Our work

Global monitoring

Monitoring internal displacement worldwide is at the very heart of what we do and it is the foundation for all our analysis and policy influencing work.

We monitor situations of displacement caused by conflict and violence, disasters and development – globally.

Working closely with partners on the ground, we obtain data on the scale, scope, patterns of displacement. We try to identify new incidents of displacement and monitor how those situations evolve over time.

When possible, we collect data on the age, sex and location of internally displaced people, as well as their shelter type and the duration of their displacement. We even aim to identify when and how many internally displaced people cross borders and how many refugees become internally displaced when they return or are deported back to their country of origin.

In 2019, we obtained conflict-related displacement data for 50 countries and disaster-related displacement data for 140. Our full data set, which stretches back several years, includes 188 countries and territories – and the list is growing as we improve the scope of our monitoring through the use of new tools and approaches.

All of our displacement data is available in our online open data platform, the Global Internal Displacement Database (GIDD). This is where we capture data from sources and partners and map it onto our internal displacement data model using a consistent set of decision rules and analytical criteria. These rules are transparently documented and made publicly available so that users can understand all of the assumptions, caveats and limitations related to published displacement estimates.

For more information on how we put together our global figures visit our methodological annex.

Some of the ways we're working to enhance our monitoring is by using risk modelling, embracing innovation and developing a displacement severity index.

Policy Monitoring and Influencing

We carry out research and analysis on the drivers, patterns and impacts of internal displacement across different contexts. By doing so, we provide evidence, expertise and tools to influence key global and regional policy processes.

Our policy and research work contributes to IDMC's mission and mandate in two key ways.

  1. We monitor and actively engage in critical regional and global policy processes of relevance to internal displacement. Using the evidence and knowledge generated through IDMC’s data collection and analysis, and the department’s research, technical guidance and policy support is provided to governments, UN agencies, regional organisations, multi-lateral institutions and other key actors. This applied policy engagement in turn informs the department’s research priorities, ensuring that its research agenda remains relevant to ongoing and emerging policy agendas and processes.
  2. It complements the organisation’s core data collection and monitoring function, drawing on the evidence that the data presents, providing conceptual clarity and framing of key problematics and research questions in relation to internal displacement. In-depth qualitative and quantitative research conducted in partnership with leading academic institutions, experts and international organizations ensures that IDMC further consolidates its reputation as the authoritative voice on internal displacement globally.

IDMC’s global data and analyses have informed the development and implementation of global and regional-level policy agendas related to sustainable development, humanitarian reform, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation including:

  • The World Humanitarian Summit's Agenda for Humanity
  • The Paris Climate Change Agreement
  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • The Sustainable Development Goals
  • The New Urban Agenda
  • The Platform on Disaster Displacement.

We support policy-makers in understanding how addressing internal displacement is necessary for the attainment of policy objectives under each agenda, and specifically:

  • How internally displaced people compare to the rest of the affected population and how their needs, rights and solutions 
are related;
  • Which internal displacement situations are under-reported, poorly understood or neglected;
  • Which IDPs are most severely affected and at risk of being “left behind”;
  • And what needs to be done to reduce the risk of displacement and its consequences in the future.

For more information on our Policy Monitoring and Influencing work please see our Quarterly Updates: