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World Bank promises dam resettlement reform

Reuters News Service
June 23, 1998

(Excerpt)

WASHINGTON, June 23 (Reuters) – The World Bank said on Tuesday some of its dam resettlement programmes were inadequately monitored, and promised to do more to protect the people these projects displace. A study by the bank’s Operations Evaluation Department said resettlement programmes were generally well designed, but that some serious problems arose during implementation. Resettlement programmes were not complied with in some cases, and not properly monitored in others. People moved from their homes were not always compensated for their losses. At one project, government officials used “coercive measures” to evict people from areas about to be flooded. At five of the eight sites surveyed, a majority of the resettlers were “dissatisfied,” the bank said. “The bank’s expanding team of sociologists and resettlement experts were advising from the sidelines in some important cases, and their warnings were often ignored,” the bank said, citing the OED study of World Bank-financed dam projects in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil and Togo. “While the bank’s commitment to sound resettlement is evident …problems were found with the appropriateness of the bank’s intervention and with effective follow-through.”

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