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Compensation and Resettlement Policies after Compulsory Land Acquisition for Hydropower Development in Vietnam: Policy and Practice


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Under Vietnam’s State land ownership regime, the Government holds supreme authority over compulsory land acquisition. The results show that many improvements in land acquisition policies have been made, but poor implementation measures largely cannot prevent or even mitigate the adverse impacts on displaced persons. In particular, ineffective compensation measures and a lack of production land and livelihood alternatives accelerate the resistance of communities displaced as a result of hydropower development. The close alliance between the local government and the investor, which is considered as an “interest group”, is the main factor that leads to the ignorance of benefits of displaced people within the compulsory land acquisition process.
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Land 2013, 2, 678-704; doi:10.3390/land2040678
ISSN 2073-445X
Compensation and Resettlement Policies after Compulsory
Land Acquisition for Hydropower Development in Vietnam:
Policy and Practice
Pham Huu Ty 1,*, A. C. M. Van Westen 2 and Annelies Zoomers 2
1 Faculty of Land Resource and Agricultural Environment, College of Agriculture and Forestry,
Hue University, 102 Phung Hung, Hue City 84.54, Vietnam
2 International Development Studies, Faculty of Geoscience, Utrecht University, Utrecht 3584CS,
The Netherlands; E-Mails: (A.C.M.V.W.); (A.Z.)
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail:;
Tel.: +84-54-389-7238 or +84-934-810-567; Fax: +84-54-351-4923.
Received: 7 October 2013; in revised form: 8 November 2013 / Accepted: 11 November 2013 /
Published: 22 November 2013
Abstract: lds supreme
authority over compulsory land acquisition. The results show that many improvements in
land acquisition policies have been made, but poor implementation measures largely
cannot prevent or even mitigate the adverse impacts on displaced persons. In particular,
ineffective compensation measures and a lack of production land and livelihood
alternatives accelerate the resistance of communities displaced as a result of hydropower
development. The close alliance between the local government and the investor, which is
of displaced people within the compulsory land acquisition process.
Keywords: compensation; resettlement; grievance; interest group
1. Introduction
There are increasing global concerns surrounding compulsory land acquisition in the public
interest [1]. Acquisition may inflict many adverse impacts on populations whose lands are
expropriated [25] including loss of income and job opportunities (farm and non-farm jobs), a loss of
livelihood assets (land, common pool resources), as well as access to public services, and the
Land 2013, 2 679
breaking-down of social networks [610]. Land acquisition indirectly produces effects related to
wealth redistribution; as farmers receive different levels of compensation, severe tensions arise between
governments and farmers that burden the implementation of land policy and planning [1012]. The
indirect impacts of compulsory land acquisition also may be substantial [11,10]. In some cases, food
insecurity is a serious problem arising from compulsory land acquisition [4,13,14]. Social injustice
arising from land acquisition is primarily related to inconsistencies in compensation policies in both
horizontal and vertical dimensions. The former refers to variations that exist in the type
and amount of land loss compensation received between different affected people whereas the
latter implies differences in compensation types and amounts over time [15]. In spite of formal
protestations, most forcibly displaced people are left poorer than before displacement. As a result, the
so often used to justify forced evictionmay be challenged. If the
government of Vietnam aims to increase energy security and improve livelihoods through eviction,
it is crucial to explore the causes of this paradox and to search for solutions that turn forced
displacement into smart development opportunities [16].
The legal framework for land acquisition of Vietnam has seen significant improvements since
1993 [1724]. From a country that did not have a land market in the 1980s, Vietnam shifted to a
market-oriented land system. The most significant change was introduced through the 2003 Land Law
that granted land users more rights, especially the right to compensation. More importantly, decision
34/2010/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister in 2010 laid out the foundations for compensation, support,
and resettlement with respect to irrigation and hydropower projects; herein the criteria for
compensation, support, and resettlement schemes were rigorously elaborated. However, land has
become one of the most important issues in recent years; Vietnam is not an exception in the global
context of compulsory land acquisitions. The issue is the subject of increasing debate across the
country in the run up to the new land law, which will be issued by the National Assembly of Vietnam
in 2013. The foremost reason for contention is inadequate compensation and poor resettlement
planning that generates hundreds of thousands of grievances annually and in turn reduces the trust of
citizens in the political system of Vietnam. From 2008 to 2011, central and local authorities together
received about 1.57 million grievances of which some 42 percent was addressed. Recently, the
resistance of evicted people has become fiercer. Land loss protesters dress in red, wave flags, and
unfurl banners at Government offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, especially during times of
important political events [25].
Land acquisition for hydropower dam construction is a good example to showcase these issues.
Hydropower is viewed as an effective means to increase national energy security and thus within
the public interest that can make use of the compulsory eviction mechanism. The recent survey by
MOIT [26] shows that there are 1,237 hydropower projects; within this figure, 899 are large-scale
hydropower dams generating 24,888 MW of electricity. To date, 260 projects are operational, 211 plants
are under construction to operate by 2017, and the rest is being licensed and registered. Additionally,
there are 452 small-scale hydroelectricity plants either operating or under construction across
the country. The construction of hydropower dams has displaced 44,557 households or about
200,000 people [17] and expropriated 133,930 hectares of land. Although hydropower dams have the
potential to bring benefits in terms of power supply, flood control, and irrigation, their construction can
harm ecosystems [3,27] and uproot local communities [2831]. In fact, Scudder [32] claimed that large
Land 2013, 2 680
dam construction continues to cause impoverishment for resettled communities as well as and
negatively affect millions of people living downstream. Also, a majority of studies revealed that the
substantial losses in paddy land, sloping land, forests, grass fields, and water spaces lead to significant
declines in farm outputs, as well as on-farm and off-farm income [17,18,20,3336]. A salient feature
of these displacements is that some 90 percent of the affected people in Vietnam belong to minority
ethnic groups living in mountainous areas [33]. Although the MOIT survey [26] does not explicitly
mention the number of grievances caused by hydropower projects, it reveals that there is a significant
increase every year.
The question is that the State takes highly consideration on improving legal framework but these
policies cannot put into practice to ensure the equitable development among the State, developers, and
displaced persons in the case of hydropower dam development. Therefore, the objectives of this paper
are to investigate issues generated by hydropower dam construction and displacement, or more
specifically by resettlement and compensation schemes associated with hydro dams and to examine the
root causes of these problems.
Following this introduction, we review important theories and concepts formulated to analyse the
issues surrounding the compensation and resettlement plan. After that, we discuss the legal framework
of land acquisition and the gap between policy and praxis. Then, we introduce about the case study on
the A Luoi dam and the displacement it has caused, in which we elaborate the mechanisms of
land acquisition, compensation, and resettlement and summarise the problems that have been voiced
against the compensation and resettlement process. The causes of these problems are presented in the
subsequent section. Finally, following empirical evidence, we discuss the root causes of these issues
and their implications for resettled people and then draw conclusions from the discussion.
2. Analytical Framework
Following negative experiences in the past, when some of its large-scale dam construction projects
sometimes had negative social and environmental consequences, the World Bank has emerged as an
authority in careful design of planning procedures. The revised involuntary resettlement objectives of
the World Bank in 2013 [37] 
their livelihoods and standards of living or at least to restore them, in real terms, to pre-displacement
   
When compulsory displacement becomes inescapable, resettlement objectives must include minimised
social risks and shocks, damage, and suffering; the protection of resettled people's well-being and
rights; a facilitation of their rehabilitation among new hosts; and support for redevelopment and
improved livelihoods at arrival sites [38]. To avoid impoverishment, good policy, proper resettlement
planning and adequate resource allocation are critical [6,24,3941]. The principle of Free, Prior, and
Informed Consent (FPIC) as a precondition for resettlement is just one step in developing a level
playing field between local communities and government-sponsored, large-scale development projects.
World Bank policy (OP 4.12) requires the application of the principle of FPIC in the case of
indigenous communities. However, rights of members of majority populations should also receive
reasonable protection in law and policy frameworks [37]. The World Bank [42] also specified that the
level of participation in a resettlement programme must be elevated to encompass collaboration and
Land 2013, 2 681
involvement in decision making instead of merely consultation and involvement in the execution of
plans. In such cases, affected people are able to join a resettlement committee and participate in
decision making or in designing resettlement programmes. Moreover, participation requires the
involvement of multiple actors and organisations from local to national levels [20,41]. On the side of
the project developer, participation may help to avoid unnecessary and costly development [42]. We
believe that participation of affected people in arranging resettlement programmes helps diminish
adverse effects and severe vulnerability and thus enhances the chances of success for displaced people
to adapt to new places. Furthermore, dams for hydroelectric power must be designed to maximise
environmental and social benefits [24] and ensure the rights and entitlements of indigenous people and
ethnic minorities [43]. In addition, development projects should respect existing land and access
rights including those pertaining to customary and common properties. Further requirements include
transparency in the negotiation process, fair profit sharing amongst affected people, project developers,
and local government, as well as ensuring environmental sustainability, guaranteeing livelihood
restoration, and respect of the local land policies [44]. In addition, the World Commission on
Dams [43] emphasised that good governance makes for common ground between stakeholders in the
negotiation and decision-making process. This includes equity, efficiency, participatory decision
making, sustainability and accountability as key characteristics, in line with the concept of FPIC. In the
case of investment of private sectors, the Performance Standard 5 of the International Finance
Corporation (IFC) also emphasizes that investors should negotiate settlements with landowners
rather than depending on compulsory land acquisition mechanisms of the government. If compulsory
acquisition is unavoidable, private companies should prepare a supplemental resettlement plan besides
the one of responsible government agencies to fully address the relevant Performance Standard [45].
