Development environment

Media Centre

2017 Africa Report on Internal Displacement

Press Release

15,000 people displaced every day inside African countries, according to new IDMC report

IDMC’s director calls on the development sector to join humanitarians in preventing and reducing internal displacement and finding long-term solutions for the millions of people affected

6 December 2017 (Geneva)

As the world focuses its attention on preventing irregular migration and protecting refugees coming out of Africa, the displacement that happens behind its own borders persists at an alarming rate.

A new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) reveals that since the beginning of 2017, 2.7 million people have been displaced by conflict, violence or disasters, and have not crossed an international border. In the first half of the year, 997,000 new internal displacements due to conflict were reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), more than in the whole of 2016, and 206,000 in the Central African Republic, four times the figure for the previous year.

Behind the numbers lie the blighted lives of people forced to leave their homes, often at a moment’s notice and in the most traumatic of circumstances, and receiving little protection and assistance from their governments. In countries with low coping capacity and weak governance, the majority of people internally displaced live in conditions of extreme vulnerability, and are often at risk of further upheaval and long-term impoverishment. This is the case for many of the 12.6 million Africans living in displacement as of the end of 2016.

Read the full press release (French version)

2017 Africa Report on Internal Displacement


A win for IDPs

15 November 2017 (Geneva) 

Yesterday was an encouraging day for those of us working to put internally displaced people back on the global agenda. 
At the fourth thematic discussion of the Global Compact on Refugees, and following months of dialogue and deliberations, IDMC presented its concerns that the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) overlooked internal displacement and its clear linkages with refugee movements.
Both of our recommendations were explicitly endorsed in the plenary closing and recommended to be retained in the compact’s programme of action. These two recommendations were simple, but will have a positive impact on the lives of people affected by internal displacement if they are included in the Global Compact:
First, we called on Member States, in particular countries of origin for returning refugees, to integrate the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement into their national law and policy. As a framework reflecting the vulnerabilities and rights of people displaced and under the protection of their own national governments, the Guiding Principles should be used alongside international refugee, human rights and humanitarian law to ensure that returning refugees are received “in a safe, dignified and humane manner and with full respect for human rights in accordance with obligations under international law”, as stated in CRRF article 11.b. 
Second, we called on Member States, UN agencies and their partners to expand and coordinate the collection of interoperable data that covers the entire displacement continuum, from internal displacement to refuge abroad and repatriation/return. 
Informed planning across sectors on sustainable return and reintegration, as called for in CRRF article 12, cannot move forward without data that takes the specific needs of returnees into account and so engages more decisively with internally displaced people. This means monitoring returnees’ trajectories over time, not just at drop-off but much further into their settlement and reintegration process, and gathering data on a range of indicators that benchmark progress towards durable solutions systematically, comprehensively and in ways that are collaborative and interoperable.
We will keep the momentum going on these two recommendations in the coming rounds of consultations, including the High Commissioner’s Dialogue in December, and we invite and encourage you to join us in turning yesterday’s promise into a concrete commitment for the invisible majority of displaced people. 

Press release

Sudden onset disasters to make 14 million people homeless every year

13 October 2017 (Geneva) 

Research findings released today on International Day for Disaster Reduction forecast a continued rise in homelessness among people in the world’s most disaster prone countries unless significant progress is made in managing disaster risk.
An unique modelling exercise based on the latest data covering 204 countries and territories calculates that sudden onset disasters such as floods and cyclones, are likely to displace on average 13.9 million people each year, excluding those involved in pre-emptive evacuations.
Most of this displacement is being driven by flooding which is on the increase in a warming world where population growth in hazard-prone parts of the world has increased exposure.

Read the rest of the press release here.

Press release

More than 9 million people already displaced globally in 2017

16 August 2017 (Geneva)

Provisional estimates based on data available show that conflict, violence and disasters have caused more than 9 million new internal displacements globally in the first half of 2017.

Of the 9.1 million new internal displacements, 4.6 million were caused by conflict, a figure which is already two-thirds of last year’s total.

The countries with the highest new internal displacement by conflict are: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): 997,000; Iraq: 922,000; Syria: 692,000; the Philippines: 466,000; Ethiopia: 213,000; Central African Republic (CAR): 206,000; South Sudan: 163,000; the Gambia: 162,000; Afghanistan: 159,000; Nigeria: 142,000; Yemen: 112,000; and Somalia: 70,000.

Disaster displacement continues at an unabated pace too with 4.5 million new displacements across 350 events. 

