Internal to cross-border displacement

Research agenda

The vast majority of people who flee their homes to escape conflict, violence and disasters do not cross an international border. Of the 65 million people forcibly displaced around the world, 40 million – or more than six out of ten – are internally displaced people. They are the invisible majority.

The relationship between internal displacement and movements of refugees and migrants is not well understood. This is a major knowledge gap which we want to address. In the coming years, we will seek to build an evidence base painting a more quantitative and qualitative picture of the entire displacement continuum, from the drivers of onward movement across borders to return to countries of origin.

Download the research agenda (PDF, 0.5MB) in French, Spanish or Arabic. Click on read more for the English version.

Latest publication

IDMC has set out to better understand the relationship between internal displacement and cross-border movements. This case study on Colombia forms part of the resulting Invisible Majority thematic series. Based on over 200 interviews with displaced Colombians, examines drivers of displacement and onward movement of internally displaced people (IDPs) within and across borders, provides better understanding of priorities and preconditions for voluntary return, and examine obstacles to durable solutions for returning refugees and IDPs in Colombia.

While the report does not set out to assess the successes and failures of the 2016 Peace Agreement, it nonetheless brings to light a number of challenges to its implementation.





Research lead

Elizabeth J. Rushing

We are always looking to strengthen and expand partnerships. If you are interested in working with us, please contact

Have a look at our other research areas here