IASC Reference Group on Protracted Displacement
At the end of 2015, there were 40.8 million persons internally displaced by conflict globally, twice the number of refugees in the world. Although there was scarce information on the number of people that were still displaced following disasters, a sample of 34 cases documented in 2015 indicated that there were hundreds of thousands of people living in protracted displacement for periods up to 26 years. Other forms of internal displacement caused by generalized and criminal violence, discriminatory policies and large infrastructure development projects remain unacknowledged.
While the attention is currently on cross-border movements of migrants and asylum seekers given the 2016 United Nations Summit on large movements, consideration must be given to achieving solutions for displaced persons within their countries of origin, so mobility becomes a choice rather than a necessity. UNDP recognizes the need for prevention and addressing the root causes of displacement as well as for scaling up comprehensive, resilience-based development approaches to displacement.
It is within this context that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) chairs together with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group on Protracted Displacement. The Reference Group is broadly mandated with supporting ‘the implementation of the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in protracted displacement’ under the 2016-2017 Work Plan Outcome ‘Enhance protection of the most vulnerable groups in emergencies.’
The focus of the Reference Group will be therefore on IDPs and internal displacement in the context of conflict and natural disasters, while recognizing inter-linkages with situations of high levels of violence and the negative impact of climate change. The Group pays particular attention to the issue of ‘invisibility’ of IDPs in urban and rural contexts and the specific needs of marginalized groups, such as women, youth and children, including also religious and ethnic minorities and others with a higher risk of being displaced or of not finding durable solutions.
The scope of work, expected results and activities of the Reference Group are defined in light of on-going streams of work:
- The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPS and the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs;
- The Global Protection Cluster, including its Task Team on Law and Policy;
- The Early Recovery Cluster/Technical Working Group on Durable Solutions;
- The Solutions Alliance, its national and thematic groups;
- The Humanitarian-Development Action Group (HDAG);
- The JIPS/SR project on Durable Solutions Indicators;
- Humanitarian-Development Partnership to Respond to Forced Displacement and Global Crisis.
The Reference Group will work towards triggering the necessary policy changes among IASC members and partners to prevent protracted internal displacement situations as well as unlocking the current ones. For this purpose, it will develop operational guidance on preventing and finding solutions for protracted displacement anchored to on-the-ground realities and challenges as well as analysis already undertaken on the issue.
Considering the focus on internal displacement, UNDP recognizes the important role to play by the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPS as a ‘champion’ of the work of the Reference Group.
Particular attention will be taken to avoid the potential overlap with the IASC Task Force on Strengthening the Humanitarian/Development Nexus which is also chaired by UNDP together with WHO. The work of the Reference Group will be aligned with the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit and its commitments.
 IDMC, Global Report on Internal Displacement – GRID, May 2016.
 IDMC, Global Estimates 2015 : People Displaced by Disaster, July 2015.