The disasters triggering the highest numbers of new internal displacements were: floods in the southern provinces, China, in June: 858,000; tropical cyclone Mora, across Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, in May and June: 851,000; Visayas and Mindanao floods, in the Philippines, between January to March: 381,000; rainy season, in Peru, between January to June: 293,000; tropical cyclone Enawo, in Madagascar, in March: 246,000; Oroville Dam flood, in the US:, in February: 188,000; Maguindanao floods, in the Philippines, in May: 182,000; tropical cyclone Dineo, in Mozambique and Botswana, in February: 147,000; typhoon Merbok (known locally as Bai Miao), in China, in June: 117,000; and Monsoon floods, in Sri Lanka, between May to June: 104,000.

Read the rest of the press release here


Press Release

20173101 IDetect IDMC slider

Data for Democracy wins Unite Ideas #IDETECT data challenge to monitor worldwide patterns of internal displacement

NEW YORK, 22 June (Office of Information and Communications Technology) — The United Nations announced today that Data for Democracy (D4D) has won the Unite Ideas Internal Displacement Event Tagging and Extraction Clustering Tool (#IDETECT) data challenge.

Data for Democracy is an inclusive community-driven initiative for data scientists and technologists to volunteer and collaborate on projects that make a positive impact on society. The D4D #IDETECT solution was built by a team of volunteers from around the world, including Mr. Aneel Nazareth, Mr. George Richardson, Mr. Simon Bedford, Ms. Wendy Mak, Mr. James Allen, Mr. Yane Frenski, Mr. Domingo Hui, Mr. Charles Neiswender, Mr. Daniel Forsyth, Mr. Joshua Arnold, and Mr. Alex Rich.

The #IDETECT challenge, a collaboration between the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) in Geneva, challenged the public to create an open source tool capable of estimating the number of people reported as internally displaced worldwide, and their locations, with a significant level of accuracy. (...)

Read the rest of the press release published by the UN Office of Information and Communications Technology here (French version here). 

Opinion Piece

Don't just blame drought for displacement in Horn of Africa

By Alexandra Bilak, IDMC Director. 

After three years of drought in the Horn of Africa, families in South Sudan are eating seeds to survive, risking next season’s crops. In neighbouring Somalia, hundreds of thousands have abandoned their homes, pastures and livestock since the end of last year, moving in search of food, water or work. But is drought alone to blame? New data and analysis by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reveal a more complex picture. ­(...)

To read the full opinion piece published by Reuters click here

Opinion Piece

Why we need to put internal displacement back on the global agenda

By Alexandra Bilak, IDMC Director 

While politicians, the media and the general public have been fixated – with good reason – on the fate of refugees and migrants worldwide, another massive and largely neglected crisis has continued unabated behind many countries’ borders. In 2016, IDMC recorded 31.1 million new cases of people becoming displaced internally because of conflict, violence or disasters. This figure, published this week in our 2017 Global Report on Internal Displacement, is the equivalent of one person forced to flee every second.

Of the 65.3 million people now displaced by conflict and violence in the world, two thirds of them are displaced internally. The fate of these people lies in the hands of their governments, some of whom are unwilling or unable to assist and protect them. Internal displacement is a crisis of enormous proportions that the world has effectively sidelined- which is a short-sighted failure that highlights a lack of solidarity and empathy, but also impacts the way we are responding to the global refugee crisis.More broadly, it shows just how far we are from meeting our collective targets as a global community. (...)

To read the full full opinion piece published by Reuters click here



2017 Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID)

Press release

More than 31 million people displaced within their own country in 2016 

Conflict, violence and disasters caused 31.1 million new internal displacements in 2016, according to a new report released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

"In 2016, one person every second was forced to flee their home inside their own country. Internally displaced people now outnumber refugees by two to one. It is urgent to put internal displacement back on the global agenda," said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the NRC.

Of the 6.9 million new internal displacements caused by conflict in 2016, 2.6 million took place in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Global Report on Internal Displacement. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was the country worst affected, with a spike of 922,000 new displacements during the year alone. Next were Syria (824,000), Iraq (659,000), Afghanistan (653,000), Nigeria (501,000) and Yemen (478,000). As of the end of 2016, a total of 40.3 million people were displaced within their own country as a result of conflict and violence, some of whom having been displaced for decades. (...)

Read the full press release in English here.

The press release is also available in other languages:





Further information on the GRID 2017, including a media pack with regional press releases, report's highlights, photo and video gallery, brolls and infographics, is available here


More than 12 million internally displaced people in Africa, says new report from IDMC 

Friday, 9 December 2016 (Geneva) – The Africa Report on Internal Displacement, launched in Addis Ababa today, finds that in 2015 alone, 3.5 million people were newly displaced by conflict, violence and rapid-onset disasters in Africa. This is an average of more than 9,500 people per day uprooted from their homes. At the end of 2015, a total of 12.4 million people were living in ongoing displacement in 21 African countries as a result of conflict and violence. Each of these numbers represents a personal tragedy and presents a challenge for local, national and international responders.

