Resettlement News, 23/24

A Historic Landmark in Development: Reflecting on the First Resettlement Policy

Editor's note: Below is the introduction from "A Historic Landmark in Development: Reflecting on the First Resettlement Policy - An Interview with Professor Michael M. Cernea by Professor Hari Mohan Mathur"

Some 30 years ago, a historic landmark was set in the thinking and practice of development. On February1980, the world’s first ever social policy on development-caused forced displacement and resettlement (henceforth, DFDR) was officially adopted by the world's leading development agency. The policy’s name was "Social Issues in World Bank Financed Projects with Involuntary Resettlement," code-named the "Operational Manual Statement (OMS) 2.33."

To mark the 30th anniversary. We invited Professor Michael M. Cernea, who in the late '70s initiated and wrote this policy at the World Bank, for an "interview at distance" to share his recollections and reflections on the policy's genesis, its itinerary over 30 years, and its relevance today. As the interview became a dialogue over time and resulted in a transcript longer than what this Newsletter can publish, we are printing only brief excerpts; the entire transcript will likely be published in a full-size journal. We will inform the Newsletter’s regular readers on where the full dialogue will be published and become available.