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

Following decades of civil war, a comprehensive peace agreement and the subsequent independence of South Sudan in 2011 prompted as many as two million refugees to return to the world’s youngest country. Many, however, were displaced again when internal conflict erupted in December 2013. A temporary reprieve following the signing of a peace agreement in 2015 enabled some to return to their homes, but conflict soon flared up again. A revitalised peace agreement was signed in 2018, but it is unclear whether the latest wave of returns will this time prove sustainable.

This study examines the relationship between internal displacement, cross-border movements and durable solutions in South Sudan. It is based on more than 200 interviews in Bentiu and Juba. 

Research lead

Chloe Sydney

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

Have a look at our other research areas here