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View the PDF document Policy dialogue : examining squatter resettlement in Fiji: a case study of the Peceliema community relocation in 2007 from the Suva Pony Club to Waila Housing City
Author: Metcalfe, Robin.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.A.
Subject: Squatter settlements -- Fiji, Housing -- Fiji, Squatters -- Fiji -- Economic conditions
Date: 2008.
Call No.: Pac HD 7287 .96 .F5 M48 2008
BRN: 1176450
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: This study investigates the impact of squatter community relocation under the Fiji Government squatter relocation scheme, a nationwide strategy hinged on State provision of alternative housing. A critical aspect of the scheme is that settlement residents can apply for government subsidized land lot allocation in peri- urban areas through the Housing Authority. The research focuses on a case study of the Pony Club area (or Bai Ni Ose) informal community relocation which involved a unique dialogue process between the University of the South Pacific as landowner, the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare, and Housing,1 the Housing Authority, and the Community in 2005-2006. The undertaking was termed "the Bai Ni Ose Relocation Project." The relocation agreement reached finds 30 out of 40 households have conditionally obtained land lots and are currently re-establishing their community at the Waila 3B housing subdivision in Dauvuilevu near Nausori. 1 Prior to the 2006 National Elections the Fiji Squatter Settlement Unit was overseen by the Ministry of Local Government, Housing, Squatter Settlement and Environment; for the period that the Bai Ni Ose Relocation Project was underway the overseeing Ministry was the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare, Poverty Alleviation and Housing. As of January 2008 the Squatter Settlement Unit reports to the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, Employment, Local Government, Urban Development and Housing. Hereafter 'the Ministry' will refer to the Ministry overseeing the Squatter Settlement Unit, a key actor in the Bai Ni Ose Relocation Project, unless otherwise stated. 2 This includes coerced agreement to resettle. Beginning with a brief word about the current 'squatter discourse' in Fiji, this thesis introduces the public policy that guided the Bai Ni Ose area relocation and summarizes the motivation and structure of the research. It looks internationally at the links between urbanisation and squatter settlements in light of trends observed in the Pacific and Fijian context. Critical consideration is given to the origin and varied understandings for the concept of 'squatting'. A review of the literature on international public policy responses to informal settlement issues and some of the major theories upon which these are predicated is presented. This is followed by a discussion of the Fijian policy response to present, identifying the roles of key actors and influence of policy decisions. The case study research methodology and progression as well as the parameters of the study are elaborated to situate the researcher in relation to the Peceliema Community. The research findings show that critical aspects of the informal settlement relocation policy need to be revisited if it is to be sustainable in the long term both for relocated communities and for the Housing Authority as well as broadly for urban development in Fiji. This thesis concludes with an evaluation of the Bai Ni Ose Relocation Project using the Asian Development Bank Handbook on involuntary resettlement as a benchmark for best practise. The thesis makes recommendations for action by the Housing Authority and the Ministry to reinforce the survival strategies and support the Community through these crucial initial years of adjustment to the new physical and economic situation of the Waila 3B subdivision. These constructive 'next-steps' include easing uncertainties surrounding the provision of solid waste management services, water meterage, and the permanence of the Peceliema Vou Church. By reigniting engagement with the Community to encourage restoration and rehabilitation at the new site, the Housing Authority and Ministry will be supporting community building and integration with the host community already settled at Waila while also creating a more responsive and hospitable climate for the relocation of other low-income communities in the future. With national elections slated for the first quarter of 2009, now is the time to learn from involuntary2 resettlement experience so that policy can be revamped and expediently placed before the new Parliament and Cabinet as the new leadership will strive to take Fiji forward.
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