HLP and Natural Resource Due Diligence in NRC

The target audience of this note are CC & Thematic Specialists/PDMs who design and write proposals, PMs and coordinators who implement projects, global and regional staff who advise Specialists and HoPs. The secondary audience includes Grant Managers, Area Managers, and Country Directors.

During conflicts and disasters, relationships and institutions tend to weaken and break down. Sometimes, the breakdown of trust in the relationships and systems that govern housing, land, property or natural resources are contributing factors to the conflict itself. Therefore, all humanitarian actors whose interventions rely on access to land, buildings, or natural resources must pay careful attention to these relationships – because failure to do so can add new layers of Housing, Land, Property (HLP) and natural resource disputes or re- ignite old ones, thereby harming communities. Ignoring these risks can have legal, financial, and reputational consequences for NRC. One of the ways to understand these relationships and the institutions that govern them is a process known as ‘due diligence.’ Done correctly, due diligence can become an entry point for a people-centred approach as well as a tool for risk management and mitigation.

While due diligence is now an explicit part of the Sphere Standards for Shelter (6.1) and is alluded to in the Standards for Livelihoods (7.1.3), due diligence is also required for all projects implemented by NRC which require access to buildings, land, property, or natural resources, as a concrete way to ensure that NRC’s interventions “Do No Harm.”

This document, therefore:

  • Clarifies that due diligence is compulsory for all NRC programmes that require access to buildings, land, property, and/or natural resources.
  • Establishes a common definition for due diligence for all programmes across NRC and aligns it with the Project Cycle Management framework to harmonise approaches, to facilitate communications, and to ensure that HLP and natural resource issues are addressed from the onset of projects.
  • Clarifies who is responsible for due diligence and accountable within NRC.
  • Provides a concrete example of what due diligence looks like in practice.