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Call for Abstracts: Displacement Conference

Getting to 2030: Forced displacement and sustainable development

18 October 2018, Domaine de Penthes, Geneva

Conference Overview

The internal displacement of millions of people every year is a human tragedy as well as a political, social and economic problem for many countries across the globe. Recognition is growing that large scale and protracted internal displacement is often underpinned by problematic development trajectories. Similarly, repeated instances of new as well as persistent, long-term internal displacement both have a significant, if yet unquantified, impact on national and regional economies, stability and security.

This year, 2018, marks the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. A number of initiatives and events have been launched to celebrate this important milestone. Maintaining this momentum beyond 2018 will be critical to ensure continued progress on internal displacement. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), established in 1998 as the world's authoritative source of data, research and analysis on internal displacement.

This interdisciplinary conference will look at ways to take forward the internal displacement agenda beyond 2018 by exploring how it fits into sustainable development efforts and the UN prevention agenda. Lessons from a range of disciplines, including migration studies, economics, health, human rights, and political science, will meet insights from humanitarian and development practitioners, policy makers and donors. With a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and corresponding national priorities, the conference will explore what it actually means to integrate internal displacement into national development and economic planning today and in the future.

ThemesSustainable Development Goals wheel

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development makes clear mention of internally displaced persons as a vulnerable group that should not be left behind. Although the SDGs do not include specific targets on internal displacement, the issue cuts across all 17 goals and failure to address it risks holding back, or even reversing, progress.

Evidence is growing that the negative impacts of internal displacement hamper national progress, however the evidence is still fragmented and systematic studies are scant. Countries are also calling for applicable lessons and examples of effective ways to integrate internal displacement concerns – be they focussed on protection, disasters risk reduction, urban resilience or economic impacts – into national planning. 

To address these knowledge gaps, IDMC invites contributions from academics, applied researchers, economists, policy makers, national and local officials, and development or humanitarian practitioners working on human mobility, peacebuilding, risk management and sustainable development. We welcome presentations and interventions from those academics, policy makers and practitioners who are willing to present lessons of relevance to internal displacement from other fields or disciplines related to human mobility who may have insights on this topic.

Conference sessions will link to the SDGs to be reviewed next year at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the main UN platform reviewing progress on the 2030 Agenda.  In 2019, the SDGs under review will be: 

•    SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
•    SDG 8 – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
•    SDG 10 –  Reduce inequality within and among countries
•    SDG 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
•    SDG 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
•    SDG 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Issues to be addressed may include: the impacts of internal displacement on long-term educational and employment outcomes; the ways in which protracted internal displacement affects economic growth and inequality; how best to understand and address the interplay between sudden-onset disasters, slow-onset impacts arising from climate change and internal displacement; the nature of the specific access to justice and state accountability barriers faced by internally displaced people; the challenges to collecting and aggregating data to support planning and prevention of internal displacement; or existing gaps and opportunities for financing.

Beyond these themes, proposals which present relevant lessons under other SDGs, or explore other aspects of the relationship between internal displacement, sustainable development and prevention, are also welcome. 

Submission Process

Abstracts of a maximum of 500 words that give an overview of the proposed presentation content and format should be sent to and by 31 August 2018. 

Selected contributors will be informed via email by 5 September 2018 with guidelines for submissions of the full presentation, expected by 5 October 2018.

NOTE: This process is now closed.