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close this bookResettlement of Displaced Population - 1st Edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 1995, 60 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPart 1: Displacement
Open this folder and view contentsPart 2: Resettlement: ''settledness''
Open this folder and view contentsPart 3: Resettlement: factors that influence recovery
Open this folder and view contentsPart 4: Options of place
Open this folder and view contentsPart 5: Program strategies to aid resettlement & recovery
View the documentCONCLUSION
View the documentAnnex: A tool for resettlement assistance planning


Purpose and scope

This training module, Resettlement of Displaced Populations, is designed for UN organization professionals who form United Nations national disaster management teams and others involved in development assistance efforts. Government counterpart agencies, NGOs and donors may also find the materials of use.

The purpose of this training module is to introduce basic concepts concerning the provision of assistance to enhance the recovery of people forced to leave their homes in emergency situations.

This module is designed to help you:

· understand the phenomena of displacement
· define the concept of resettlement
· identify assistance roles of national and international organizations in recovery
· review the factors that influence recovery
· identify program strategy options for resettlement

This publication has two companion modules. Displaced Persons in Civil Conflict addresses emergency assistance and operational issues in conflict situations. Rehabilitation and Reconstruction is primarily concerned with recovery after rapid onset disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, but much of the information provided and principles suggested are applicable to recovery from displacement created by other causes.

Definitions and scope

The following working definitions have been adopted. Displacement means a change in location induced by duress or crisis. Displaced persons refers to those individuals who have changed residence locations under such conditions. The term resettlement refers to the processes whereby children, women and men who have been displaced are re-established in a new location or once again "settled." A discussion of these concepts is provided in Parts 1 and 2.

As reflected by the above definitions, an attempt is made throughout this module to adopt general and informal, rather than narrow and technical, word usage. For example, resettlement, in the vocabulary used by refugee assistance agencies, refers to the movement of refugees to a third country rather than repatriation to home country or settlement in country of asylum. In discussions of other types of displacement situations, however, resettlement refers more generally to re-establishment, and this usage is adopted in this overview because of its more general nature.

United Nations staff members and partner agencies are often faced with resettlement concerns relating to various types of displacement. This module adopts the broad view as a basis for problem definition and for policy and program development. It presents a generic overview of resettlement, recognizing that displaced persons are also referred to by other names such as internal refugees, external refugees, internally displaced, externally displaced, refugees, illegal immigrants, squatters, oustees (people displaced by development projects), evacuees, forced migrants, homeless and expellees. In order to focus on general issues, categories of displaced persons are not discussed separately in this module and an effort has been made to minimize the use of category-specific labels.

Reasons for concern

Past experience also confirms that, despite best intentions, many resettlement efforts have become problematic disappointments.

Staff members of United Nations agencies, NGOs and government agencies encounter many situations in which people are displaced from their homes in crisis situations. Policy-makers and program implementors must then grapple with questions concerning resettlement assistance and how and when it should be provided.

Experience confirms that assistance can be provided in ways that contribute positively to the recovery process. Agencies can help displaced persons reintegrate and attain self-sufficiency. Past experience also confirms that, despite best intentions, many resettlement efforts have become problematic disappointments. Less successful resettlement efforts have left displaced persons marginalized and with a diminished quality of life. Sometimes it has increased societal conflict in the very communities it attempted to help. Moreover, unsuccessful resettlement efforts have resulted in a loss of goodwill and resources.


Part 1 of this module reviews the characteristics of the displacement phenomena. This material should enhance your ability to define the problem of displacement as a basis for offering humanitarian assistance. Part 2 offers a concept of resettlement. Part 3 discusses factors which influence recovery. Part 4 aids policy makers and program implementors in their consideration of resettlement location. Part 5 briefly summarizes key program strategies to aid resettlement and recovery.

Training methods

This module is intended for two audiences, the self-study learner and the participant in a training workshop. The following training methods are planned for use in workshops and are simulated in the accompanying "trainer's guide." For the self-study learner the text is as close to a tutor as can be managed in print.


Workshop training methods include:

· group discussion
· simulations/role plays
· supplementary handouts
· videos
· review sessions
· self-assessment exercises

The self-study learner is invited to use this text as a workbook. In addition to note-taking in the margins, you will be given the opportunity to stop and examine your learning along the way through questions included in the text. Write down your answers to these questions before proceeding to ensure that you have captured key points in the text.