Welcome / Bienvenue,
Most greenfield and brownfield projects require the occupation of land (and possibly offshore areas) for their development and operation. Securing the timely occupation of land required for the implementation of projects is therefore critical and often requires involuntary resettlement of project affected persons.
Resettlement and compensation activities and associated land issues are generally critical for the bankability of projects. These activities are all about land and people and aim at securing in a cost-effective manner, in compliance with the applicable laws, regulations and international standards and in preserving good and sustainable relationships with neighboring communities, the timely occupation of land required to implement the project and, where appropriate, build and operate project infrastructure. There are are high risks associated with these activities, numerous legal implications and specific challenges in Africa.
I’m a French qualified lawyer with 11 year post qualification experience focused on advising international clients on various aspects of their projects in Francophone Africa (North and Sub-Saharan), in particular in the energy, mining, infrastructure, agribusiness and forestry sectors. My core business is to provide legal support in relation to the implementation of integrated natural resources and infrastructure projects in Francophone Africa (I also worked on matters in other locations, including in South America). I developed in particular a specialised expertise on involuntary resettlement activities and related land issues (stakeholder engagement, free, prior and informed consent, protection of project affected persons’ rights, securing timely land access and occupation, land acquisition, drafting resettlement and compensation agreements and related legal/contractual documentation, grievance mechanism, associated formalities with local authorities, etc.).
I also provide legal assistance on ancillary aspects: securing the permits and approvals required for works with local authorities, compliance issues, business and human rights, crisis management , environmental and social issues in relation to the implementation of projects (such as indigenous peoples’ rights, security and human rights, environmental legislation, local procurement and employment, community development activities, cultural heritage, in-migration, etc.).
I often find interesting articles and reports on these topics on the web and thought it could be useful to gather them on a blog to share this information with other people that may be interested in these issues. Publications will mainly focus on African projects but could also include some articles and reports on other parts of the world, sustainable mining and generally on « business and human rights ».
I might, from time to time, share some personal views based on my professional experience. However, the main purpose of this blog is rather to gather news and documentation published elsewhere in English and French.
Do not hesitate to contact me and/or invite me on LinkedIn should you wish to discuss any issue in relation to the social and environmental impact of projects or generally business and human rights in Africa (and beyond).
I hope that the information and documentation gathered on this blog will be helpful.
Nicolas Heurzeau (firstname.lastname@example.org)