Last year, IDMC recorded the highest levels of internal displacement by conflict and violence in a decade. We documented heart-breaking accounts of families escaping attacks and insecurity from Syria to the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. As always, this displacement took place against a backdrop of chronic poverty and political instability, and was compounded by weak governance and response capacities, complex needs and vulnerabilities, and difficult humanitarian access.
Sadly, conflicts were not the only trigger of displacement in 2017. Disasters, particularly floods and tropical storms, continued to displace unacceptably high numbers of people inside their own countries, especially in regions suffering from high levels of vulnerability and exposure to natural hazards. South and East Asia were the hardest hit, as well as some of the smaller and poorer islands of the Caribbean, struck by an intense Atlantic hurricane season.
Faced with these persistently high figures, IDMC has been relentless in pushing the issue of internal displacement higher up on both national and international agendas. Throughout 2017, we continued to argue that the failure to address internal displacement as an integral part of national planning and response, and as both a cause and a consequence of crisis, would come at great cost to future peace, development and stability.
IDMC plays a unique role as the world’s authoritative and independent source of data and analysis on internal displacement. In 2017, we obtained data on displacement driven by conflict and violence for 68 countries and territories, and data on nearly 900 new incidents associated with disasters in 181 countries. We also estimated the risk of disaster displacement in more than 200 countries. Our ability to cover new situations continues to grow as we employ new and innovative tools and approaches that help improve the scope of our monitoring. In 2017, we made significant improvements to our database, adding new interactive features that enable users to tailor their analysis by geographical and thematic interests.
Our expertise is also critical to informing some of the world’s major global policy agendas. In 2017, we developed an ambitious new research agenda around four main themes: internal to cross-border displacement, economic impacts of internal displacement, internal displacement in the context of drought and urban internal displacement. The evidence that we are starting to build will help measure countries’ progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and other goals under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the new Urban Agenda and the two Global Compacts for Refugees and Migrants.
Looking ahead to 2018, which will mark 20 years since the publication of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and since the establishment of IDMC, we plan to work closely with national governments to find new and innovative ways of preventing and reducing internal displacement. We want to support governments so that they can lead the way in reaching sustainable solutions that integrate both humanitarian and development approaches to this complex phenomenon.
This annual report is a reflection of our activities and achievements in 2017. We are proud of how far we have come since 1998, and take this opportunity to thank all our partners for their loyal and generous support over the years. None of what we have accomplished and of what we are today, would have been possible without your support.
Alexandra Bilak Director of IDMC