Identifying the Gaps between Kenya Laws and International Safeguard Policies on Involuntary Resettlement

  • Raphael M. Kieti University of Nairobi
Keywords: Development projects, International funding agencies, Involuntary resettlement, Kenya, Laws and regulations, Safeguard policies


Implementation of public projects often gives rise to impoverishment risks, including physical and economic displacements, and loss of livelihoods on affected households and populations. To mitigate the negative impacts associated with resettlements, most governments in developing countries, and international funding agencies, have developed safeguard policies and laws to guide the resettlement process and ensure that the affected households are not severely impacted by the projects. The overall aim of safeguard policies and laws is to avoid, or minimize, project risks and ensure that the affected persons participate and enjoy the project benefits. This paper aims to examine the resettlement laws in Kenya to identify the gaps that exist between the Kenyan laws and the international safeguard policies on involuntary resettlement. The methodology employed is a desktop review of texts and policy documents prepared for project implementation in Kenya, as well as a review of existing Kenya and international laws and regulations on resettlement. Key informant interviews (KIIs) with purposively selected resettlement experts in Kenya were undertaken to deepen knowledge and understanding of the resettlement process, laws, and regulations. Data are analysed and presented in tables. Findings reveal minimal gaps between Kenya laws and international safeguard policies. Overall, Kenya's resettlement laws and regulations are fairly robust, and if properly implemented, can substantially improve resettlement outcomes in large-scale development projects.