to legally designated parks and protected areas, and ii. livelihood restoration measures to address losses not directly related to involuntary resettlement—for example, fishing communities whose livelihoods are affected by restrictions on certain fishing techniques. This Report draws on Requests for Inspection, particularly those received since 2017, in which livelihood restoration was raised as a topic. Involuntary resettlement has been one of the top five areas of concern in Requests for Inspection since the Panel’s establishment in 1993. For this reason, in 2016 the Panel published an Advisory Report on Involuntary Resettlement as part of its Emerging Lesson series.4 In recent years, the Panel observed that livelihood restoration was raised in many complaints, independent of whether the households concerned by these complaints were economically or physically displaced. Since January 2017, the Panel has received 49 Requests for Inspection. In some instances, the Panel received multiple Requests regarding a given project. For this Report’s purposes, when two or more Requests for Inspection regarding a project were processed jointly to address similar issues on the same project, these Requests have been presented as a single case. Of the 39 cases considered in this report, 23 (59 percent) were registered and the Panel recommended an investigation in nine of them. Nearly three-quarters of the cases received since January 2017—29 of 39—raised issues relating to loss of livelihood. And all the cases that the Panel recommended for investigation included loss of livelihood as a central issue (See Annex 1). Of the 29 cases related to livelihood, 11 (38 percent) raised issues relating to land-based livelihoods, eight (28 percent) related to impact on communal resources such as forests, three cases (eight percent) complained about impact on fish stock and fishing activities, and some cases raised multiple livelihood issues. Six cases (21 percent) had livelihood issues involving different demographics. Therefore, the discussion in this advisory draws from several Panel cases that involved diverse concerns about project impacts on livelihood.

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