International Recommendations on Internally Displaced Persons Statistics (IRIS)

A. Need for recommendations on IDP statistics
1. This introductory chapter aims to provide context for the recommendations and to introduce the rationale and scope of the report itself. It will briefly present background information, identify key linkages between these recommendations and other efforts, including the International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics (IRRS) (1 ), and provide a summary of the structure of the recommendations and the process through which they were developed.
2. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are understood to be ‘persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have remained living in the country’s internationally recognised border’ (). This definition provides the basis for compiling official statistics and for the recommendations in this report.
3. Today, IDPs account for the greatest share of displaced populations globally. Data and statistics on IDPs are necessary to inform policy responses to internal displacement. IDP data are especially helpful for providing a yardstick from which the situation of IDP populations can be monitored and the achievements of related policies and programmes measured. Yet, to date, international guidance on how to best produce goodquality IDP official statistics remains scarce, and many of the available data are based on operational data produced by humanitarian agencies as part of their assistance programmes, rather than official statistics.
Since IDP data are collected for people impacted by conflict, disaster or violence, at the initial stage of displacement it can be difficult or impossible to collect official statistics, and operational data are often the best available; these recommendations discuss the roles of both types of data.
4. International quality standards () require official statistics to be consistent internally and over time and comparable between regions and countries, and to allow the organisations of a country’s statistical system to make joint use of related data from different sources. The Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS) reported on statistical quality issues as part of its stocktake of IDP statistics. The IDP statistics were presented in the Technical Report on Statistics of Internally Displaced Persons () to the 49th United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) session in 2018, where they were formally adopted.
5. Good-quality statistics on displacement are a requirement for monitoring and implementing a number of international agendas and agreements. These include the:
a) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its commitment to leave no one behind, including IDPs ();
b) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 ();
c) United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement ();
d) Nansen Initiative’s protection agenda for people displaced across borders by disasters ();
e) Agenda for Humanity ();
f) Agenda 2063 for Africa ( 10);
g) Valletta Summit action plan ( 11); and
h) New Urban Agenda ( 12).
1. Credible and comprehensive statistics on internal displacement are also needed for monitoring progress towards the UN Secretary-General’s ambitious call to reduce new and protracted internal displacement by at least 50 % by 2030 ( 13). They will also be necessary to inform action under the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (14) and the Global Compact on Refugees ( 15), although these do not explicitly address internal displacement, as well as other relevant policy processes ( 16). Even though several international initiatives supported by development partners relate to the development of IDP statistics, the ultimate responsibility will always rest with national governments.
2. A range of national and international practices exists for translating the international definition of an IDP into a measurable statistical concept. These variations reflect differences in interpretation and ad hoc responses to practical, technical and policy challenges encountered across displacement events. Although statistics in many contexts depart from the comprehensive definition of IDPs established in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, important commonalities exist. The UNSC has recognised a need for improved practice using an internationally agreed statistical framework for this population and has asked for recommendations that provide clarity on conceptual challenges and allow better comparability of data.

Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

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