Developing recommendations on official IDP statistics

Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics taking stock of current practice

28 – 30 August 2017 – At the third meeting of the IDP component of the Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS), hosted by JIPS in Geneva, members reviewed the draft Technical Report on IDP Statistics and jointly worked on concrete recommendations for standardized practice across contexts. The report will be submitted to a round of formal global consultations by the UN Statistical Division in October. 

Fit for all – how to provide guidance relevant for varying country contexts?

Participants entered the three-day meeting with a substantial challenge. With the current practices for producing and disseminating official statistics on internally displaced populations reviewed and consolidated, the task of developing recommendations towards standardized practice loomed ahead. But the recommendations are critical in order to support the production of comparable data on IDPs across different contexts moving forward.

The challenge of this task is due to the conceptually complex legal and policy frameworks that pertain to internal displacement, which render the topic difficult for statistical agencies worldwide to implement. In addition, currently IDP statistics tend to be collected for different operational purposes depending on the context and country, often resulting in varying and incomparable practice. 

Despite this, the group made headway during the meeting in developing draft recommendations. These cover among others:

  • ways of defining internally displaced persons for the purpose of statistical measurement;
  • the use of different data sources for capturing data on internally displaced persons;
  • important quality standards and technical specifications to take into account; and,
  • coordination on the production of IDP statistics at the national level.

Practical examples from country experiences

The experiences of the country representatives in the discussions were vital for ensuring that the resulting report will be relevant for governments in different parts of the world and with diverse displacement contexts. The report builds largely on experiences from different countries in the form of case studies. As such, the recommendations aim to address some of the challenges identified through these examples. 

The group is currently finalizing the report, including recommendations towards a coherent framework on IDP statistics, in preparation for the submission to the UN Statistical Division at the end of October. Following a round of global consultations, the document will be discussed together with the International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics at the 49th session of UNSC in March 2018.


The work on the IDP report is part of the mandate of the Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS), established by UNSC in 2016 to develop International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics and a related Compilers Manual, as well as outline a way forward for development of comparable international standards for statistics on internally displaced persons. The EGRIS is co-chaired by UNHCR, Norway and Eurostat, and consists of participants from national authorities, international statistical organizations and other technical experts, and is co-chaired by Eurostat, Statistics Norway and UNHCR. 

The work of the IDP subgroup is led by JIPS, co-chaired by Statistics Norway and IDMC. It currently counts on expertise from colleagues from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Kosovo, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Philippines, Somalia, Uganda and Ukraine, alongside subject matter experts from UNHCR and the World Bank.


Related: 

Eurostat brochure on EGRIS 
- UNSC EGRIS side event: progress update (March 2017)
- EGRIS - First meeting in Copenhagen (Nov 2016)
- #EGRIS second working meeting of all members

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