Global Report on Internal Displacement

Alexandra Bilak, Gabriel Cardona-Fox, Justin Ginnetti, Elizabeth J. Rushing, Isabelle Scherer, Marita Swain, Nadine Walicki, Michelle Yonetani
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For the first time, IDMC is publishing its estimates and analysis of people internally displaced by conflict, generalised violence and disasters in a single report. This new publication, the Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID), presents our knowledge of the phenomenon more faithfully and constitutes a significant step in our efforts to paint as complete a picture as possible. Future iterations will go further still. Part 1 of the report covers displacement that is already “on the GRID”. During 2015, there were 27.8 million new displacements associated with conflict, violence and disasters in 127 countries. This is roughly equivalent to every man, woman and child in New York City, London, Paris and Cairo grabbing what they could carry and fleeing their homes in search of safety. Internal displacement associated with conflict and violence has been on an upward trend since 2003. There were 8.6 million new cases during 2015, or an average of 24,000 a day. Some 4.8 million people were newly displaced in the Middle East alone, significantly more than in the rest of the world combined. Yemen, Syria and Iraq accounted for over half of the total. Elsewhere, Ukraine, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Colombia, Central African Republic and South Sudan had the highest numbers. In terms of total headcount, there were 40.8 million IDPs worldwide as a result of conflict and violence at the end of 2015 – an increase of 2.8 million on 2014, and the highest figure ever recorded. It is also twice the number of refugees in the world. Just ten countries accounted for over two-thirds of the total, or around 30 million people. Colombia, DRC, Iraq, Sudan and South Sudan have featured in the list of the ten largest internally displaced populations every year since 2003. There were no total global figures for people still displaced by disasters, but a sample of cases in 2015 identified hundreds of thousands living in some form of protracted displacement. Summary Disasters displaced around 19.2 million people across 113 countries in 2015, more than twice the number who fled conflict and violence. Over the past eight years, a total of 203.4 million, or an average of 25.4 million displacements have been recorded every year. As in previous years, south and east Asia dominated in terms of absolute figures, but no region of the world was unaffected. India, China and Nepal had the highest numbers, with 3.7 million, 3.6 million and 2.6 million respectively. The vast majority of displacement took place in developing countries, and the populations of small island countries were hit hard relative to their size. The devastation cyclone Pam wrought on Vanuatu is a case in point. Part 2 of the report takes our readers “inside the GRID” and IDMC’s generic displacement model. In this part we outline our efforts to improve the coverage and transparency of the global evidence base on internal displacement. By providing the breakdown of the age of our figures for the first time in this report, we are appealing to the governments concerned and to our partners in the field to contribute to this ongoing effort. Part 3 of the report explores displacement which until now has been “off the GRID”. Global figures do not capture other contexts in which people flee their homes, and this year we look at three often overlooked drivers – criminal violence, drought and development projects. We discuss IDMC’s initial efforts to estimate the number of people they displace, and some of the issues inherent in doing so. As the global monitor of internal displacement, we intend to expand our provision of knowledge with the aim of advancing global commitments to reduce the risks and impacts of displacement and find lasting solutions for the millions of IDPs worldwide. Our ability to do so will depend on the breadth and strength of our partnerships, and on states’ continued commitment to support these efforts.