Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021

Internal Displacement

Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021

IDMC  2021 :: 85 pages


   IDMC’s Global Report on Internal Displacement is the official repository of data and analysis on internal displacement. This year’s GRID discusses the relationship between climate change, disasters and displacement, and presents good practices from across the globe in advancing policy, displacement risk reduction and effective response.

Key Messages  [Editor’s text bolding]

1 The number of people worldwide living in internal displacement has reached a record 55 million as

of 31 December 2020. More than 85 per cent have fled conflict and violence. Around seven million have been uprooted by disasters but given the incomplete data this is likely to be a significant underestimate.

2 Around 40.5 million new displacements were recorded in 2020, the highest figure in ten years. Disasters triggered over three times more displacements than conflict and violence. These figures were recorded despite the Covid-19 pandemic, when movement restrictions obstructed data collection and fear of infection discouraged people from seeking emergency shelter.

3 Measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 significantly impeded humanitarian efforts globally. The pandemic also heightened internally displaced people’s (IDPs) needs and vulnerabilities, while delaying the search for durable solutions.

4 The UN secretary general called for a global ceasefire to unite against the virus, but conflict continued unabated, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa. Persistent conflict continued to force people to flee in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and Afghanistan, while escalating violence and the expansion of extremist groups in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Burkina Faso fuelled some of the world’s fastest growing displacement crises.

5 Weather-related events were responsible for 98 per cent of all disaster displacement recorded in 2020. Intense cyclones, monsoon rains and floods hit highly exposed and densely populated areas in South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific, including China, the Philippines and Bangladesh. The Atlantic hurricane season was the most active on record, and extended rainy seasons across the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa uprooted millions more.

6 The convergence of conflict and disasters led to many people being displaced for a second or even third time, increasing and prolonging their vulnerability. Many of those who fled flooding in Yemen had already been uprooted at least once by conflict. Drought in Somalia drove people to flee from rural to urban areas where they are now at greater risk of eviction and attacks by armed groups.

7 Internal displacement constitutes a significant economic burden for individuals, communities and economies. The global cost of one year of displacement was nearly $20.5 billion in 2020, a figure that covers support for IDPs’ housing, education, health and security needs, and accounts for their loss of income.

8 Persistent misconceptions surround disaster displacement, with serious implications for people, policy and responses. They include that disasters are natural, when human factors have a major role in how they play out; that disaster displacement is short-term, when in reality it often becomes protracted; that climate change will drive mass migration across borders when actually much displacement is small-scale and localised; and that small events are of little concern, when in fact they undermine people’s lives and threaten local development gains.

9 Rising temperatures are increasing the frequency and intensity of weather-related hazards, but climate change is not the only factor that drives displacement risk. A range of social and economic drivers must be addressed in the face of ever more powerful storms and devastating floods.

10 There have been significant advances in the development of national and regional policies on disaster displacement and climate-related migration, and global attention on the issue is growing. A number of countries now recognise the issue. Implementation, and assessing progress in doing so, are the next priorities.

11 When the impacts of climate change, slow-onset environmental change or unsustainable land use make an area uninhabitable, returning after a disaster is not an option. Two alternatives for those displaced are local integration or planned relocation. These solutions require strong local governance and decentralised interventions that include the perspectives of those at risk and support community-led livelihood initiatives.

12 There is an increasing need to connect humanitarian, peacebuilding and sustainable development efforts to prevent and respond to displacement in a changing climate. Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation are key, but more flexible and predictable financing is required.

13 Filling the data gaps is essential if we are to understand how displacement impedes progress on the sustainable development agenda. To paint a clear picture, however, we cannot act at the global level

alone. Disasters and climate impacts are essentially local phenomena, so local authorities and national governments have a key role to play.

Part 1 – Internal displacement in 2020 presents updated data and analysis of internal displacement at the global level. Data and contextual updates are included in the regional overviews and country spotlights.

Part 2 – Internal displacement in a changing climate discusses the importance of sound evidence and promising approaches to addressing disaster displacement and reducing the negative impacts of climate change on IDPs.