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This paper investigates the implications for resettlement of the financial involvement of the World Bank and a coalition of private companies, in three separate Mexican dam projects in the early 1990s. This paper argues that financing arrangements can influence a project’s resettlement conditions. In two of the projects, the World Bank’s involvement was important in determining the high level of attention paid to resettlement planning and monitoring and the positive resettlement outcomes. In contrast, the lack of resettlement standards among the remaining project’s private sector financiers and the unresponsiveness of this group to pressures for reform on resettlement issues resulted in poor resettlement conditions. In an era of privatisation, the implications of this are serious. As governments turn to the private sector, rather than multi-lateral or bilateral development agencies, for assistance in infrastructure development, the likelihood also increases that the rights and needs of displacees will be marginalised.

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Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

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