14 December 2023
Wishing you a healthy and happy new year
As we near the end of 2023, I hope this message finds you well and healthy, with plans to wind down and relax with your loved ones.
Sadly, many of the tens of millions of internally displaced people around the world may not have such an opportunity. Last year, there were 71.1 million people living in internal displacement. As we look back on the past 12 months and start to tabulate the figures for 2023, we cannot help but be moved by these numbers, each a reminder that behind every one of them is an individual life upended when a woman, man or child was forced from their home.
Since our establishment twenty-five years ago, IDMC has always kept the lives of internally displaced people (IDPs) at the front of our minds, striving for the right numbers to tell their stories with dignity and integrity. There will always be more to learn and more to understand than any one set of numbers, graphs or images can tell. Filling in these gaps and creating more complete pictures of the lives changed when people are forced to flee is essential to finding solutions that better meet the needs of internally displaced people and the communities that host them.
In recent months, we have published two different sets of data and analysis and a new report that continue to complete this picture. Our goal is to give decision makers in governments, humanitarian, development and other organisations a better understanding of the conditions IDPs are living in, the challenges they face and the impacts displacement has had on their lives.
Our updated displacement severity assessments shine a light on the conditions in which IDPs live in different contexts and how those conditions compare to their host community or non-displaced communities in the same country. Our socioeconomic survey and analysis of the results begin to quantify the effects of displacement on IDP’s livelihoods, health, education, security and housing conditions compared to non-displaced communities. And our Gender dynamics in internal displacement report explores how a person’s gender inevitably shapes their experience of internal displacement.
Looking at new conflicts in Gaza and Sudan, ongoing fighting in Ukraine, earthquakes in Türkiye and Morocco, floods in Libya, and fires across North America and Europe, it can be hard to remain hopeful as the year draws to a close. As those of us working in this field know, solutions are complex and don’t come easily. Assessing the scope and scale of the displacement that comes about as a result of these crises can make it seem all the more intractable.
As the trendline continues to rise, gathering and sharing insights into how displacement affects the lives of those it touches can help us see ways to improve the situation for IDPs in meaningful ways. The hope this provides becomes even more tangible when leaders use this information to develop more tailored responses for IDPs, such as in Colombia where we were pleased to see our socioeconomic work heavily influence the national humanitarian needs overview, response plan, and budget this year.
We are hopeful that 2024 will bring new reasons for optimism. The UN Special Adviser on Solutions to Internal Displacement will complete his mandate, having made advances in putting millions of IDPs on a pathway toward durable solutions. The long overdue Loss and Damage Fund, recently created at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) and including displacement in its mandate, will begin to take shape and provide new opportunities to get resources to the countries at the forefront of fighting climate displacement.
At IDMC, we will continue to fill in data gaps and to conduct research that helps to understand the situation facing IDPs, and we will expand our capacity strengthening work to make it easier for countries to collect and use this data. Next year will also mark the start of a new chapter, 25 years after the adoption of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the creation of IDMC. It will be all the more important for us to continue building on the collective progress made since 1998, and work closely with all our partners to accelerate it wherever possible.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and dedication to IDMC's work this year. None of our achievements would have been possible without it. We look forward to embarking on this next chapter with renewed energy and commitment, and to seeing you all again in the new year.
Director, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)