Dear colleagues, partners and friends,
I would like to start by wishing you all a wonderful new year 2023, hoping it brings success, good health and happiness.
As you may know, this turn of the calendar is a special one for IDMC as we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments to date, to take stock of what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown since our establishment in 1998, and to lay the foundations for the next chapter of our institutional life.
The year 2022 brought many new challenges, from the war in Ukraine and food insecurity in the Horn of Africa, to criminal violence in Haiti and unprecedented floods in Pakistan. These events forced millions of children, women and men to leave their homes and have brought into stark relief some of the tragic realities of internal displacement. They remind us that much still needs to be done to address the underlying causes which lie at the heart of this complex issue.
Despite this rather bleak end-of-year picture, we said goodbye to 2022 with a sense of accomplishment and some hope for the future.
Our Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) published in May shone a much-needed light on the needs of children and young people caught up in displacement. It brought together dozens of partners and experts working on this topic, offered a baseline for future research, and laid the groundwork for more child-sensitive policies and programmes as well as increased investments in education, health and livelihoods. GRID 2022 makes a compelling case for development approaches to displacement, by looking at how inaction today could cause irreversible damage to the world of tomorrow.
Our mid-year update showed how relentlessly new conflicts and disasters continued to push large numbers of people to flee their homes in the first half of 2022. In September, we published our first-ever regional report on disaster displacement in the Asia-Pacific region, compiling 12 years of data and analysis on displacement associated with sudden and slow-onset disasters. The report was launched at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Brisbane and presented at a high-level event in Geneva alongside our new partner and report co-producer the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This partnership symbolises for us the increased interest and commitment by multilateral development banks on this topic, and we very much look forward to continuing our collaboration with development partners such as ADB, the European Union’s Department for International Partnerships (INTPA) and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development while exploring similar opportunities with the African, Inter-American and Islamic Development Banks in 2023.
All in all, 2022 was a busy year at IDMC. We published close to 30 research reports, case studies, technical papers and blogs exploring the scale, patterns, impacts and solutions to internal displacement across the world. We organised and spoke at numerous events and convened new debates with hundreds of renowned policy makers and practitioners. From the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, to Georgia, Peru and Senegal, we continued to advocate for better data, inform and advise partners on challenges and solutions, and build new partnerships.
The IDMC team continued to grow last year. We welcomed new staff members who bring fresh perspective and energy to our work. This growth is possible thanks to the unprecedented support we received from our funding partners in 2022. Our institutional growth is also testimony to the growing interest and commitment of donors towards IDPs.
Finally, our move over the summer to a new office, which we now share with over 100 colleagues from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and other international non-governmental partners in Geneva, offers a welcome change in our daily lives after two years of Covid-induced remote work.
Today, we are immensely proud to be monitoring and reporting on internal displacement in over 200 countries and territories, and to be advising governments and partners around the world on how best to measure, anticipate, respond and find solutions to this phenomenon. Over the last 25 years, our analysis hasn’t just helped uncover the growing scale and impacts of internal displacement, but has contributed to convincing governments, international financial institutions, the UN system, the private sector and civil society to grant it the space it deserves in national and global policy agendas.
We are witnessing a real shift towards more understanding, recognition and commitment to this issue. An increasing number of governments are coming to IDMC for data and tools, technical advice and best practices, while new spaces for dialogue and learning are opening up. The 2020-2021 UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Internal Displacement generated political momentum and sparked a fresh interest in the topic that continues to this day. The appointment of a UN Special Adviser on Solutions to Internal Displacement offers a unique opportunity to build on this momentum and to leverage the best data, policy, programmatic and financing options to make progress real and durable.
We will be dedicating this year’s GRID to internal displacement in the context of the global food crisis, and look forward to the discussions that its launch in Geneva on 16th May will generate. We will also focus this year’s Annual Conference on a global stocktake of progress, with retrospectives on IDMC’s role since our establishment twenty-five years ago, and the launch of our 2023 Internal Displacement Index report.
On behalf of the IDMC team, I would like to thank you all sincerely for your trust and support. None of our achievements over this quarter century would have been possible without the help of our financial, technical and political partners.
We don’t expect the year ahead to come without its share of new challenges, but we will rise to them with determination and energy.
We look forward to this next chapter with all of you, and wish you once again a happy and peaceful 2023.
Director, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)