Africa Report Facts & Figures (English version, French version)

Full press release available here 

Africa’s invisible internal displacement, opinion piece written by the report’s author (published by Reuters)

Opinion piece

Trump's policies could increase displacement from Central America, the Middle East - and climate change

by Alexandra Bilak, Director IDMC

It has now been a little over a week since Donald Trump captured the White House, a result that many headlines around the world have described as a “political earthquake”. Having absorbed the initial surprise, many individuals and organizations, including the team here at Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), are now looking to recalibrate their role in relation to a Trump administration.

The full opinion piece published in Reuters is available here


The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre congratulates Cecilia Jimenez-Damary on her appointment as the new Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons.

Monday, 3 October 2016 (Geneva) – The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) congratulates Cecilia Jimenez-Damary on her appointment as the new Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons. The announcement was made on Friday, 30 September, by the UN Human Rights Council during its 33rd session. 

The full statement is available here.

UN Summit on refugees and migrants

IDMC responds to shortcomings of the UN Summit on refugees and migrants, as new IDP figures show relentless increase in internal displacement in 2016.



Alexandra Bilak appointed as new Director of IDMC

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is delighted to announce the appointment of Alexandra Bilak as its new Director. She will officially take up this role on 1st August 2016.

20 July 2016 (Geneva) – As IDMC Director, Alexandra will lead IDMC towards achieving the objectives of its 2015-2020 strategy, and will consolidate IDMC’s role as the leading source of data and analysis on internal displacement. In this phase, IDMC will work with new and existing partners to provide ever-more compelling evidence of the drivers, scale, patterns and impacts of displacement across the world.

The full statement is available here



IDMC has signed a join expert statement on internally displaced persons to present at the High Level Meeting to Address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants (19 September 2016). 

Below is an extract of the statement, for the full text and the list of signatories, click here.

"We strongly support a prominent focus on those displaced by conflict who remain within the borders of their own countries at the High Level Meeting to Address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. We recommend that the Declaration to be adopted at the Meeting include IDPs in a meaningful way, not only because failure to do so may increase cross border movements, but most importantly because the safety and security of millions of IDPs rests with the strong commitment of the international community to work with governments to ensure adequate protection, assistance and solutions".

Spanish version of the statement available here

New IDMC report on India calls for durable solutions to address internal displacement resulting from development projects. Each year millions of people worldwide are uprooted and left in extreme need as a result of this phenomenon. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016 (Geneva) – The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) launched today Pushed Aside: Displaced for ‘Development’ in India, its first thematic report dedicated to the issue of internal displacement caused by development projects.

Internal displacement as a result of dam and road construction, mining activities, urban renewal, sporting events and other development activities is currently not covered in global displacement estimates, and rarely addressed as a humanitarian and development challenge of global proportions.

Such projects, however, have historically forced large numbers of people off their land “in the name of progress”. A conservative estimate points to 15 million people displaced each year, more than double the number of 8.6 million people displaced by conflict and violence in 2015. 

Full press release available here 



IDMC on World Refugee Day 2016

Ignoring the roots of Europe’s refugee influx

by Alexandra Bilak, Director (a.i.) IDMC

The current refugee influx in Europe is a symptom of the failure to protect and assist displaced people in their own country

Waves lap gently against a tiny, lifeless body on a deserted beach. Families run from clouds of teargas at a border crossing. A father breaks down in tears as he carries his child ashore. These iconic images of Europe’s refugee influx, its largest since World War II, have shaken us to our core and brought fragments of distant chaos to our borders, forcing us to bear witness.

But while we wring our hands about how to chip away at the tip of the iceberg, the true scale of the phenomenon and its human implications lurk unaddressed beneath the surface. World Refugee Day offers us the opportunity to honour those who flee their countries in search of safety by looking at their exodus through a wider lens. Many if not most refugees did not leave their country at the first sign of war, but instead fled first inside their nation’s borders, by choice or lack of it, hoping for peace or aid that never came.

Today, for every 10 refugees there are almost 20 internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled similar violence but did not or could not cross an international border. By the end of 2015, there were more than 40.8 million IDPs worldwide, uprooted by conflict and violence across 28 countries. Five countries - Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Ukraine - featured in two solemn lists: the ten countries with most new internal displacement during the year, and the ten countries of origin for those seeking asylum in Europe.

The full opinion piece published in Reuters on World Refugee Day is available here 


IDMC at the World Humanitarian Summit

23 - 24 May 2016

A list of our activities at the World Humanitarian Summit is available here.

20160520 whs idmc


28 million people forcibly displaced by conflict and disasters in 2015 and millions more still invisible: IDMC new report highlights global crisis of internal displacement

11 May 2016

Conflict, violence and disasters internally displaced 27.8 million people in 2015, subjecting a record number of men, women and children to the trauma and upheaval of being forcibly displaced within their own country.

