Official IDP & Refugee Statistics

The International Recommendations on IDP Statistics (IRIS) outline an internationally agreed statistical framework for the production and dissemination of high-quality official statistics on internal displacement that are consistent internally, over time and comparable between regions and countries. It is the result of a thoroughly collaborative process that built on the experience and expertise of all members of the JIPS-led IDP subgroup of the Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS).

Adopted at the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) 51st session in 2020, the IRIS builds on the Technical Report on Statistics on Internally Displaced Persons – a stocktake of existing approaches to collecting IDP statistics and statistical quality issues. It aligns with the International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics, which were also developed by the EGRIS and endorsed by UNSC at its 49th session in 2018.

What does the guidance include?

The International Recommendations on IDP Statistics give guidance on how to improve the quality and availability of official statistics on IDPs. More specifically, they provide:

  • Standardised terminology and classifications,
  • A list of basic data tabulations and variables,
  • Assessment of data sources and methods for collecting statistics on IDPs,
  • Approaches to measure progress towards solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and to determine when a person has overcome key displacement-related vulnerabilities and thus can be taken out of the IDP stock,
  • Recommendations to improve coordination (national, regional, international) and data quality, including the relevance of legal frameworks and capacity building.

The accompanying Compilers’ Manual offers hands-on guidance and refined methodology for countries working to put the International Recommendations on refugee and IDP statistics to practice. The Manual is meant as a living document and will be updated and refined as the implementation of the recommendations progresses.

How is the guidance useful?

The IRIS provides much-needed guidance on the production and dissemination of quality statistics on internal displacement. This will help strengthen evidence-based public policy and national responses to displacement, as well as support the implementation and monitoring of progress towards a number of international agendas and agreements.

Including forcibly displaced people in official national statistics is also the gateway to integrating them in policy and programming, national development plans and the SDGs. Benefits of better and more coherent official statistics on IDPs furthermore include:

  • At the local and national levels, to establish a sound evidence base to inform and improve policies, programmes and decisions; to allow for the incorporation of IDP statistics into the country’s statistical system and the organisation of the system to make joint use of related data from different sources; and to increase accountability and support policy debate, stronger advocacy and joint responses by governments and the humanitarian and development sectors;
  • At the international level, to allow for comparable and consistent statistics among countries, to provide a stronger evidence base for policy progress and to help ensure that displaced populations are visible in the SDGs.


The Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS)

Established by a decision of the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) at its 47th session in 2016, the Expert Group was initially mandated with developing international recommendations, standards and guidance with the aim of improving the quality of official statistics on forcibly displaced populations. During phase one of the work the Expert Group developed the International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics and the Technical Report on Statistics of IDPs, both of which were formally endorsed at the 49th UNSC session in 2018. The endorsement of the International Recommendations on IDP Statistics at the 51st session in 2020 marked the conclusion of phase two. At the same occasion the UNSC welcomed the development of the Compilers’ Manual, and approved a third mandate for the Expert Group and the continuation of the group’s work on implementation of the new international recommendation over the next five years.



EGRIS is working closely with national statistics authorities to ensure strong linkages with national planning, budgeting and policy processes. In addition, the group includes members from international and regional organisations and other technical experts. Given its many years of experience working with national statistics offices to produce data on internal displacement, JIPS was tasked by the steering committee to lead the IDP subgroup with support from Statistics Norway, UNSD and IDMC.

Steering Committee: UNHCR, Statistics Norway, Eurostat, Turkstat, JIPS, the UN Statistical Division (UNSD), the World Bank

IDP subgroup: JIPS (lead), Statistics Norway, UNSD, IDMC, national statistics offices of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Kosovo, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Somalia, Uganda and Ukraine, as well as thematic experts from UNHCR, IOMUN OCHA, the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s Centre for Statistics, the International Security and Development Center, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

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