Such international policies with respect to involuntary resettlement have been introduced to
Vietnam through loans and investment by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the work
of international organizations such as the World Dam Commission, and the International River
especially for cases of compulsory land acquisition for hydropower dam construction [33,20]. As a
result, the Prime Minister in 2010 issued Decision 34/2010/QD-TTg in order to develop a clearer
framework for compensation, support and resettlement policies. These aim to ensure that displaced
people have places of settlement, can build a stable life with opportunities to develop production, raise
incomes and incrementally improve infrastructure. The framework is intended to guarantee that they
have better lives materially and spiritually in the long-term than before displacement as well as to
emphasize harmonizing the interests of resettled people and already established inhabitants. The
              
process of compensation and resettlement must ensure democracy, publicity, fairness, transparency,
proper purposes, proper persons and effectiveness. It appears similar to the FPIC principle; however, it
is not concretized into specific guidelines for successive phases of land acquisition, such as planning,
land recovery, compensation, displacement, resettlement, and livelihood restoration. The compulsory
acquisition process implies that all activities of compensation and resettlement are designed and
carried out by the responsible agencies of local government and then presented to affected people with
details on losses, compensation values, and resettlement plan. There is no policy to put the people to be
displaced in the centre of decision making process. For example, although article 21 of Decision
Land 2013, 2 682
34/2010/QD-TTg declares that affected persons have the right to inspect and supervise the
implementation of compensation assistance, and resettlement scheme; local authorities as a rule do not
include any members from displaced communities in the committees preparing compensation and
resettlement at the district level. All members tend to be recruited from project developers and
functional departments of local councils. There is thus a big gap between policy and practice of
compensation and resettlement policy in Vietnam [3,20,23]. Since the majority of displaced people for
hydropower dam construction belong to ethnic minorities [33], it would seem crucial to concretize the
principle of FPIC in the planning and implementation process. Without this, the objectives of decision
34/2010/QD-TTg cannot be attained. Moreover, implementation and consultation should be
undertaken by independent parties (e.g., local NGOs) to prevent local authority bias in favour of
investors, as acknowledged in note 4 of Annex A- OP 4.12 by the World Bank [37].
When it comes to compensation for loss, it must not only be just or equitable, but also effective in
benefiting the landowners [46]. That is to say that compensation in cash or land may not be sufficient
to ensure that displaced people can restore and improve their livelihoods in the long term. This may
require additional assistance such as training, etc.
Compensation for land is often complicated, particularly the estimation of land values. The
market value             
might be expected to realise if sold in the open market at valuation date after proper marketing
between a willing seller and a willing buyer and they had acted knowledgeably, prudently, and
[47,48]. Fair market value might be used exchangeable with market value, but there is a
distinction between them. The fairness of market value herein reflects the estimated price for the
transfer of a property between willing parties who have the respective interests of those parties. It is
necessary to carry out the assessment of the price that is fair for those parties taking consideration on
the respective advantages and disadvantages that each is able to obtain from the transaction.
Meanwhile, market value entails the strong points that are not available to market participants
generally to be ignored, and therefore the concept of market value is narrower than fair market
value [48]. The International Valuation Standards 2011 [48] also differentiates between price and
value. Price is the amount asked, offered or paid for an asset, value reflects the opinion that the most
probable price to be paid for an asset in an exchange or the economic benefits of owning an asset.
Because of financial capabilities, motivations and special interest of a given buyer or seller, the price
might not reflect the true underlying value. As a result, market price is quite distinct from market
value; they are equal when the market must provide sufficient information, efficient marketing, and
prevailingly rational expectations. We can understand that the market price implies the negotiable
capability of market value between market participants. In case of involuntary land acquisition, the
government alone or in alliance with investors are willing buyers, but the affected landowners are
often not willing sellers. As pointed out by Miceli and Segerson [49] that the compensation paid to
owners by using market price, whose land is taken, is systematically less than the amount owners
would ask for their land in a consensual transaction because acquired land owners always response
to compensation value by their subjective value or reservation price that reflects the market value.
According to this understanding, compensation at market value often under-compensates unwilling
             
self-interest induces owners to quote highly inflated values [50]. In addition, even landowners
Land 2013, 2 683
themselves may not know at what price they are prepared to sell. Another option is compensation at
replacement cost. The replacement cost is equal to market value when the information about market
value is reliable and comparable assets or acceptable substitutes are available for purchase. In most
developing countries, however, conditions are insufficient to estimate market value and replacement
cost, especially in remote and rural environment because the information on land prices is not
reliable [47].
price of land use right transfer as results of common actually completed transactions between
transferors and transferees under normal commercial conditions and without the influence of factors
that cause sudden irrational price rise or decrease. It also emphasizes that compensation price is
valuated at market price. However, this is not put into practice when the government, especially the
ittee (PPC), often applies improper methods to valuate land by collecting
prices from offices of land registration, notary, and tax records to construct a land price framework on
a yearly basis. As a result, land prices in the compensation framework is often far lower than market
price [23,24]. The study of World Bank [24] confirmed that more than 80 percent of resettled people in
Vietnam are dissatisfied with compensation since land prices were much lower than market prices.
Such differences in land prices between different valuation frameworks existing side by side lead to
conflicts over land acquisitions throughout the country, especially on compensation rates (see
Ty et al. [51]). The question is why provinces still retain the administrative pricing framework that is
the cause of dissatisfaction. The first reason is that local governments want to boost capital investment
by the private sector, especially Foreign Development Investment (FDI). Secondly, the government is
also a major project developer, and therefore has an interest in modest prices for compensation
costs [3]. The local government subsequently sells land at market prices through a competitive auction
setting. Therefore, land investment often results in considerable revenues for provinces. For example,
the revenue from land development, taxes and registration fees accounted for 15 percent of the total
budget as reported by Thua Thien Hue province in 2012 [52] and more than 42 percent between 2003
and 2007 in Da Nang city [53].
In the case of hydropower development, land acquisitions are mainly located in the mountainous
rural areas of the interior where the market price of land is not clearly defined because transactions
are relatively rare [54]. The majority of tenancy contracts commonly take place between relatives; the
social aspects of tenancy play a clear role in that tenancy contracts sometimes involve no rental
payment [55]. Therefore, the compensation price is decided by Board of compensation, assistance, and
resettlement (BCAR) based on the provincial price framework which results in lower than market
prices. In particular, compensation prices and payment process are decided by the compensation
committee at district and provincial level without negotiations with people loosing land [33,20]. For
the time being, hydropower development in Vietnam is considered as a security purpose, not a
commercial one according to the 2003 Land Law. As a result, the acquisition of land proceeds
according to the compulsory mechanism. Besides this, there is also a voluntary land acquisition
mechanism regulated in the 2003 Land Law. However, according to the World Bank [24], many
private investors followed this voluntary procedure when investing in urban areas as they could thus
avoid complicated administrative procedures with authorities at all levels. Conversely, voluntary
procedures have not always been successful when rights holders of a small part of the needed land
Land 2013, 2 684
hold out in order to gain a windfall profit. The 2003 Land Law has no mechanism to resolve such
situation [24].
3. Research Design and Methodology
3.1. Research Problem
In view of the problematique discussed above, this study addresses the issue of a dam-related
resettlement project near Hue city in Central Vietnam: How can the process of compulsory land
acquisition for hydropower dam construction be described and understood? What problems are voiced
by displaced people with respect to compensation and resettlement? and why? And what are the
implications for improved policies towards the rebuilding of sustainable livelihoods and ensuring the
wellbeing of forcibly displaced people?
3.2. Data Collection and Analysis
This research project used mixed methods to gain insight into the process of land acquisition for
hydropower dam construction. It collected secondary as well as primary data for analysis. Therefore,
both qualitative and quantitative methods were applied to collect both factual information such as
information about household size, income sources and household information concerning the thoughts,
ideas and experiences of resettled people. Both methods have strengths and weaknesses. By combining
both methods we aim at a comprehensive approach.
