Development, Displacement and Resettlement

Topics: Forced migration, Displaced person, Three Gorges Dam Pages: 10 (3219 words) Published: April 19, 2013
Displacement, Forced Settlement and Sustainable Development

Anjaly Jolly

‘Development’ is a concept which is contested both theoretically and politically, and is inherently both complex and ambiguous. The term “development” encompasses continuous ‘change’ in a variety of aspects of human society. The dimensions of development are extremely diverse, including economic, social, political, legal and institutional structures, technology in various forms (including the physical or natural sciences, engineering and communications), the environment, religion, the arts and culture. Development-induced displacement and resettlement, subset of forced migration can be defined as forcing of communities and individuals out of their homes, often also their homelands, for the purposes of economic development. It is associated with the construction of dams for hydroelectric power , irrigation purposes and many other activities such as mining ,creation of military installations, airports, industrial plants, railways, road developments, urbanization, conservation projects, forestry, etc. Development-induced displacement is a social problem affecting multiple levels of human organization, from tribal and village communities to well-developed urban areas. Sustainable development refers to a mode of human development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come. It is the forcing of communities and individuals out of their homes, often also their homelands, for the ostensible purpose of social and human development, but which is actually nothing more than "economic growth" and the benefits accruing from such almost never if ever percolate down to the one's that bear its costs. "

There is virtually no limit to what can be called a development project. It can range from a small-scale infrastructure or mining project to a mega hydropower plant construction; can be public or private, well-planned or rushed into. Land-based development initiatives may and often do cause physical and economic displacement that results in impoverishment and disempowerment of affected populations. Despite decades of experience and study on development-induced displacement and resettlement, the severity of the problem persists, with its adverse impacts not yet being effectively addressed. According to Cernea , an American-Romanian social scientist ,there are eight interlinked potential risks intrinsic to displacement and they are: 1. Landlessness, Joblessness and Homelessness: Expropriation of land removes the main foundation upon which people's productive systems, commercial activities, and livelihoods are constructed. The risk of losing wage employment is very high both in urban and rural displacements for those employed in enterprises, services or agriculture. Yet creating new jobs is difficult and requires substantial investment.Loss of shelter tends to be only temporary for many people being resettled; but, for some, homelessness or a worsening in their housing standards remains a lingering condition. In a broader cultural sense, loss of a family's individual home and the loss of a group's cultural space tend to result in alienation and status deprivation. 2. Marginalisation. Marginalisation occurs when families lose economic power and slide downwards: middle-income farm households do not become landless, but become small landholders; small shopkeepers and craftsmen are downsized and slip below poverty thresholds. 3. Increased Morbidity

Vulnerability to illness is increased, and unsafe water supply and wasted systems tend to proliferate infectious diseases. 4. Food Insecurity. Forced uprooting increases the risk that people will fall into chronic food insecurity. Sudden drops...
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