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Gender considerations in the restoration of livelihoods: resettlement from hydropower

Jamie Skinner

IIED Briefing, 4 pages

Following a review of existing policies and outcomes of resettlement approaches for large hydropower dams, we suggest how incorporating the gendered dimension of resettlement can improve these policies to help women and men successfully restore their livelihoods. Large hydropower projects often force communities from their traditional lands when reservoirs flood and homes and their surroundings are submerged. Even where compensation and resettlement are well designed, plans and legislation tend to be gender blind. Often, these plans do not recognise the different roles of men and women in the household, and do not benefit each group equally. The ways compensation payments are made, and involuntary resettlement is managed, tend to reinforce some roles and diminish others. Hydropower projects should seek to empower and support both men and women’s livelihoods simultaneously to achieve successful resettlement outcomes.

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Agriculture in large-scale rice irrigation schemes needs to be made to work for both the state, in terms of economic returns and national food security, and for the smallholders whose livelihoods depend on it. When it comes to the development of new dams and large-scale irrigation, more information is needed about their economic viability and how the water, land, and economic benefits can be shared equitably to support local development.

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