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 70.8 million people forcibly displaced around the world, 41.3 million – or nearly 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

North-eastern Nigeria has borne the brunt of so-called Boko Haram’s jihadist insurgency since 2009. More than 1.9 million people were internally displaced as a result of the group’s violence as of January 2019, and over 230,000 refugees have sought shelter in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

This report, which is based on interviews with 345 internally displaced people (IDPs) and returning refugees, examines the drivers of displacement and onward movement within and across Nigeria’s borders, provides a better understanding of people’s priorities and preconditions for return, and explores obstacles and opportunities for durable solutions.





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