Photo credits: OCHA/Iason Athanasiadis

Reliable, trusted and timely data and analysis are essential for gaining a comprehensive understanding of a displacement situation and the design of policies and responses related to that situation. Given data drives local and international action to support those who have been internally displaced, those not visible in the data are likely to be excluded from systems of support.

Disasters, insecurity, conflict and violence can inhibit accurate and secure data collection, particularly in the world’s poorest regions: poverty has been shown to be increasingly concentrated in those States where government capacities to generate national statistics are weak. As a result, it is often difficult to adequately analyze needs and foster solutions. Given governments are the primary duty bearers in situations of internal displacement, and are therefore key stakeholders when it comes to resolving internal displacement over the longer term, then they have a key role to play in facilitating the collection and analysis of data.

Data management process as related to internal displacement need to be nationally and locally owned and led. This requires active engagement and – where possible – leadership of national and local government, but also collaborative processes that involve humanitarian, development and peace actors as well as IDPs and other displacement-affected communities.

It also requires that data is diversity-disaggregated, to facilitate the meeting of the Sustainable Development Goals. Data must, at all times, be collected, managed, and used responsibly. This requires that governments and other national and local actors ensure adequate coordination and collaboration mechanisms are in place in order to put in place a coherent national data and statistics system as related to internal displacement to harness the full potential of the different actors contributions to solutions.

In order to protect those people from whom data is derived, there has been a growth in frameworks and guidance for the responsible collection, use and management of data. The International Recommendations on Internally Displaced Persons Statistics (IRIS) provide a set of specific recommendations that countries and international organizations can use to improve the production, overall quality, coordination, and dissemination of statistics on internally displaced persons (IDPs). The IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs and the Interagency Durable Solutions Indicator Library and Analysis Guide operationalize the framework into agreed-upon, measurable and statistically sound indicators, as well as provide guidance on how to conduct a collaborative durable solutions analysis in-country. And the IASC Operational Guidance on Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action ensures concrete steps for data responsibility in all phases of humanitarian action.

There are a number of key resources that track global figures of those who have been displaced: IDMC’s annual global report on internal displacement; IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, and UNHCR’s Global Trends on Forced Displacement, among others.