Secondary data was collected at the district-level Department of Natural Resources and Environment
(DONRE) as well as at the hydropower company, including reports of the feasibility study, the
environmental impact assessment, the land and property loss inventory, the land use survey, and
descriptions of the displaced people. All legal documents on land recovery, compensation, and
resettlement were downloaded from the online legal archive of Thua Thien Hue Documents.
3.2.1. Primary Data
The first interviews were conducted with district officials at the Department of Natural Resources
and Environment and staff of the A Luoi Hydropower Company who were members of BCAR and
involved in most activities of compensation and resettlement plan. This yielded general information on
the A Luoi hydropower dam, including the process of investment, compensation, and resettlement. We
also gathered their opinions about problems that occurred when implementing the compensation and
resettlement package, e.g., the number and nature of grievances, and how these have been addressed.
Also field visits have been undertaken to the A Luoi dam construction site on the border between
Vietnam and Laos, in a location that is not publicly accessible. We further interviewed the former
headman to get the historical A Den village to collect information on living conditions before and
after resettlement, as well as their opinions about the compensation and resettlement package since the
former village headman was involved in the BCAR activities. Following that, a focus group discussion
was undertaken with 8 key persons, including the former village headman, three elders, two young
people who are A Den households but also worked for the former commune as police and cadastral
officers, the patriarch, and one leader of the host commune of the new resettlement. The focus group
Land 2013, 2 685
discussion reviewed the compensation and resettlement process that focused on the participation of
A Den households in making decisions. This served to check the information collected at the district
Department of Natural Resource and Environment (DONRE) and other sources. The main problems
met have also been investigated at this meeting that helped us focus the subsequent household
interviews on the principal problems after resettlement of A Den households. All 60 households of the
village) have been interviewed in 2013 to collect household-level data as well as their experiences and
views towards the compensation and resettlement scheme. The questionnaires covered such issues as
the size of agricultural land and changes of income and food security after resettlement. After the
household survey, we selected two households to have in-depth interviews on their experiences of
compensation and resettlement. Household data was coded and analysed in SPSS 20. After screening
the data, the descriptive analysis tool was used to present the relationship between selected variables in
custom tables. Data from the generated tables and graphs were interpreted to answer the research
questions. Finally, we had an interview with a former Vice Minister of Ministry of Natural Resource
and Environment (MONRE) in September 2013 in Ha Noi to discuss the issues of compensation and
resettlement policy and practice.
3.2.2. Limitation of Research
The recall method to collect data on conditions before and after resettlement relies on the memory
of participants. This does not ensure absolute accuracy of household data, especially on income that
was difficult to estimate exactly for households having both cash and subsistence income. The process
of resettlement could have been experienced as negative, which might have induced participants to
idealize the situation prior to resettlement. Households often did not disclose how much money they
              
 o undertake more research to add robustness to this issue, and answer other
questions such as: who did benefit and managed to move upwards after resettlement? Who are most
vulnerable after resettlement and move downward? Why? How do resettled people adapt to new
settings? What are the roles of different stakeholders in mitigating and enhancing the results of
resettlement policy?
4. Results and discusions
4.1. Study Site and Historical of Displaced People
In 2007, construction of the A Luoi hydropower dam started on the A Sap River, a branch of
Mekong river system located on the border with Laos. Owned by the Central Joint-Stock Hydropower
Company, the dam became operational in 2012 and aims to produce 686 million kW·h per year. The
total area of land acquisition was over 2,080 ha, of which over 95 percent was crop and forest land.
These lands were used by different types of landholders: communes managed 393 ha, the State
Protection Forest Management Boards handled over 54 ha, and individual households used 1,633 ha.
The dam and reservoir displaced 218 households (about 872 villagers), mostly ethnic minorities.
One of the affected villages, A Den, was selected for an investigation into the compensation
and resettlement process, the grievances related to compensation and resettlement, as well as the
Land 2013, 2 686
magnitude of changes and consequences resulting from the dam construction. A Den village, Hong
Thai commune, was located about 300 m from the commune office and 7 km from A Luoi Township
(see Figure 1). It was situated in the valley between tributaries of the A Sap and Ta Rin Rivers. The
village was divided into five blocks; each block consisting of several houses separated by a small
concrete road. Each house was surrounded by a garden, usually planted with a mixture of crops
including cassava, corn, coffee, vegetables and fruit trees. A barn was usually located near the house
and was used to keep cows or buffaloes.
Figure 1. Map of the Can Tom 2 resettlement village, A Luoi district. Source: [56,57].
A Luoi dam
resettlement site
old village
Besides the garden, wet paddy fields and fish ponds were located along the stream. Other
agricultural land and forest tree plantations were situated at some distance from the houses. The total
residential area of the village, 32 ha, was inhabited by 61 families or around 274 people of the Ta Oi
ethnic group. The Ta Oi originated from Laos where they practiced slash and burn farming and used
open areas for planting dry land paddy in addition to relying on the natural forest for food, medicines
and raw materials. In 1972, Ta Oi people started moving from Laos to Vietnam to settle in Hong Thai
the Ta Oi language. Nonetheless, the move to Vietnam did not contribute greatly to their living
conditions. However, livelihood conditions gradually improved from 1993 onwards when the
Vietnamese government issued the land law and launched policies that targeted ethnic minorities.
People were given more freedom to develop farmlands as access to land and markets improved. Also,
access to education, health services, infrastructure and electricity were improved, as the village was
located close to the administrative centre of Hong Thai commune.
In 2007, residents of A Den village received an announcement stating that the A Luoi hydropower
plant would be constructed and the whole village would be evicted. Financial compensation for their
loss of assets was given on 13 May 2010 and people were informed to move to the resettlement area or
elsewhere in June 2011. Since November 2011, 61 households from A Den have been living in the
relocation village named Can Tom 2. Located in Hong Thai commune, the resettlement site it is about
15 km from the old village. Table 1 shows some of the characteristics of the Ta Oi households. Their
education level is quite low; two-thirds are farmers and nearly half of the residents are classified as
Land 2013, 2 687
poor. Observations also revealed that most labourers working in agriculture and forestry are young
people who have obtained either primary or secondary education.
Table 1. Information of respondents represented to interviewed households (n = 60).
, 2013.
Ethnicity of interviewees
Ta Oi
Gender of interviewees
Education level of interviewees
High school
Occupation of interviewees
Government official
Economic status of households
4.2. The Investment and Land Acquisition Process
The Prime Minister approved the proposal for the A Luoi hydropower project in 2005. The project
was supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade under the BOO (or the Build, Own, Operate)
investment model. The investment capital was guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance via foreign loans
to import facilities. The Development Support Foundation was responsible for implementing the
displacement and resettlement programme as well as for producing the domestic facilities in support of
           electricity to the Electricity
            
(PPC) project approval. In 2008, and because the investment was also consistent with the planning of
hydropower and electricity development adopted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT),
Thua Thien Hue province granted the investment certificate to the Central Hydropower Join-Stock
Company. The investor receives many incentives from the province. For example, the project does not
have to pay income tax for 4 years from the start of dam operations; after this period, the investor only
has to pay half of the regular tax for the next 9 years. Additionally, while other businesses must pay
the regular income tax of 25 percent, the hydropower company pays only 10 percent income tax. The
company also receives exemption from the land lease tax for 15 years as well as import taxes. Such
financial incentives have prompted several private companies to look for hydropower investment
opportunities in the Central provinces. After all, projects such as the A Luoi hydropower dam are
lucrative. The dam has generated electricity since June 2012 through two power stations; the company
expects to reach revenues of over 300 billion VND (or roughly 14.4 million USD) and a pre-VAT
profit of 25.7 billion VND (approximately 1.2 million USD) in 2012 [58]. Vietnam is facing a shortage
Land 2013, 2 688
of electricity and has to import power from China. Since demand is increasing, profit seems to be
secured over a longer term.
After the PPC approved construction of the dam in 2008, the Department of Natural Resources and
Environment (DONRE) started collecting land use and cadastral maps of the affected area to delineate
areas which would be flooded as well as to make land allocation maps for the hydropower company.
Once the PPC approved the acquisition and allocation of land to the investor, information about those
decisions were posted in the communes and villages. At that time, these notices served as the first
information affected people received about their land loss. Households did not have any role within
this process since the project was considered to be a technical issue to be decided by the province and
district with the assistance of DONRE. People losing land under the scheme did not have the right to
refuse land acquisition decisions; the land law awarded the government the right to take land back for
reasons of public interest, national security and economic development. Affected people simply had
to accept this regulation [59]. According to the 2003 Land Law, they are left with grievance rights,
including denunciation and complaints about the compensation packages. Complaints here refer to
appeals to review administrative decisions and the like when complainants have grounds to believe
that such decisions or acts contravene laws and infringe upon their legitimate rights and interests.
Denunciations are made by displaced people who claim that their legitimate rights and interests have
been damaged by authorities against the law (interview with district officials, 2013).
