The scale of internal displacement has risen to unprecedented levels. Over 40 million people are currently displaced by conflict inside their own countries, a number that represents 62 per cent of the total number of displaced persons worldwide. In addition, disasters displace an average of 26 million people annually.
The course of internal displacement is set to continue given the increased frequency, intensity and duration of contemporary conflicts, a general lack of political solutions to resolve the drivers of displacement, and the rising risks associated with environmental degradation, climate change and other sudden-impact or slow-onset disasters. Internal displacement has become an increasingly global and protracted phenomenon that requires concerted global attention.
The contemporary landscape of internal displacement is also changing. Protracted displacement has increasingly become the norm, while factors such as population growth in disaster-prone areas, persisting drivers of displacement and shortfalls in aid funding have reached new heights. At the same time, new and innovative technologies have a dynamic impact on mobility. They influence how at-risk and affected populations prepare for and respond to a crisis, and spur innovations that enhance the delivery of assistance and enable more self-reliant coping strategies. The landscape is further shaped by a growing body of normative and legal instruments, tools and platforms and by the array of actors addressing internal displacement. There is also an increased understanding of – and ability to attain data on – the specific protection and assistance needs of displaced populations and the impacts on affected communities throughout a crisis.
While the landscape presents both challenges to and opportunities for addressing internal displacement, the persistence of the phenomenon points to the limitations of current approaches. Despite the significant achievements of humanitarian reforms to date, States and the assistance community recognize that much more remains to be done. At the base of this recognition, there is ongoing consensus that responding to internal displacement extends beyond the capacity of any single entity: a collective response that embraces a holistic, contextually flexible and multidisciplinary approach is required.
IOM is a key and consistent actor within this collective response. Established in 1951, IOM is uniquely mandated, through its Constitution, to assist displaced persons. The Organization is increasingly called upon to respond to the mobility dimensions of a crisis, and its work on internal displacement in crisis, post-crisis and at-risk contexts represents a significant bulk of its activities. In 2016, IOM operations reached more than 19 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and provided over 6 million people with host community support across 31 countries.2 This makes IOM one of the largest actors on internal displacement issues globally. Its activities aim to address the root causes of displacement and to strengthen the resilience of individuals, communities and States to withstand external shocks, while also providing rapid, effective and timely needs-based humanitarian assistance that transitions strategically into its recovery and development initiatives.
The IOM Framework for Addressing Internal Displacement builds upon the previous IOM document that addressed this matter. It responds to changes in and the expansion of IOM policies and operations over the years, and lays out IOM’s strategic role in the current global humanitarian and development landscape. The principles of engagement, commitments, approach and operational objectives contained in this Framework set the foundation and direction for all aspects of IOM’s work on internal displacement. The goal of the Framework is to support operational effectiveness across the Organization in the identification and implementation of responses to internal displacement and as part of its coordinated partnerships.