SRI: Comparative Analysis of Sri Lanka Legal Framework for Involuntary Resettlement and ADB Safeguard Policy Statement

Event: Country Safeguard Systems: South Asia

SRI: Comparative Analysis of Sri Lanka Legal Framework for Involuntary Resettlement and ADB Safeguard Policy Statement

29 February 2016

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The objective of this analysis is to prepare anoverview comparingthe legal framework for Sri Lanka’s Country Safeguard System (CSS) for land acquisition (LA) and involuntary resettlement (IR) withthe Policy Principles of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Safeguard Policy Statement (SPS) for IR as set forth in Table 2 of the SPS of 2009. For purposes of this analysisthe Objectives and Policy Principles (PPs) have been disaggregated as necessary into respective Key Elements (KEs) to accommodate the compound nature of many of the individual PPs.The legal framework for land acquisition and involuntary resettlement in Sri Lanka consists of the Land Acquisition Act of 1950, as amended, supplemented by the Land Acquisition Regulations of 2008 and the Land Acquisition (Payment of Compensation) Regulations of 2013.


These legal instruments are supplemented by the National Environmental Act of 1980, as amended,whichprovisions regarding environmental assessment, screening; consultation, disclosure and monitoring apply in respect of a‘prescribed project’ as prescribed by regulations. This includes projectsinvolving the resettlement of 100 or more families (other than actions effected under emergency situations). Keyissues addressed to some extent in this legal framework that are fully or partially equivalent to the Policy Principles for Involuntary Resettlement (IR) specified inADB’s Policy Statement (SPS) include:screening for resettlement impacts; avoidance and minimization of involuntary resettlement; restoration of assets and livelihoods; attention to some categories of vulnerable groups; compensation based (however selectively) on the principle of “replacement cost”; grievance procedures; transitional support; infrastructure services; and access to housing. Issues that require amendment or enactment of additional legal provisions for equivalence withtheSPS Policy Principles for IR include: improvement in the standards of living of displaced poor and other vulnerable groups; extension of replacement cost compensation provisions to all types of projects; disbursement of compensation entitlements prior to physical displacement; integration of resettled populations into and extension of benefit to host communities; provision of credit and job training and civic services to displaced persons; specification for resettlement planning instruments; and monitoring, reporting and disclosure of resettlement outcomes.Some of these issues are addressed in the National Involuntary Resettlement Policy of 2001) whose provisions, if elaborated and transposed into binding legal instruments would bring Sri Lanka’s legal framework intogreater equivalence with the ADB SPS Policy Principles for IR.

Geographical Focus: 
Sri Lanka
Type of Content: 
Learning Event


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