Despite this established grievance process, it occurs after the compensation and resettlement
procedure has already taken place. In the case of the A Luoi hydropower project, the investor first
hired a consultation company to prepare a master plan for compensation, assistance, and resettlement
for submission to the PPC for approval. After acceptance, the PPC established a management board
to implement the ground clearance, compensation, assistance and resettlement (BCAR) process at
the district level. In this steering committee, leaders of the district, finance department, and the
hydropower company were represented. Other members included representatives of line agencies of
the district. DONRE was responsible for mapping, land and property inventory, and land use
certificate allocation. Commune leaders and representatives within the commune of the Fatherland
Front Committee worked as a bridge between the BCAR board and affected households; they
organised meetings with households to announce the details of land recovery, explained compensation
and resettlement policy as well as persuaded people to accept the plan. Only one villager was invited to
join the BCAR board; he was the village head who was also a district official. Next, the BCAR board
photographed the properties of affected people to prevent households from planting more trees in order
to claim more compensation. Right after recording the effects of the expropriated households were
recorded, including houses, crops, forests, and other structures, the BCAR board sent the land
appropriation decision to each household. After this, an asset inventory was conducted together with
affected households, village heads, and commune cadastral officials. All information was used to
assert the status of lands and assets in order to validate the rights of land users as eligible for
compensation or not in terms of the provincial regulations. Then, the BCAR board decided upon
the compensation prices for land, houses, crops, forest trees, and other assets according to the
compensation pricing scheme of the province as well as the assistance package for each family. This
information was sent to each family by commune officials from door to door and posted at the
Land 2013, 2 689
commune office in 2008. Payment then was distributed in several rounds for different
affected households.
4.3. Compensation and Resettlement for A Den Households
i.e., dispossessed land rights holders could
receive an equal amount of land in the new settlement which in principle corresponded to their land
loss. In cases where this was not possible, an additional payment would be provided to make up for the
difference. Figure 2 shows that A Den households lost a considerable amount of land due to dam
construction. The total area of the village was reduced by about 81 percent; each family lost around
2.8 ha on average, from 3.5 to 0.7 hectare on average. The loss of land and land-based properties was
compensated in cash in May 2010 with each family receiving between 2,500 and 15,000 USD. In
addition to the compensation, the investor supported displaced people with other types of assistance,
including rice supplies for 24 months, electricity for one year, 80 USD for displacement-related costs,
a one-time provision of fertilizer for improving soil quality, several agriculture trainings and 90 USD
for job training, and several pigs, chickens, and ducks for livestock restoration. Furthermore, children
of displaced families had free education for one year.
Figure 2. Production land of households in A Den village before and after resettlement
(n = 60). .
The district offered households a choice between two new places of residence after displacement in
2009. As the first option was located in a remote mountainous area, resettlers complained that they had
to select the second option because it is closer to the centre of A Luoi Township, more convenient and
accessible to the market and transportation, and on flat land (interview with former village headman).
In reality, it is very difficult to find a suitable place for resettlement when free land is in short supply in
the region. In November 2011, A Den households moved roughly 8 km from the old village to the new
resettlement area named Can Tom 2 village in Hong Thuong commune where the investor constructed
houses for the displaced households. Each family received a house surrounded by around 60 m2
of garden land. The resettlement site is equipped with concrete roads, kindergarten and primary
schools, gravity irrigation and a drinking water supply, electricity, a health clinic, community houses,
and playgrounds.
Land 2013, 2 690
4.4. Problems after Resettlement
Many grievances were aired during interviews with resettlers. Not only did they express their
criticism verbally, but they also sent official grievance letters to the relevant authorities to voice
their opinions about compensation and resettlement. According to the district-level DONRE, about
90 percent of resettled households accepted the compensation packages. In 2008, the Commune
received 110 letters complaining about low compensation prices while 84 letters were sent to the
district to denounce the measurement of land and property. In 2009, a collective letter on behalf of the
whole community was sent to the district authority and the hydropower company to request more
support for livelihood restoration and development in the new settlement. In addition, seven
households appealed against the inappropriate recompense for houses, crops, and land. In 2010,
60 households did not accept the compensation price because of disputes over land boundaries among
households in the course of the land inventory process. In 2011, households sent another collective
letter to ask for compensation for the loss of coffee lands (interview with district officials, 2013).
A survey among 60 households of former A Den households showed that grievances occurred
constantly. The reasons are discussed in the following section.
Inadequate compensation due to low pricing, insufficient and unfair payment: In general, Ta Oi
people in A Den village were not satisfied with the compensation. In fact, nearly 86 percent of
households complained that the compensation amount was much lower than the value of what they had
lost; more than 80 percent disagreed with compensation prices since they were low compared to actual
market price observed in the region (see more in Figure 3). Affected households also said that they
were compelled to accept compensation payments because it was the provincial pricing scheme; if the
payment was rejected, farmers would be left with nothing once their land was flooded. Moreover,
about 10 percent of households, especially women, did not know the exact amount of compensation.
Acco               
received compensation money but spent all of it on extending the house and on petrol for transportation
Others were also dissatisfied with their compensation. A 39-year-old male Ta Oi villager said
that he lost 2.95 hectares, including a garden of 1,250 m2 where he kept livestock and grew fruits,
vegetables, cassava, and maize. He also lost 1 hectare of forest land planted with Acacia, 1,500 m2 of
upland rice, reclaimed lands 15,000 m2 as well as coffee land measuring 1,200 m2. In the resettlement
site, he received a land area of 12,800 m2, including housing land of 200 m2, forest land of 10,000 m2,
garden land of 1,600 m2, and a rice field measuring 1,000 m2. He did not get compensation for the land
he contributed to the land pool for the coffee company. Therefore, he is strongly displeased with the
compensation he received. Another 40-year-old Ta Oi male claimed that he lost 1.4 hectares of land.
His garden, measuring 3,500 m2, was used to grow fruits, bamboo, and to raise livestock. He also held
500 m2 of residential land, and1 hectare of annual cropping land that he used to grow upland rice,
cassava, maize, and coffee. He accompanied the company and district officials during his land
survey and it was correct. He also went to 4 meetings with the commune authorities and company
representative. However, they decided the compensation price of lost land, not him. Despite his
previous assets, he received 1,800 m2 of garden land and 200 m2 of residential land in the relocation
site. He did not receive compensation for the 1 hectare of forest land or for his coffee land. He said that
Land 2013, 2 691
he did not agree with the compensation price because it was much lower than the market price of land.
Currently, he still has 8 ha of forest land in the old village, but it is located too far away to continue
planting Acacia (In-depth interview, 2013).
Figure 3. Self-evaluation of respondents on compensation scheme (n = 60 households).
vey low
not good
satisfaction of survey
for property and land
price of compensation adequacy of compensation for
losses consultation
for using
Per cent of respondents (%)
In the previous settlement, A Den households planted Acacia, upland rice, cassava, and maize on
reclaimed land but only half of them were compensated for this loss. In addition, 44 households
reclaimed and contributed 26 ha of land to the Quang Tri coffee company land pool; they also worked
as labourers for the company (household interview, 2013). They received income for their land
contribution as well as for planting, monitoring, and harvesting coffee. Due to dam construction, this
land was flooded but not compensated for. The hydropower company explained that as the coffee land
was leased to the Quang Tri coffee company, they paid the coffee company for the loss of the coffee
trees only. They were not expected to compensate households for this land, as this was not eligible
under the provincial regulations. Those who lost land in this way sent a collective letter in 2011 to the
commune, district, and to the investor to request cash compensation. In response, the commune
requested the district and the hydropower company to estimate the value of the coffee land and to
inform all affected households. In September 2011, the district confirmed that the value of
compensation, around 133,000 USD, for this coffee land loss was correct. However, compensation for
coffee land loss has not been paid to A Den households since 2011. Furthermore, the remaining land of
displaced households, which is not being flooded by the dam, encountered with another problem when
the coffee company went bankrupt in 2011 because they used the land lease certificate to acquire a
loan from the Quang Tri Bank before that. Therefore, displaced households could not access to the
remaining land not flooded any more because land belonged to the bank. As a consequence, the district
had a plan to buy the land back from the bank because coffee plantation was set out as an agricultural
development priority strategy of the district and to keep stable security in the district (interview with
district officials, 2013).
