Jointly working towards
improved official IDP statistics

International Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS)

The EGRIS was established by a decision of the 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) in 2016, against the backdrop of an ever-growing number of forcibly displaced persons worldwide as well as mixed practices on refugee and IDP statistics.

Strong participation from states and international organisations

Co-led by UNHCR, Statistics Norway and Eurostat, the Expert Group’s primary mandate is to develop “recommendations on refugee statistics, as a reference guide for national and international work concerning asylum statistics”. As emphasised by the UNSC, the process is to be consultative, to “take the users’ perspective into account” and – importantly – to “include IDPs in the scope of its work”. The Initial research was conducted by UNHCR and Statistics Norway (with support from JIPS, see 46th UNSC session) and an exploratory conference was held in Antalya, Turkey in October 2015.

Right from the start (see our articles on the first working meeting in Copenhagen and the subsequent one in Oslo), the Expert Group could count on high involvement from national authorities, international statistical organisations and other technical experts.

The value of better statistics on IDPs

Building on many years of experience working with national statistics offices to produce statistics on internal displacement, the Steering Committee asked JIPS to lead the IDP sub-group with support from Statistics Norway and IDMC. Among the members are also 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, the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs and the World Bank.

Countries participating in the Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS) (Source: Eurostat)

The need for, and key benefits of better and more coherent official IDP statistics are widely acknowledged:

  • At local and national levels: to achieve a sound evidence-base to inform and improve national and local policies, programs and decisions, as well as to increase accountability and support policy debate, stronger advocacy and joint responses by government, humanitarian and development actors.
  • At the international level: to allow for comparable and consistent statistics between countries, and provide a stronger evidence-base for policy progress and help ensure visibility of displaced populations in the SDGs.

Where we are at today

With financial support from the World Bank, JIPS was able to host a meeting for the IDP Group in Geneva and coordinate all activities related to the Technical Report. The two reports elaborated by the Expert Group – International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics on the one hand, and a Technical Report outlining a way forward for development of comparable international standards for statistics on IDPs – were submitted to the UNSD in November 2017 for global consultations. Both documents are currently being revised based on the feedback from this process, and will be formally submitted for adoption at the 49th session of the UNSC, in March 2018.

In February 2018, we introduced the EGRIS to the Geneva community at the event "Improving statistics on forced displacement: a common goal, two initiatives". Co-convened by the Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva, the EGRIS Steering Committee (Eurostat, Statistics Norway and UNHCR) and JIPS, the event presented the ongoing global work of the Expert Group (to access the presentations please refer to the download section on this page).  

As the first phase of EGRIS comes to an end, a second phase is under development. This will include the planned Compilers’ Manual on refugee statistics as well as other outputs linked to both refugee and IDP statistics following a decision by the UNSC in March 2018. The work will be done in close collaboration with national statistical authorities as well as relevant regional and international organisations.


Related:

- Eurostat page on the EGRIS
- Developing recommendations on official IDP statistics: EGRIS taking stock of current practice (August 2017)
EGRIS second working meeting of all members: experts exchange on fundamental questions and country experience (April 2017)
- UNSC EGRIS side event: progress update (March 2017)
- EGRIS first meeting in Copenhagen (Nov 2016)