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Involuntary Resettlement: A Cross Country Study on Urban Inequality and Poverty

Inequality and poverty are mutually reinforcing phenomena and processes. Poverty creating and reducing processes take place in interaction with markets and socio-economic conditions, and are marked by aspects such as inclusion and exclusion. This research, in Cochin, Colombo and Jaffna, will strive to comprehend and theorize the complex interlinks between inequality and poverty within the context of urban resettlement. It will examine the difference that displacement makes to the condition of urban IDPs (internally displaced persons) in contrast to the lives of urban non-IDPs. Among other things, it will look at medium and long term inequality, impoverishment, social and economic opportunities for the second generation (children), civic participation, and entrepreneurial behavior.

The research team will study low income communities in Cochin, Colombo and Jaffna where displacement and resettlement have taken place as a result of development and conflict. Economic and livelihoods related data will be collected from samples of affected households along with data from government institutions, universities, research organizations, developmental agencies, and other actors.

The IDP and non-IDP comparison will be based on a series of longitudinal quantitative and qualitative surveys which will permit analysis of the degree, nature, and impact of resettlement on post-war situations and more stable situations caused by development induced displacement (DID) and conflict induced displacement (CID).

The academic research will be done over three years (April 2013 to March 2016) in three South Asian cities: Cochin, Colombo and Jaffna. The Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Kerala will lead the research in Cochin and ICES will spearhead the research in Colombo and Jaffna.

The study will generate concrete recommendations to enhance the capacity of local, national and international actors to effectively integrate the perspectives of affected and vulnerable populations in urban development programmes and policy making.

The research will be led by:

Dr. Rajith Lakshman, Team Leader (Research Officer, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, Research Fellow, Middlesex University, UK)
Dr. Dhammika Herath (Researcher, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Dr. Michael Collyer (Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Sussex, UK)
Prof. W. D. Lakshman (Chairman, Institute of Policy Studies/ Emeritus Professor of Economics)
Prof. Irudaya Rajan (Professor, Centre for Development Studies, Kerala)
Dr. K. Amirthalingam (Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Dr. I. M. Lakshman (Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Danesh Jayathilake (Final year PhD Student, University of Colombo/University of Sussex)
Asela Ekanayaka (Research Assistant, International Centre for Ethnic Studies)

The study is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Department for International Development (DfID).

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