Moreover, even though households could no longer access parcels of non-flooded land as it was
blocked by the reservoir, farmers did not receive any compensation for this loss. More importantly,
not all promised compensation money for flooded land and trees was paid out. Most resettled
Land 2013, 2 692
households only received half of the promised amount in cash; the rest that was to be compensated
through the allocation of plots of comparable land was not given. Furthermore, the late payment
of compensation package caused unfairness amongst land losers. This is because the prices for
compensation were decided in 2007 after inventory, but payment was made in different years
between 2008 and 2011. Meanwhile, every year the province adopted another price framework,
often significantly increasing land prices. Also, market prices for crops like cassava had increased
dramatically. Many of displaced households accepting payment in earlier years received less than later
payments. As a result, resettled people who had received compensation in the earlier years were angry
about what they perceived as unfair treatment. These farmers sent a collective grievance letter to the
district and to the hydropower company to ask for compensation and for the change in pricing levels
between 2008 and 2011. The province urged the company to accommodate these complaints so as to
reduce the social and political tension in the region where several hydropower dams are still being
constructed. Since the province provided the investor with many favorable conditions, it was felt they
had to accept the decision of the province.
Low participation levels and lack of transparency in the compensation and resettlement process: As
can be seen from Figure 4, some 55 percent of displaced households stated that the project developer
determined the process of compensation and resettlement, while 45 percent indicated that the
commune and district government had directed the process. Only 5 percent of the households, those
who can be considered as village leaders, confirmed that they participated in resettlement site
selection, along with district officials and the project developer. These findings illustrate the limited
involvement of displaced people in the selection process of the resettlement area. Although 95 percent
of households confirmed that information was transmitted through meetings in the commune office,
households did not have a real bargaining position to negotiate their needs. The meetings served only
for the dissemination of information after all decisions had been made by the province and district;
displaced people could convey their opinion to the commune and district but it was not considered
important at that stage. Participants said that they had voiced their opinions and needs in several
meetings with the investor, district, and commune but that their views did not influence those
decisions. The investor and authorities typically explained that all decisions were based on the policies
of the Party and the State and implied that people must accept their decisions. Thus, the selection
procedure of resettlement area was not a participatory process because it did not include the active
involvement and consultation of the affected people. In fact, dissemination is a one-way transfer of
information offering affected people no options for involvement in the decision making process [42].
Low commitment: As mentioned by resettled people in the focus group discussion, the investor and
the district organised meetings with them and made many promises. Among these were that affected
households would receive similar houses and plots as in the former village. In addition, the
resettlement site would have sufficient electricity and an adequate water supply for drinking and
agriculture. Households would also be allocated between 1.5 and 2 ha of land for farming and
agro-forestry. Similarly, over 83 percent of households expressed strong disappointment about
unfulfilled promises; they complain of poor housing quality and lack of repair work by the investor.
Moreover, many bomb-holes dating from the war surround their houses. As these have not been filled,
they cannot grow fruit trees and vegetables in their garden plots. Furthermore, households have not
received the promi         
Land 2013, 2 693
            
Law [59], the hydropower company does not have any responsibility for displaced households after the
completion of resettlement construction and payment. While resettled people face many challenges in
the relocation area, the company considers their duties in terms of compensation, assistance, and
resettlement as finished. As a consequence, most resettled people are angry and so try to obtain more
support from the hydropower company through the commune and district offices. Their needs cannot
be met completely since the hydropower dam just started generating electricity and therefore the
company cannot afford the costs; neither does the local government have the budgetary means to
satisfy their demands. As a result, nearly 90 percent of affected households said that the construction
of the hydropower dam has made their life worse than before.
Figure 4. 
FPIC principle. .
No opinion
No opinion
not at all
no opinion
cons ent given decision makers demand included informed
prior to general evaluation
Per cent pf respondents (%)
Significant loss of income and deterioration of food security: Ta Oi resettlers report that before
losing land to the hydropower project, each household could earn about 32 million VND (roughly
1,600 USD) a year. Of which, 59 percent of this income was sourced from crop production (cassava
and rice); about 23 percent derived from livestock, 9 percent from government salaries, and 9 percent
derived from wage labor, migration, and forestry and non-timber forest products (Household
interview, 2011; see more in Table 2 about the distribution of income before and after resettlement). In
contrast, currently each household only earns roughly 6 million VND annually; this is a reduction of
80 percent. The income from government jobs (only 7 households in the village) account for 85
percent of total village income, 11 percent is from wage labor, and 4 percent from livestock
(Household interview, 2013). Figure 5 shows that there is a significant loss of income sources after
resettlement. Currently, no household is able to generate income from agricultural production and
forest. Households instead earn a very small income as day labourers on Acacia plantations in the
region; this occupation is less-desirable as it is temporary and available only during the harvesting
Land 2013, 2 694
season. Poor households in particular have incurred income losses of up to 91 percent in comparison to
the pre-resettlement situation.
Table 2. Household income distribution before and after resettlement. Unit: VND million
(1 USD = 20 VND million). 
Standard Deviation
income before displacement
income after resettlement
Figure 5. Accessible income sources of households before and after resettlement (n = 60).
crop production
non-timber forest
wage labor
government salary
remittance of migration
Percentage of households
Before resesttlement
After resettlement
Furthermore, as annual food production declined significantly after resettlement, food security is
now a greater concern. The satisfaction of nutritional needs from subsistence food production dropped
from 53.3 percent in the old village to 5 percent in the new settlement. Before resettlement all
households produced food, with an annual average production of 5,798.7 kg per household, whereas
now they produced only 93.1 kg per household annually. Not only do affected families produce less
food for their own use, household expenditures on food have declined considerably. This implies
that the resettled population has less money to spend on food than before. In the survey, 11 households
have no income, in money or in-kind, and no food expenditures. These households are extremely
vulnerable to the effects of food insecurity.
Moreover, all resettled households complained that they could not produce subsistence crops
because their compensation land is too small. In addition, the land is not cultivable because of poor
soil quality. Since the Ta Oi depend much on farmland and forest, losing farmland means that they
lose the most important source of income and food. As explained by district officials, it was very
difficult to find sufficient land in the region to allocate to resettled households because host
communities already occupied the surrounding land. Presently, the land of host households in Hong
Thai commune as well as the protected lands belonging to the A Luoi Forest Management Board
encircles the resettlement site. As a result, resettled people cannot find land to continue to cultivate
through their traditional slash and burn practices (interview with district officials, 2013).
Land 2013, 2 695
Resettlement community disorder and lack of social cohesion: In addition to the 60 Ta Oi
households from A Den village who account for 56 percent of the total population of the resettlement
site, there are about 46 households resettled from other affected villages in five communes. Among
these, Pa Co households comprise 36 percent and Kinh families make up 14 percent. As they live in
separate areas within the same commune, the district decided to regroup them into Can Tom 2 village.
However, as the Ta Oi and Pa Co do not want to live in the same village, each has requested separate
villages. Each community had their own leaders and patriarchy in their previous villages who now
want to maintain their role in their community. As the leaders of each community explained, Pa Co
and Ta Oi are quite different ethnic groups who hail from different origins and are distinct in terms
of culture and language. Nonetheless, they understand each other easily because percent of the
similarities between their languages. Moreover, according to the survey with Ta Oi and Pa Co people,
both groups speak the Kinh language fluently and their children study in the Kinh language in the
same schools. At present, the district has not decided on the arrangement and name of the resettlement
site, and they are awaiting directions from the province authority. The lack of a village administration
board has caused many issues and there are no political, social, and professional associations such as a
in Vietnam and thus are present at all administrative levels of central, province, district and commune.
The farmers union especially is essential since it organises many activities for farmers, such as sharing
cultivation experiences, trainings, and social activities (interview with host commune leaders, 2013).
Although the district assigned a temporal village headman, he said that he had no role except for
participating in meetings organised by the commune and district committee. Many resettled people
said that they did not know who their village leaders are. Therefore, it was difficult to find the
temporal village headman. Additionally, people in the focus group discussions disclosed that while
there is a health clinic in the resettlement site, there is no doctor to operate it. When they are sick, they
go to the clinic of Hong Thuong commune where they are refused access because their health cards are
eligible only in the old commune. Consequently, they have to rely on the clinic in the old location,
which is located at some distance and so is inconvenient. There are also reports of conflicts between
resettled people and host households in Hong Thuong commune as they practice slash and burn
farming techniques on lands belonging to the host population. In retaliation, the host population has
broken their water supply pipes (focus group discussion, 2013).
4.5. Discussions and Policy Implication
The implementation is mostly carried out by local authorities and the investor in this case study. In
this alliance, local government tends to align with the investor as both stand to benefit from the project
[60,61]. In Vietnam, many researchers point out the weaknesses of compensation and resettlement
procedures, such as low compensation prices, low participation and lack of long-term commitment to
share benefits with affected people. However, the root cause of those limitations lies in the fact that
government from the central to the local level tends to favor project developers rather than people
loosing their land. According to a former Vice-Minister, this type of coalition can be considered as an
interest group (nhóm  ích) that is the biggest challenge for integrating sound principles for
involuntary resettlement policies recommended by international organizations such as World Bank,
Land 2013, 2 696
ADB, and WDC, as well as for to the proper implementation of the good points of Vi 
acquisition policies (expert interview, 2013).