"This is the equivalent of the combined populations of New York City, London, Paris and Cairo grabbing what they can carry, often in a state of panic, and setting out on a journey filled with uncertainty," said Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). “Put another way, around 66,000 people abandoned their homes every day of 2015.”

Today, NRC's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) publishes its new Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2016), marking a breakthrough for IDMC as it synthesizes all of its reporting on global internal displacement into one report. This will be supported by a new Global Data Platform which will continually update the figures online. “By reporting on all situations of internal displacement, regardless of their cause, our intention is to provide an ever more holistic picture of what has truly become a global crisis,” said Alexandra Bilak, Director (a.i.) of IDMC.

The report covers internal displacement caused by conflict and sudden-onset disasters, on which IDMC has been the global authority for years. In addition it now also explores displacement currently "off the grid", such as that caused by criminal and gang violence, slow-onset disasters like drought, and development projects. It also takes the reader “inside the grid” and presents some of the methodological and conceptual challenges faced in trying to paint as complete a picture as possible.

Read the full press release in:

Download the 2016 Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2016)

Media Coverage Highlights available here

IDMC launches 2016 appeal for 4.9m USD to further expand and innovate its work on internal displacement worldwide

2 March 2016

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) publishes today its annual Appeal which outlines the organisation’s key plans and activities for 2016.

We begin 2016 facing a number of challenges, with unprecedented levels of displacement resulting from both new and protracted crises worldwide. Our appeal underscores our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation in our work. Some of our new activities include developing a state-of-the-art database which will help us provide real-time estimates of internal displacement situations across the world as well as early warnings of future displacement linked to natural hazards. To ensure that the database contains accurate and timely information, IDMC will play a leading role in improving IDP data and reporting systems by developing guidelines primary data collection.

Read the full statement

Download the Appeal 2016

New database reveals the strengths and gaps in national and regional frameworks on internal displacement

On behalf of the Global Protection Cluster Task Team on Law and Policy, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), today launched a new law and policy database revealing how countries around the world are framing their response to situations of internal displacement through national legislation and policies and regional instruments such as the Kampala Convention and Great Lakes Pact.

This tool adds a further dimension to IDMC’s role as the world’s leading source of data and analysis on internal displacement to inform the decisions and actions of policy-makers and humanitarian practitioners engaged in work to ease the plight and uphold the rights of internally displaced people.

Read the full press release

View the law and policy database

UNHCR High Commissioner's Dialogue

17 December 2015

IDMC's Director Alfredo Zamudio presented at the second thematic session: Addressing ‘new’ root causes: urbanisation, environmental degradation, food insecurity, water scarcity, natural hazards and climate change - Analysing displacement drivers to mobilise action

Read the talking points

16 December 2015

Press release: Only when root causes of internal displacement are understood can there be sustainable solutions

As the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) eighth annual High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges – on the theme Understanding and addressing the root causes of displacement commences today, the IDMC is releasing a new paper on the root causes of internal displacement. 

Read the full press release

Read the briefing paper

COP 21

30 November - 11 December 2015

As COP21 gets underway the Advisory Group on Climate Change and Human Mobility, including IDMC, has produced a set of recommendations to government delegates on displacement, migration and planned relocation issues. The aim is to influence the final version of the Climate Change Agreement that the world's nations are set to sign up to when the conference culminates.

The Global Estimates report, released in July 2015, reveals how in the last seven years, an estimated one person every second has been displaced by a disaster, with 19.3 million people forced to flee their homes in 2014 alone. Disaster displacement is on the rise, and as policy leaders worldwide advance towards the adoption of a post-2015 global agenda, the time has never been better to address it.

Global Estimates Press Release

20 July 2015

19.3 million displaced by disasters but “mother nature not to blame’” says new report

19,3 millions de personnes déplacées par des catastrophes « pas si naturelles », indique un nouveau rapport

19,3 millones de personas se encuentran desplazadas a causa de desastres, pero el nuevo informe afirma que “no es culpa de la madre naturaleza”



Partner activities at COP21

Norwegian Refugee Council

COP21: Hoping for a strong global climate agreement

Climate Change: Looking for a halt to global warming


Human mobility in a changing climate: the time for action is now


COP21: Climate change, refugees and couture

Nansen initiative

Prepare and Adapt: Climate Change and Human Mobility – in Paris and Beyond (side event)

IDMC in the media

Is migration the elephant in the room?

Why Migration Must Be Central to Paris COP21 Climate Talks

How Will the World Address Loss and Damage From Climate Disruption?

Most Displaced Syrians Aren't Refugees. They're Trapped Inside The Country 

IDMC and partners in the media

Week 1 of the conference: see list of links here.