Archived Webinar

From Internal Displacement to Cross-Border Movements

"Of the 79.5 million people forcibly displaced around the world, 45.7 million – close to six out of ten – are internally displaced people. Because they remain inside their own country, they are forgotten: they are the invisible majority of the world’s displaced people."

Internal displacement has implications for regional stability. Countries with high numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) also tend to produce high numbers of refugees, but the relationship between internal displacement and cross-border movement is not well understood. Drawing upon primary data collected among over a thousand refugees, returning refugees, and IDPs from Iraq, Colombia, Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, this session argues that a majority of refugees are internally displaced before crossing an international border and that returning refugees face the risk of further displacement if they go back prematurely or involuntarily to their country of origin.

This discussion is based on "The Displacement Continuum: The Relationship Between Internal Displacement and Cross-Border Movement in Seven Countries" report which includes results from seven studies conducted in Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen between 2018 and 2019 by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

This session is part of the Fragility Forum 2020 Virtual Series.

*Please note: there is an error in the translation of Oscar Rico's contribution at 12'06". Some Colombians are returning from abroad, not because of a lack of knowledge, but as a result of nostalgia for their country of origin.

About the Presenters

Alexandra Bilak

Director, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Switzerland

Alexandra Bilak (@AlexandraBilak) has almost 20 years’ experience in the international non-profit sector, with a focus on research and policy development on displacement in the context of armed conflict, violence, disasters and climate change. She joined the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Geneva as Head of Policy and Research in 2014, becoming its Director in August 2016. As Director, Alexandra leads the IDMC team to provide high-quality data, analysis and expertise to a growing number of partners worldwide. Prior to joining IDMC, Alexandra served as Country Director and Programme Manager for international NGOs and research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa, including Oxfam, the Life & Peace Institute, the International Rescue Committee and the Danish Refugee Council. She has published extensively on the themes of forced displacement, conflict and civil society development.

Chloe Sydney

Researcher, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Switzerland

Chloe Sydney (@ChloeAnneSydney) is a Researcher at the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Geneva. Since joining IDMC in 2017, she has become the research lead for the thematic series 'The invisible majority’, which examines the relationship between internal displacement and cross-border movements. She has managed research projects in Iraq, Colombia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. She also supports research on internal displacement associated with slow-onset environmental change. She has worked previously as Analyst and Research Officer for Forcier Consulting in Egypt, Sudan, and South Sudan, and as a Reports Officer for UNICEF South Sudan. In parallel to her work at IDMC, she is a Ph.D. candidate at Aberystwyth University, focusing on refugee decision-making with regards to return.

Ceaser Taban

Research Officer, Forcier Consulting, South Sudan

With over five years of experience managing research initiatives in South Sudan, Mr. Taban has been working for Forcier since 2013, initially as a field researcher. Over the course of his time with Forcier, Mr. Taban has gained greater responsibility for the success of research teams conducting projects across South Sudan. In his current role, he is responsible for overseeing all components of the project lifecycle, from inception to analysis and report writing. Having in-depth experience with qualitative and quantitative data collection exercises, as well as experience in training and managing research teams, and coordinating fieldwork in logistically challenging environments, Mr. Taban has coordinated over thirty projects, including nationally representative surveys, in sectors ranging from market research to health, to education and livelihoods.

Oscar Rico

The Victim’s Unit, Government of Colombia

Oscar Rico is a Colombian industrial engineer with a master’s in management and organizational innovation. He has 8 years of experience working in the Colombian government designing public policy for victims of the internal conflict. He currently coordinates the victims´ abroad Section at the Victim´s Unit, the government agency responsible for providing assistance and reparation to the victims in the country. Oscar is an expert in the design and measurement of indicators to monitor progress to durable solutions for victims. He is currently part of the Expert Group of refugees and IDP statistics of the UN statistical commission.

Nadia Siddiqui

Researcher and Co-Director, Social Inquiry, Iraq

Nadia Siddiqui is a cross-disciplinary researcher and writer interested in the links between cultural practice, social dynamics, and justice. As a co-director at Social Inquiry, she leads research exploring identities and belonging in displacement (and return), measuring social cohesion, and understanding what reconciliation and accountability mean to communities. She has previously worked with Oxfam, the Middle East Research Institute, the Afghanistan Analysts Network, the Applied Theatre Collective, and the International Center for Transitional Justice, among others.

Anu Atre

Research Manager and Head of the Population Movement and Protection Unit, REACH Initiatives, South Sudan

Anu Atre is a Research Manager and Head of the Population Movement and Protection Unit at REACH Initiatives in South Sudan. She began with REACH two and a half years ago as an Assessment Officer based in Wau, South Sudan, expanding REACH’s Humanitarian Situation Monitoring and Displacement mapping to cover the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region. Anu then shifted to developing REACH’s Population Movement Baseline project which analysed historic population movement trends from 1983 to 2019 in South Sudan to better understand the differing drivers of population movement, trends in displacement routes used, and how households make displacement and migration decisions. Prior to South Sudan, Anu worked in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and the USA in social research and humanitarian aid.

Garth Smith

Country Director, Danish Refugee Council, South Sudan

Garth Smith is the Country Director for DRC South Sudan leading DRC’s response to displacement and conflict affected populations, refugees and returnees. DRC has been operational in South Sudan since the country’s independence and today runs emergency and recovery programmes across the country. DRC also supports analysis and monitoring of cross-border and inter-country movement with a focus on looking towards more durable solutions. Originally from the UK, Garth has previously work in humanitarian responses in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Iraq, Syria, Niger and Jordan with INGOs, the United Nations, and as a cluster coordinator.

Chiahemba Nor

Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, Federal Capital Development Authority, Abuja, Nigeria

Dr. Chiahemba Nor has a PhD in urban planning from Newcastle University and more than 15 years of working experience in cities of the global south where he combines research, teaching and practice. He has played and continues to play advisory roles to the city of Abuja, Nigeria, on issues relating to climate change, green growth, urban economy, urbanization and transformation of regional areas, urban informality and slum grading, urban design, policy implementation, smart city, among others. He is currently exploring a connection between internal displacement and land use planning in cities and towns of Nigeria, looking at ways in which urban policies, laws and regulations engage with IDPs. He is also engaging with UN Habitat in Abuja on the Future City of Abuja, which falls under the New Urban Agenda.

Target Audience

Practitioners and general public

Questions Submitted

Mahaman Mourtala

- Sep 16, 2021

jose luis

- Jul 21, 2021


- Jun 4, 2021


- Jan 13, 2021


- Jan 5, 2021
professional video

Jared Troy

- Oct 29, 2020
Interesting content.

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Oct 7, 2020
Internal Displacement-cross-border-movements


- Jun 30, 2020
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