Policy Implications
The results show the urgent need to improve the national development policy on electricity
production and land acquisition for hydropower dam construction in Vietnam. This might start from
changing the investment mechanism for hydropower. Currently, electricity in Vietnam is mainly
generated by the Electricity Cooperate of Vietnam (EVN), a State enterprise. Although many private
companies are constructing hydropower dams, electricity generation is still a closed sector. Only
Vietnamese companies can take part in producing and selling electricity, whereas foreign companies
can participate in the construction of dams. Therefore, we suppose that electricity is not a free
market-based activity. This situation lends itself quite well to a host of benefit-sharing mechanisms
that also account for the interests of those who have had to surrender their livelihoods in order to make
hydro-power possible in the first place. As it is now, the investors need not consider the full cost of the
investment in hydropower dam construction as the cost for resettlement and compensation is not
well-defined. To date, there are few studies that carefully determine the balance between cost and
profit of constructing hydropower dams if the investment includes the benefit sharing. Therefore, there
is an urgent requirement to resolve the fundamental economic problem of hydropower projects, i.e.,
the accurate estimation of the real benefits and costs, including those of introducing suitable
resettlement and benefit-sharing programs that also take the long term view. This is necessary to
satisfy the legitimate concerns of all stakeholders, including government, developer, displaced people,
and consumers. Only when a long-term benefit sharing mechanism is made compulsory for hydropower
investment will displaced people be able to restore and improve their living conditions. To strengthen
the effectiveness of the benefit sharing mechanism, the new Land Law under discussing must change
the purpose of land acquisition for hydropower development from national security to that of a
commercial goal, since all hydropower companies now invest for profit. All hydropower companies
should be treated equally in electricity production and selling, including the responsibility to share
profit, including state corporations such as EVN. The experiences of other countries, including China,
Brazil, India and Japan, have shown several successful cases of benefit sharing models (Cernea and
Mathur), turning of the impoverishment of displaced people into an opportunity for development [16].
A successful approach to compensating displaced people would need to address three concerns.
First, it should enable resettled households to create a livelihood within their abilities. Younger people,
with sufficient education and skills training, may be able to move into non-farm activities. However,
displaced people especially older people, do not have such opportunities and thus need land for
farming and access to forest and other common pool resources. Secondand this actually emanates
logically from the previous pointpeople need to be actively involved in deciding and planning for
their life and living conditions after displacement. Only real participation as enclosed in FPIC can
prevent the bitterness and frustration that now often characterise resettled communities. The FPIC
principle is fully carried out if the role of community-based organizations and local NGOs is
strengthened in the process of land acquisition, compensation, resettlement, and in the benefit
sharing mechanism.
Land 2013, 2 697
5. Conclusion
The case study found that the majority of households were disappointed with the compensation
and resettlement scheme. Complaints often mention the lack of arable land, poor soil quality, food
insecurity, loss of income and job, loss of access to forest, inadequate and unfair compensation, and
the difficult resettlement site. The efforts of the State to improve policy by issuing better land laws and
specific guidelines for compulsory land acquisition for hydropower dam construction are not sufficient
to result in effective compensation and resettlement policies. The process of investment and land
acquisition for the A Luoi hydropower dam shows that the local government is exercising a top-down
approach to compulsory land acquisition by imposing the planning and construction decisions, the
compensation prices for losses by affected people, and the resettlement site selection. The participation
mechanisms in the compensation and resettlement process for people losing land as well as other local
NGOs and community-based organizations are not well-defined. The involvement of affected people
in decision making is not mandatory in compulsory land acquisitions. There is no room for negotiation
as all decisions are pre-determined without transparency. There is very poor consultation, collaboration,
and little choice open for affected people in the compensation and resettlement plan. Hundreds of
hydropower dams are being constructed and planned in the coming years, and therefore good
governance measures of land acquisition must be urgently put into practice.
This work was supported by the IS Academy on Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable
Development project (LANDac); the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher
Education (NUFFIC); and the Oversea scholarship of the Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam
Government. Furthermore, we would like to express our high appreciation to the contribution of
Cherrelle Druppers, Daniël Koster, and Yustina Artati at IDS, Faculty of Geoscience, Utrecht
University for data collection with authors in the research area. We also very appreciate
Michelle McLinden Nuijen about her English editing.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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List of Interviews
1. Household Interviews 2011 and 2013
Number of Respondents
Respondents’ Name
Address of Respondents
H i
H Th Xao
Th Lai
i District, Vietnam
H Th Trang
H Th Kt
H Th 
H p
ên village, Hong Thai commune, Aluoi District, Vietnam
H Th 
A Vit Th 
H Th Ngoan
, Aluoi District, Vietnam
H 
H Th 
H u
H n Ln
H 
H 
H 
ommune, Aluoi District, Vietnam
H 
A Vit Huy
H c Bng
H Th 
H Th 
Land 2013, 2 702
H 
H Th Tr
i commune, Aluoi District, Vietnam
H 
H nh
H Th
H c Lc
H 
H Th Quc
ong Thai commune, Aluoi District, Vietnam
H 
Phm Xuân Sáng
H t
t, Vietnam
H 
H 
H nh
 Hong Thai commune, Aluoi District, Vietnam
H 
H Th 
H t
, Vietnam
H Th En
H 
H Th 
H Xuân T
H Th Mh
District, Vietnam
H S Ngà
H 
H Th N
H Th Xiên
 village, Hong Thai commune, Aluoi District, Vietnam
H Thn
H 
 District, Vietnam
H 
H 
H Th Tríu
H Xuân Võ
ên village, Hong Thai commune, Aluoi District, Vietnam
H Th Vt
2. In-depth Interviews in 2013
H 
H ong Thai commune, Aluoi District, Vietnam
Land 2013, 2 703
3. Interviews with District Officials and a Staff of A Luoi Hydropower Dam in 2013
  Staff of district department of natural resource and environment and a
member of BCAR, A luoi district, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam
  Staff of district department of natural resource and environment and a
member of BCAR, A luoi district, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam
Vice head of district department of natural resource and environment and a
member of BCAR, A luoi district, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam
Staff of A luoi hydropower company and a member of BCAR, A luoi district,
Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam
4. Interviews with Host Commune (Hong Thuong Commune, Aluoi District) in 2013
  Chairman of Hong Thuong commune, A luoi district, Thua Thien Hue
Province, Vietnam
  Vice chairman of Hong Thuong commune, A luoi district, Thua Thien Hue
Province, Vietnam
5. Interview with a Former Village Headman in 2013
Former village headman         
Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam
6. Focus Group Discussion in 2013
  Former village headman        rict,
Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam
  Chairmain of Hong Thuong commune, A luoi district, Thua Thien Hue
Province, Vietnam
Elder  
Province, Vietnam
Elder 
  Elder             
Province, Vietnam
Young people and cadastral official of Hong Thai commune, A luoi district,
Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam
Young people and police of Hong Thai commune, A luoi district, Thua Thien
Hue Province, Vietnam
The ua Thien
Hue Province, Vietnam
Land 2013, 2 704
7. Interview with a Former Vice Minister of Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment
(MONRE) in 2013
© 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license
... Hydropower projects are often imposed on communities near the siting of such projects (Ty et al., 2013;Morvaridi 2004;Asiama et al., 2017;Jusi 2006;Virtanen, 2006), and as a result, are marred by accounts of vast, involuntary population displacement, flooding of communities, and other undemocratic outcomes (Cernea 2004(Cernea , 2008Del Bene et al. 2018;Garcia et al 2021). In the case of Brazil, at least 3.4 million hectares of land have been flooded, and over 1 million people have been displaced for hydropower development (Zhouri and Oliveira, 2007). ...
... Correcting this injustice was a central recommendation of the World Commission on Dams (WCD, 2000) and one of the main arguments given by some of the countries most committed to hydropower for not accepting the recommendations (such as China, Brazil, and India) (Schulz and Adams, 2019). People most directly affected by hydropower often have limited opportunities to have their concerns addressed or otherwise heard in the planning and implementation of hydropower and the mitigation of its impacts (Ty et al., 2013;Morvaridi, 2004). This situation has persisted across political contexts and over time (Garcia et al., 2021), despite the guidelines from the WCD (WCD 2000), the pressure of some international financing agencies (e.g. ...
Energy infrastructure projects have long been associated with a lack of participation by impacted, local populations—this history is evident in the case of hydropower projects in the Global South. Ever since the World Commission on Dams’ Report (WCD 2000), there has been substantive evidence, and numerous recommendations, that have called on governments, financial agencies and construction companies to increase community engagement and participation in dam construction and in their governance thereafter. Further, community groups, activists, and scholars have long articulated the need for participatory governance in energy projects. In this analysis, we evaluate participation in institutionalized mechanisms provided by dam builders—such as public meetings and negotiations—in Brazil’s Madeira hydroelectric complex. We evaluate how perceptions of positive and negative impacts, among other factors, predict engagement, estimating a series of logit models based on a social survey of 673 households carried out in 2019/20. Perceptions of negative and positive impacts of the dams before construction are related to participation in the meetings promoted by dam builders. Yet our results also imply that participation was rare, fleeting, and insufficient and points to the need to ensure community engagement and governance to ensure energy justice in future dam projects in Brazil and elsewhere.
