About IDMC

IDMC is the leading source of information and analysis on internal displacement

IDMC was set up in 1998 at the request of the international community to fill an important knowledge gap on the global scale and patterns of internal displacement. Since then, tens of millions of people have become internally displaced each year as a result of conflict, violence, disasters and human rights violations across the world. While the numbers are rising and the needs of millions go unaddressed, internal displacement continues to receive insufficient political attention and commitment. 

Our data and evidence serves to keep the issue and the plight of internally displaced people (IDPs) high on the global agenda. By being widely referred to in the media, our work raise public awareness of internal displacement. In addition, it provides a unique reference point for global policy-making on issues related to displacement, including:

What we do

  1. We paint a comprehensive picture of internal displacement worldwide with credible and timely data on all situations of internal displacement, regardless of their main cause or context.
  2. We provide an interpretation of this global data with expert analysis of the drivers, patterns and impacts of internal displacement across different situations and contexts.
  3. We translate this data into evidence and analysis that can influence and support global and regional policies and programmes affecting IDPs.

Our key services

The Global Internal Displacement Database (GIDD)

IDMC's open online database captures data from sources and partners and gives free access to internal displacement related information. The GIDD covers all countries and territories for which we have obtained data on internal displacement. To date, IDMC has reported on situations of displacement in 169 countries and territories around the world. This include 69 conflicts and several thousands incidents of disaster-induced displacement.

The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID)

IDMC's annual flagship report aims to take stock of all situations of displacement and indicate which require most attention and resources across humanitarian and development sectors. By revealing what is known about internal displacement, how it is calculated, and what remains unknown, the GRID is also a way to flag key blind spots and areas where the evidence base needs strengthening.

Situations updates

Our website is the 'one-stop shop' for all interested in internal displacement. The website gives access to the database, the latest data and analysis of displacement at a country level, our regular Internal Displacement Updates and information on our research areas providing reports, briefing papers and other publications. 

Research and policy influencing

IDMC carries out research and analysis on the drivers, patterns and impacts of internal displacement across different contexts. By doing so, we provide evidence, expertise and tools to influence key global and regional policy processes. New research during the next few years will cover:

  • patterns of internal to cross-border displacement
  • protracted internal displacement
  • urban internal displacement
  • displacement in the context of slow-onset disasters and climate change
  • structural drivers and socio-economics impacts of internal displacement. 

Innovation at IDMC

IDMC has adopted a series of innovative tools and technologies to estimate future displacement risks, monitor displacement is near-real time and fill current gaps in data and monitoring. Some of this innovations include analysis of Big Data, the use of satellite imagery and Artificial Intelligence to recognise and detect new displacements and the use of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to bring our global monitoring and management of data to a scale never achieved before. 

IDMC is also breaking new ground with the creation of the first-ever Disaster Displacement Risk Model. Through this model IDMC can generate a "displacement risk profile" for individual countries, country groupings or for the entire world. For some natural hazards such as storms and floods, the risk model could also be used to generate and transmit early warnings to the media and disaster management authorities. 

In today's world many internally displaced people remain invisible: technology can help ensure that 'no one is left behind".

What is internal displacement?

Internal displacement is a situation in which “persons or groups of persons […]have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognised state border” (Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, United Nations, 1998, E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2).

What is the difference between an internally displaced person and a refugee?

The main difference between IDPs and refugees is that internally displaced people remain within the borders of their own country. Refugees have crossed an international border in search of refuge, and this gives them legal refugee status which entitles them to certain rights and international protection. However an IDP is not a legal status because IDPs are still under the jurisdiction of their own government and may not claim any rights additional to those shared by their fellow citizens.

However, IDPs are often in need of special protection, not least because the government responsible for protecting them is sometimes unwilling or unable to do so, or may itself be the cause of displacement.

Despite the differences in legal status and of entitlement to aid from the international humanitarian community, the causes of displacement and the experience of being displaced are often similar for both IDPs and refugees. Much like refugees, IDPs often feel like strangers in their place of refuge.