Towards a protocol on fair compensation in cases of legitimate land tenure changes | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
October 2016
Resource Language: 
Copyright details: 
© True Price and University of Groningen

The Organising Committee of the Dutch Land Governance Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue has commissioned an investigation into the need and possibility to develop a protocol on fair compensation in cases of legitimate land tenure changes, with a focus on expropriation. This is in line with the Ministry’s role in the Land Governance Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue. This dialogue involves government, civil society, business, finance and academia.

The protocol should serve as guidance for all relevant actors, such as representatives of affected people, governments, project developers, financers, donors and civil society organisation in cases where a fair compensation needs to be assessed. Land tenure changes, particularly relocation, are an impactful process for holders of tenure rights. The duty to avoid or at least minimize displacement is mentioned across a variety of voluntary guidelines, in both national and international legal systems, and in human rights conventions.

The focal point of this document is fair compensation. However, it is important to note that compensation can only be meaningfully discussed, and an assessment for ‘fairness’ can only take place if the preconditions of “genuine public purpose” and “due process” are met. All cases need to comply with international human rights law and conventions, applicable voluntary guidelines, and other legislation. These can, for instance, include the requirement of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). It is important to mention that no protocol on fair compensation can legitimize expropriation without compliance with all mandatory legal preconditions.

This document is an input document, which aims to facilitate the drafting of a protocol. The goals of this input document are the following:

 To contextualize the issues and provide a common language. 

To help identify a potential goal and scope for the protocol starting from a review of problems in the field.

 To specify the key challenges and decisions that require special attention

 To provide technical material to support the discussion.

This input document was developed in consultation with experts from various organisations, including those affiliated with the Dutch Land Governance Multi Stakeholder Dialogue. We cordially invite all interested readers to join the dialogue and participate in the development of the protocol on fair and rightful compensation. The input of stakeholders and experts is crucial for a well-supported result that can be widely used.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Authors: Pietro Galgani (True Price), Reinier de Adelhart Toorop (True Price), Leon Verstappen
(University of Groningen), Adrian de Groot Ruiz (True Price), Eise van Maanen (True Price).

With invited contributions from Nicholas Tagliarino (University of Groningen), Antoine Bouhey
(ActionAid) and Bernardo Ribeiro de Almeida (Leiden University)



True Price is a social enterprise that aims to contribute to the creation of an economy that creates value for all. We do so by helping organizations quantify, value, and improve their impact on society. We assist multinationals, SMEs, NGOs, and governmental organizations with risk management and strategic decision making by providing insights into their impacts and their associated risks and opportunities.

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart.

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