... Froese et al. [80] and Yenneti et al. [32] are also claiming that development projects should respect existing land tenure and access and occupation rights, also when these are undocumented and unregistered for customary and common properties. Further requirements include transparent negotiation processes, reasonable profit sharing between impacted community members, investors, project developers, and the local government, as well as ensuring sustainability, guaranteeing livelihood restoration, and respecting the local land policies [81]. While an increasing number of studies currently focus renewable energy impacts on land tenure from mitigation aspects, academic studies relating renewable energy impacts on land tenure from adaptation aspects still remain on the sideline, and it needs further investigation. ...
... From this perspective, the hypothesis is that limited and valuable land is consistently conflict-prone and sensitive to contending interests and allegations [34]. Many social science researchers have studied community responses to renewable energy over recent years and helped explore and identify the factors and procedures leading to local acceptance and/or opposition, as well as the main impacts, outcomes, and benefits for local communities [57,[81][82][83]. However, most of the social science literature on renewable energy and communities mainly discusses acceptance and resistance aspects, participation and engagement processes only throughout the planning stages, and prior construction. ...
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The need to understand the connection between land and energy has gained prominence in the calls to opt for renewable energy as part of the climate change mitigation actions. This need derives from the fact that renewable energy resources are site-specific and require rightful access and use of land. The impacts on landscape, land tenure, and land-use patterns of constructing energy facilities are significant, and they may subsequently undermine the authority of local communities. Still, the connection between land and energy is not yet part of integrated development policies and political debates when deciding on renewable energy projects. Therefore, this study critically reviews the land–energy nexus with the aim to understand and explain how the uptake of renewable energy is shaping the land–energy nexus and how renewable energy technologies are evolving and interacting in different regions of the world, particularly in the Global South. Theoretically, the land–energy nexus tends to reflect a dual tension between those who support the rapid expansion of renewable energy projects and those who oppose it due to concerns over land pressure and social impacts. We consider that this contrast is ruled by both the ecological modernization paradigm and the environmental and social justice paradigm, as part of wider environmental and social debates. The study adopts an integrative literature review built on the analysis of existing literature and deductive logical reasoning to create new, exhaustive scientific knowledge focusing on three interdependent dimensions: land requirements and planning policy, environmental impacts, and public opposition, as an informative guidance for future research and policies. The multiple forms of social dispute and agency demonstrate that dominant narratives supporting renewables act as a modern technological fix but provide only a partial solution for the climate and energy crisis. The deployment of renewable energy creates land pressures and spatial patterns of uneven development. These are visible by numerous environmental and social outcomes, which may imperil the sustainability of the investment. Hence, there is the need of a land–energy balance as a new aspect of sustainable development.
... China has experienced a huge amount of land acquisition for urbanization and industrialization purposes, which has had negative effects on the health of farmers who lost their land since the acquisition affected both their income and their psychological wellbeing (Wang, Li, Xiong, Li, & Wu, 2019). Meanwhile, Ty, Van Westen, & Zoomers (2013) found that affected households were worse off after land acquisition because of the unfair compensation and resettlement for construction of a hydropower dam in Vietnam. The farmer households showed a decline in their food expenditures after the resettlement because the land had often been appraised as costing less than the market price. ...
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Background Problems: Land acquisition is a major issue in development policy, and compensation is often described as being inadequate; meanwhile, adequate compensation is the key element of fairness. Main Objectives: The objective of this study is to examine the impact on household welfare of financial compensation for farmland acquisition for new airport development. Novelty: This study utilizes land acquisition for the new Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) because this area provides a reasonable case for evaluation. Research Methods: A quasi-experimental design is used to draw a causal relationship. A questionnaire survey has been conducted with 452 households, consisting of 207 households in the treatment group and 245 households in the control group. Finding/Results: On average, the financial compensation for the farmland acquired for the new airport development increased a household’s total annual income by as much as 32.06%, especially the income that was generated from self-owned business and farmland activity, and it also increased their total annual expenditures by as much as 26.55%, especially those related to food, energy (LPG and fuel), vehicles, internet and phone, religion, social relationships, and insurance. Conclusion: This study highlights that financial compensation for farmland acquisition for tertiary industry, specifically a new airport development, has a positive impact on both the total annual income and the total annual expenditures.
... Voluntariness and prior informed consent are important principles in the relocation and resettlement of disaster-affected migrants, and public participation is key for the implementation of these principles [80]. The central government, local governments, as well as several stakeholders and actors were involved in disaster-preventive migration in County D, with different stakeholders and actors having different interests and motivations in the project [81]. ...
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Disaster-preventive migration (DPM) is an important method for disaster risk management, but migration itself entails a potential social stability risk. This study took County D in Yunnan Province, one of the counties most severely threatened by geological disasters in China, as an example to construct an indicator system of social stability risk factors for disaster-preventive migration based on a literature survey and in-depth interviews. The system consists of 5 first-level risk factors and 14 s-level risk factors. The social stability risk of DPM in County D was assessed using a fuzzy comprehensive evaluation method based on experts’ weights. The results showed that the overall social stability risk level of disaster-preventive migration in County D is ‘high’. In terms of importance, the five first-level risk factors were ranked as follows: public opinion risk > compensation risk > livelihood recovery risk > cultural risk > geological disaster risk. Among the risk factors, the level of public opinion risk and compensation risk appeared to be high, whereas that of livelihood recovery risk, cultural risk and geological disaster risk resulted to be medium. To our knowledge, this paper is the first research to evaluate the social stability risk of DPM; it not only enriches the theories of social stability risk assessment, but also has important guiding significance for people relocation and resettlement in Chinese ethnic minority areas.
... Ample evidence abounds in the literature that most often than not, compensations paid to resettled households as reimbursement for loss of economic and productive assets are woefully inadequate (Cernea, 2003;Green & Baird, 2016;Hu & Zhou, 2011). Ty et al. (2013) adds that there appears to be a huge gap between the real economic values of productive assets lost and the actual amounts received as compensation for the loss of these assets. Consistent with these, we established that some survey participants were dissatisfied with the resettlement primarily because they felt that the economic values that were attached to their productive assets were woefully inadequate. ...
There is evidence to suggest that effective planning and tailoring resettlement schemes to the circumstances of displaced population are more likely to satisfy the target population. In spite of this, the topic is not well explored in developing countries. To address this research gap, we employed mixed methods to analyse surveys and interviews. We found that although the resettled population were satisfied with new typology of housing, they were unhappy about their limited access to productive assets and the low compensatory packages given them. We encourage policymakers to make provisions for adequate productive assets in future resettlements.
Purpose This paper develops a conceptual framework that is applicable in various compensation settings vis-a-vis relevant legal frameworks, compensation processes and practices, compensation outcomes and adequacy of resultant compensation by using a common evaluative framework, to address the lack of such a conceptual framework in the compensation literature. Also, by developing a new conceptual framework, this paper provides a platform and an analytical tool for anchoring and analysing future research on compensation for expropriation of various property rights. Design/methodology/approach This conceptual paper is based on original thought and review of literature on compensation for expropriation. Findings A critical analysis of existing literature on compensation for expropriation of customary properties reveals that most studies are inadequately informed by relevant compensation theories and that each study uses its own tailor-made analytical framework. This entails that there is no general conceptual framework for anchoring new studies in compensation and aid in extrapolating their results to similar populations and contexts. Originality/value This paper makes novel contribution to knowledge by developing a new conceptual framework for analysing compensation for expropriation of customary property rights, which is not there currently. Essentially, by developing the new conceptual framework, this paper provides a basis for anchoring new research works in compensation and their analyses, thereby making a further contribution to knowledge.
The construction of hydroelectric dams is associated with a range of social-ecological impacts, including significant changes in the economies of rural places where large dams are built. Dam builders and governments promoting hydropower have implemented compensation programs to redress the damages done by hydropower projects but there are critiques of whether they achieve those objectives. In the current analysis, we apply an energy justice framework to consider the impacts of the Jirau and Santo Antonio dams in the Madeira River basin of the Brazilian Amazon. Considering both distributional and restorative aspects of energy justice, we evaluate how these dams have changed economic livelihoods and household income and whether households received compensation that addressed the damages suffered. We find that displacement, resettlement or otherwise moving locations because of the dams is an important contributor to economic losses (e.g. changing jobs, lost income) and those who experienced economic losses were not more likely to be compensated than others. These losses occur in spite of the promises of dam proponents that this infrastructure will increase job opportunities, incomes and bring about economic development.
