Resettlement is the process by which people who are physically displaced by an infrastructure project are supported to re-establish their housing, living arrangements and livelihoods.

In the context of a planned hydropower project, resettlement may arise when the land most suited to development is owned, occupied or used by local communities.

Resettlement can be a highly sensitive issue and needs to be handled with great care and commitment. It is especially important to ensure that the dignity and human rights of those affected by resettlement are respected.


Resettlement processes are challenging in the best of circumstances, and present real risks to the implementation of a hydropower project. A clear strategy is required to assess, manage and, where possible, avoid any potentially negative impacts on affected communities.

The Hydropower Sustainability Tools together with IHA’s How-to Guide on Hydropower Resettlement can be used to ensure that resettlement is performed in accordance with good practice and with due consideration to affected communities.

Good practice

The Hydropower Sustainability Tools address resettlement and provide guidance on good and best practices in hydropower development.

Good practice is defined as improving the lives of resettlees as well as ensuring that their dignity and human rights are respected at all stages of the resettlement process.

The tools are governed by a multi-stakeholder council, the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council.

How-to guide

The How-to Guide on Hydropower Resettlement provides a strategic overview and guiding principles to help inform the steps of the resettlement process at each stage of the project development cycle.

The guide encourages developers to place adequate weighting on pre-development assessment to evaluate whether resettlement is suitable.

In addition, it encourages developers to take a conscientious, holistic approach to analysing the effects of resettlement and how those affected may be compensated and cultural heritage protected.

Further reading

Learn more about achieving and assessing good practice in resettlement by visiting

Privacy Policy