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The road to 2030: finding solutions to internal displacement - Call for contributions

International multi-disciplinary conference, Chateau de Penthes, 1 October 2019

Internal displacement is a global challenge with over 41 million people currently displaced inside their own countries by conflict and violence, and millions more displaced each year by disasters and other causes. When they try to go home, refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) often return to insecurity and lack opportunities for sustainable reintegration, perpetuating the risk of future crises. 

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)’s second annual conference will bring together experts from different fields to exchange new insights from emerging practice across the globe. The event will be an opportunity to build on what has been done, develop new thinking and share lessons to push for concrete solutions to internal displacement. 

Around the world, national and local governments, international organisations, civil society and the private sector are developing initiatives that could be scaled-up and adapted elsewhere. From rent-to-own programmes in the Ukraine to upgrading and legalising informal settlements in Colombia, or encouraging displaced people to move to secondary cities in Bangladesh instead of adding pressure on its capital, new approaches are emerging. In Mogadishu, the Banadir regional authority has worked with the UN and the private sector to support employment and entrepreneurship programmes for IDPs.

Policy makers, practitioners and researchers working on migration and displacement, peace-building, humanitarian assistance, socioeconomic development, political science, environmental sciences, disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, urban planning, rural development, education, health, finance, insurance or other relevant areas are invited to submit a proposal and discuss their knowledge and experience of how to prevent, mitigate or end internal displacement. 

This year is an important milestone in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.The first major review of progress since its adoption in 2015 will take place just before this conference. Monitoring progress on sustainable development and internal displacement is equally important to ensure that investments are most impactful and responsible actors are held accountable. 

Initial reports of progress on internal displacement and sustainable development show little advancement over the past years and stress the need to act faster and more efficiently. Participants to the conference will reflect on how data innovations, new ways of communicating and operational approaches from various contexts can inform better humanitarian and development policies and practice that encompass both prevention and response. The links between displacement, development, disaster risk management and peace-building are becoming more evident and examples of solutions to this interconnectedness are emerging. These will receive particular attention in the discussions.

Call for contributions

Examples of practical, policy and scientific solutions to reduce the negative consequences and the risk of internal displacement and to capitalise on positive impacts of successful integration and return will form the core of the discussions. Submissions of presentations are invited on the following topics, but proposals on other related topics are also welcome.

Understanding and monitoring displacement, including trends, severity, risk and impacts

Methods to estimate the scale and patterns of displacement, as well as its risk and impact, are evolving rapidly. With them, humanitarian and development challenges are also evolving: tackling them requires better data and analysis to guide policy and action. Community-led and participatory approaches, for instance, are a rich basis for creating evidence and tracking progress from the bottom up.

Presentations may include discussions on the following topics and beyond: 

•    Promising advances to detect new instances of displacement, and to assess its scale, severity, risk and impacts;

•    Data systems and frameworks to monitor and report on internal displacement;

•    Ways to measure the impacts – both positive and negative - of IDPs on the socioeconomic development of their host community;

•    Participatory approaches to collecting and analysing displacement data that result in more effective interventions;

•    Successful examples of community-led monitoring of displacement trends (e.g. returns or cross-border flows), displacement impacts and displacement risk;

•    Options to monitor countries’ progress on internal displacement in a consistent manner and within existing reporting frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda;

•    Ways of communicating to encourage more investments against displacement.


Practical solutions to address and prevent internal displacement for sustainable development

Solutions to internal displacement require a mix of crisis management and contingency planning, prevention and risk reduction, humanitarian action and sustainable development. In turn, reducing internal displacement can support sustainable development and limit the risk of future crises. Proposals under this topic should highlight initiatives that have both benefited development and reduced or prevented internal displacement. 

Presentations may include discussions on the following topics and beyond: 

•    Fostering successful and durable local integration or return of IDPs;

•    Success stories from investments across humanitarian and development time frames and mandates that contributed to reducing internal displacement;

•    Humanitarian efforts to address internal displacement that contributed to sustainable development;

•    Positive outcomes for societies that made progress on internal displacement.


Institutions and policies: internal displacement governance at the national level

Since the publication of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in 1998, many governments, international and local organisations have developed governance systems to address internal displacement and its negative consequences. Taking stock of successes and lessons learnt in these processes is an important step in assessing the current policy and institutional landscape, also in light of commitments that countries have made against the 2030 Agenda.

Presentations may include discussions on the following topics and beyond: 

•    Institutional set-ups and policies that effectively guide action for positive change;

•    Successful ways of integrating internal displacement into social, environmental and economic development policies;

•    Policies and legislation that have resulted in concrete investment in and implementation of approaches to reduce internal displacement;

•    Institutional set-ups that have enabled systematic planning and monitoring of progress on internal displacement at the local or national level;

•    New ways of dealing with internal displacement through decentralisation to local levels.

Submission process

Interested participants are invited to propose presentations that explore one or a combination of the above questions from a practice, policy or theoretical perspective. Discussions of concrete examples, lessons learnt and success factors are strongly encouraged.

Selected applicants will be invited to take part in a panel or poster presentation. In addition, or alternatively, selected papers will be solicited as inputs for the 2020 Global Report on Internal Displacement, with the consent of submitting authors.

Abstracts should be submitted to using this form. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 21 August 2019 and all authors will be notified by 28 August 2019. Successful applicants will be invited to write a full paper and/or prepare a conference presentation (panel or poster) for submission by 20 September 2019.

Additional contributions to the 2020 Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) will be invited from 1 October 2019 onwards, but abstract authors are asked to already express their interest in contributing to the GRID in their submissions.

Limited funding for travel and accommodation for conference attendance in October is available for authors and participants from low-income countries and for students.