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The development of Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) has been accomplished, and even now the airport is currentlyoperating, serving the flight from and to Yogyakarta Special Province. However, the pro and cons of the YIA developmentremain. Some argue the YIA brought economic development for locals, while others argue the YIA made the locals worse-off.This paper describes the author’s view on this opposite perspective by reviewing several scientific articles regarding the YIA.The author supports the idea that the new airport of Yogyakarta has the potential to boost local economic development dueto some conditions, they are sufficient compensation, productive use of compensation, the high number of flight destinations,and government intervention to involve the local sources. In addition, further research to estimate the average effect of YIAland acquisition compensation and the YIA existence on local economic development by using causal inference techniques isrequired to ensure the most objective study result.Keywords : large-scale land acquisition, economic development, Yogyakarta International Airport. ABSTRAKPembangunan Bandara Internasional Yogyakarta (YIA) telah selesai dan saat ini telah beroperasi melayani penerbangan daridan menuju Provinsi Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (DIY), namun masih ada pendapat pro dan kontra mengenai pembangunanYIA. Beberapa pihak berpandangan bahwa YIA membawa pembangunan ekonomi bagi penduduk setempat, sedangkanbeberapa pihak lain berpendapat bahwa YIA malah memperburuk kondisi perekonomian warga lokal. Artikel ini menyajikanpandangan penulis terhadap perbedaan perspektif tentang YIA ini dengan mengulas beberapa tulisan ilmiah tentangpembangunan YIA. Penulis berpendapat bahwa pembangunan YIA memiliki potensi untuk dapat menciptakan kemajuanekonomi lokal karena memenuhi beberapa persyaratan, yaitu ganti rugi yang cukup, penggunaan uang ganti rugi untuk halproduktif, tingginya angka penerbangan tujuan ke DIY, dan intervensi pemerintah dalam memanfaatkan sumber daya lokal.Untuk mencapai hasil studi paling objektif, maka dibutuhkan penelitian lebih lanjut untuk menghitung secara rata-rata dampakdari ganti rugi lahan bandara YIA dan dampak dari keberadaan bandara YIA terhadap parameter pembangunan ekonomidengan menggunakan metode-metode pengukuran sebab-akibat.Kata kunci : pengadaan tanah skala besar, pembangunan ekonomi, Bandara Internasional Yogyakarta.
In the ever urbanization and globalization, the impact of climate change has manifested. There is an urgent need for new types of occupations that balance the built environment and nature (especially forests). For that reason, the concept of vernacular landscape has gotten attention in many disciplines but been regarded as a stand-alone tool or study subject. The paper aims to investigate the co-presence of vernacular and political landscapes (which termed by J. B. Jackson). The hypothesis of this study is that understanding interaction of the vernacular and political way of settling with forests throughout history can pull out problem statements for the future development. By analysis of archival documents combined with fieldwork and interpretive mapping in Thua Thien Hue Province through the key historical periods, the result reveals that the co-presence of the two landscapes has become more and more profound over time. Simultaneously, there is a trend of decentralization in the territory. Problem statements drawn from the result set a basis for future studies of alternative environmental design and settling model linked with forests to adapt to climate change.
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Construction of the Koto Panjang Dam was initiated in response to the rapidly increasing demand for electricity in the central region of Sumatra, Indonesia. The process of resettling the villages affected by this construction lasted from 1991 to 2000. The economic factors related to this resettlement programme include monetary compensation, productive capacity, and appropriate distribution of income. Better-off villages (such as those where a rubber plantation was found) received a higher level of compensation and used this compensation to purchase productive assets. Increasing the level of a family's income generates better income distribution and a lower level of poverty, whereas decreasing it creates worse income distribution and a higher level of poverty. The presence of productive capacity is necessary to guarantee the success of an involuntary resettlement programme that attempts to improve the standard of living for displaced peoples.
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This paper analyses the impact of compulsory land acquisition on displaced persons in Kenya. The analysis reveals that compulsory land acquisition quite often has far-reaching socio-economic impact on the lives of persons whose parcels of land are acquired. The effects of compulsory land acquisition identified included changes in income levels, land utilisation, land-ownership structure, farming practices, familial composition and cultural and social values, norms and bonds.In this paper, land acquisition, compensation and resettlement processes are briefly discussed. The main focus is, however, on the socio-economic impact that compulsory land acquisition has on the persons affected by the process. Some suggestions are made as to how the process can be improved in future. It is hoped that the lessons learned from this case study will be informative to decision makers not only in Kenya but also in other developing countries where public construction projects cause displacement of residents. Although the project and hence the affected people are located in a rural settlement, the purpose of the project is to supply water to Nairobi city. It is therefore a case of how urban projects can have far-reaching effects beyond urban boundaries.
The last two years have seen a huge amount of academic, policy-making and media interest in the increasingly contentious issue of 'land grabbing' - the large-scale acquisition of land in the global South. It is a phenomenon against which locals seem defenseless, and one about which multilateral organizations such as the World Bank as well as civil-society organizations and action NGOs have become increasingly vocal. This in-depth and empirically diverse volume - taking in case studies from across Africa, Asia and Latin America - takes a step back from the hype to explore a number of key question: Does the 'Global Land Grab' actually exist? If so, what is new about it? And what, beyond the immediately visible dynamics and practices, are the real problems? A comprehensive and much-needed intervention on one of the most hotly contested but little-understood issues facing Global South countries today.
Red River Delta is one of the main rice producing regions in Vietnam. With large variations in natural conditions, the Red River Delta is suitable for development of different types of crops and animals. In recent years, the importance of fisheries, aquaculture and fruit trees have been increasing. With the average farming area per household in Red River Delta being 0.28 ha (2005), land is a limiting factor in generating sufficient income. Most farmers resort to diversifying their farming to high value crops such as vegetables, fruit trees, and livestock for urban markets, or engaging in non-farm activities. The result of this trend is the emergence of tenancy among farmers. This paper attempts to clarify the determination and function of rice land tenancy within the context of the economic structure in three villages in the North of Vietnam. A series of questionnaire surveys were conducted in 2010- 2011 in the villages of Hung Yen (A), Bac Ninh (B), and Hai Phong (C) Provinces which are located in the Red River Delta. The main findings of the research are as follows. There is an increasing area of non-rice production with the appearance of different kinds of tenurial status in different villages. The tenurial status changes with the age of the farmers, indicating the influence of life-cycle on farmers' economic behavior. There is also heavy dependence upon kinship ties in landlord-tenant relations. The production function analysis revealed that the increased use of land, labor, seed and fertilizer could lead to a higher rice production. The average rental under the predominant form of tenancy appeared to be equal to the marginal product of land, but under the contracts established between relatives, the average rental was much lower than the marginal product.
Conflicts over land have arisen frequently in China during rapid urbanization and have caused adverse impacts. Different from previous researches on land conflict analyzing its causes, types, consequences, methods of assessment and management, this paper develops a new analytic framework from a behavioral perspective based on game theory. The framework concerns the logic and strategy of conflicts of legal land acquisition, and that of illegal land conversion. The paper has established three innovative models: (1) the dynamic model for conflicts of legal land acquisition, (2) the game model of illegal land acquisition and (3) the game model of the black land market. These models are to explain how disputes and conflicts evolve and illustrate the logic and strategy of conflicts between local governments and farmers. Based on the Nash equilibrium of these models, the paper offers some important insights for policy direction in land acquisition and conflict management.
Large dams have been criticized because of their negative environmental and social impacts. Public health interest largely has focused on vector-borne diseases, such as schistosomiasis, associated with reservoirs and irrigation projects. Large dams also influence health through changes in water and food security, increases in communicable diseases, and the social disruption caused by construction and involuntary resettlement. Communities living in close proximity to large dams often do not benefit from water transfer and electricity generation revenues. A comprehensive health component is required in environmental and social impact assessments for large dam projects.
Since the construction of the Three Gorges Project was approved at the fifth plenary session of the seventh National People's Congress in April 1992, more than ten years have elapsed. This massive hydroelectric project, which will take a total of 17 years to be completed, is now at its peak stage of construction. Many scholars and experts have expressed concerns about the various problems resulting from its construction, such as siltation, other environmental impacts and resettlement. Among these, the resettlement problem is the most challenging. Based on over six months of investigation in the Three Gorges in 2001, and an overview of resettlement literature, this paper examines the development of the resettlement policy, planning, and challenges to the implementation of the resettlement plan. Focusing primarily on rural resettlement, and including data from case studies, it addresses the evolution and recent changes to resettlement policy and practice, and presents recommendations for development of the resettlement work. Great strides have been made in effective implementation of resettlement policy and plans in China and the Three Gorges Project. However, constraints in the Three Gorges physical and economic environment continue to precipitate necessary change to resettlement policy and planning. New standards for displacement compensation must continue to be explored, and fuller participation of the displaced must be sought to avoid the social and economic risks of impoverishment in the Three Gorges.