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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Social Sustainability

Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Social Sustainability

Groningen, the Netherlands
Land Acquisition

This summer school (practical training course) promotes understanding about and develops skills in managing the social risks and impacts associated to the development of public and private investment projects (e.g. mines, dams, highways, industry parks, electricity transmission corridors, agricultural developments, et cetera), and particularly issues related to land acquisition and resettlement. Research into the displacement of peoples following large projects generally shows that, unless properly planned and managed, they are made worse-off.

With the increasing number of international standards (e.g. World Bank safeguard policies, IFC Performance Standards, EBRD Performance Requirements, Equator Principles, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights), there are established international standards and good practices that are expected to be met in the development of investment projects. The varying cultural and developmental contexts of different countries also presents significant challenges to fully implementing these standards. There are also concerns about human rights infringements.

This training course will be based on good international practices and standards, lessons learned on the ground and practical case studies, and will include a technical site visit to a resettlement site. The course will be delivered by some of the world’s leading social assessment and resettlement practitioners, specialists from international development institutions, as well as key academics from the University of Groningen, to provide capacity building in the practice of managing the social issues of investment projects focusing on land acquisition and resettlement. It is targeted to an international audience of current and intending social performance and resettlement practitioners and people involved in the governance of projects from public and private institutions, and is also open to advanced students interested in the practical management of social issues associated with development.

Practical information

Dates & location

7-18 September 2020, Groningen, the Netherlands

Level Advanced MA, PhD, Postdoc, Practitioners
Fee (i) € 2750 for private sector practitioners and government representatives from OECD countries;
(ii) € 1750 discount rate for World Bank staff, NGO participants and government representatives from non-OECD countries;
(iii) € 975 for university researchers (postdoc, PhD and Masters)
Academic coordinator Prof. Frank Vanclay, Faculty of Spatial Sciences &
Globalisation Studies Groningen
Contact Suelen Haidar, course assistant: shaidar

Participants need to arrange their own accommodation. For a list of recommended hotels, kindly contact shaidar

Target group

This summer school is an applied training course intended for practitioners or applied social researchers from public and private institutions interested in the practical aspects of social assessment, project-induced displacement and resettlement. Applicants are expected to be either:

(a) actually involved in development projects as a practitioner or in the governance of projects; OR
(b) a researcher or academic at Masters level, PhD, postdoc or even academic teaching staff having a clear reason for wanting to do this practical course.

Full professional fluency in English is required.

COVID-19 Update:

There are some travel restrictions still in place and the Dutch Embassies and external providers are generally not yet accepting visa applications. Therefore, we will first select all participants coming from the Schengen area. If you are not from Europe but you have a current valid visa to the Schengen area, please let us know when filling the application form.

Programme (preliminary)

A detailed programme will be provided to participants prior to the course. In general, the course will cover all aspects of land acquisition involving resettlement, including:

  • Welcome, introductions, overview of the course as a whole;
  • General introduction to social issues and development challenges;
  • Overview of resettlement as a process;
  • Basic underlying concepts such as social license to operate; business case; free, prior and informed consent; human rights; sustainable livelihoods;
  • Introduction to human rights;
  • Overview of the various International Standards: World Bank social safeguards, IFC Performance Standards, EBRD, IAIA guidelines, United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, relevant legal principles and frameworks;
  • Understanding social impacts and social risks of investment projects (including sustainable livelihoods; resilience; vulnerability; ecosystem services; health impacts);
  • Ways of assessing and addressing social issues and tools to use (social impact assessment, baselines, profiles);
  • Stakeholder Engagement and grievance mechanisms and conflict;
  • Linking livelihoods restoration to Local Employment and Local Procurement;
  • Resettlement planning;
  • Resettlement impacts, risk and opportunity assessment;
  • Resettlement mitigation measures;
  • Resettlement Review, Monitoring & Evaluation, Audits, Completion Audits.


In addition to the course coordinator, Prof Frank Vanclay , the course will include, among others, some of the leading social assessment and resettlement practitioners, including Eddie Smyth (Intersocial), Dr. Ana Maria Esteves and Gabriela Factor (Community Insights Group) and Frederic Giovannetti.

Application procedure

Participants will be selected based on resettlement experience. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The deadline for application has passed. Please note that a maximum of 35 applications will be accepted.

We consider that registration via the summer/winter school website constitutes an indication of interest to participate in the course and in principle agreement to pay the course fees should an applicant be selected to participate. Applicants are screened to ensure that they have an appropriate background for the course. Invitations to participate are sent to a selected number of participants bearing in mind the maximum number of participants each course can cater for. These invitations to participate nominate a specified confirmation timeframe. When a participant confirms their acceptance of a place in response to this invitation to participate and we therefore reserve a place for that person, we consider that this is an agreement to pay the course fees. The University will issue an invoice for the prescribed fee. The invoice should be paid within 30 days of receipt of the invoice. We expect payment for the course to be completed before the course starts. We may refuse entry to any participants who have not paid the fees in advance.

In situations where a person who has accepted a place (i.e. responded positively to the indication to participate) is not able to attend the course for whatever reason, the following will apply. The person who is not able to attend can nominate a replacement person from their organisation. No fee will be charged for any substitution. If the person withdraws without substitution, when this is before eight weeks before the start of the course, no fee is payable and no penalty is applied. Where withdrawal occurs between eight weeks and seven days before the start of the course, a fee of 50% of the applicable course fees will be applied. When withdraw occurs within seven days before the start of the course, the full fee will be applied.

Intersocial consulting
Intersocial Consulting
Community Insights Group
Community Insights Group
Last modified:11 August 2020 3.48 p.m.