Forced Migration Review Issue 59: Improving IDP Data to Help Implement the Guiding Principles

Related Topics: Refugee & IDP statistics

Given the increasing levels of internal displacement globally and the growing interest in ‘data-driven’ policy and programming, at JIPS we believe it is important to use this year’s 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on internal displacement as an occasion to examine the gap between available data and existing data practices on the one hand, and the principles and content of the Guiding Principles on the other.

To this end, we contributed to the latest Forced Migration Review’s issue titled “Twenty Years of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement”, together with a vast array of experts, including Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs and many others from UNHCRIOMOCHANRCIDMCDRC and more.

The issue’s contributions cover a broad range of topics, including:

  • IDP laws and policies and the extent to which the Guiding Principles have been successfully incorporated into national law,
  • The linkages between internal displacement and the sustainable development goals,
  • The compliance of non-state actors to the Guiding Principles,
  • The limited impact of the Guiding Principles in international human rights courts,

as well as several case studies from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Philippines and Georgia. JIPS’ contribution focused specifically on how to capitalise on the contents of the Guiding Principles to strengthen data on IDPs and thus, in turn, help improve evidence-based interventions within their scope.


Understanding gaps between GPs and IDP data

As our experience with profiling displacement situations -of different nature and in different contexts all around the world- has revealed, a significant gap exists between the data currently available and key tenets of the Guiding Principles. Reliable, comprehensive data are vital for effective programming and practice, therefore it is important to analyse these gaps and provide recommendations for improving the evidence base on internal displacement, thus helping to inform more effective implementation of the Guiding Principles.

In the article “Improving IDP data to help implement the Guiding Principles”, Natalia Baal, JIPS coordinator, Laura Kivelä, Deputy coordinator, and Melissa Weihmayer, Information management officer, highlight key data challenges in this regard.

Among the main challenges identified are:

  • lack of common agreement on definitions (exacerbated in some cases by political sensitivities) and the many context-driven limitations to transform the definition of internal displacement in data collection processes;
  • limited ability for existing data practice to capture displacement-related discrimination;
  • multi-facted information needs to inform humanitarian and development interventions, especially in urban areas;
  • lack of IDP participation in shaping data collection and analysis processes; and
  • the limited ownership of data processes by national authorities, that if addressed could better position resulting data to inform national responses to internal displacement.

Our article and 18 others are included in the “Twenty Years of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement” issue, so read on and get in touch with to request printed copies.

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