Forced Displacement Survey: Pilots in Cameroon, Pakistan & South Sudan



High-quality data is central to UNHCR’s efforts to safeguard the rights and well-being of persons of concern, and to realize the vision of becoming a trusted leader on the data and information of refugees and other affected populations by 2025. Currently the two main data sources are registration systems and household surveys. While UNHCR’s registration system is currently undergoing an unprecedented transformation, UNHCR’s household surveys are often dispersed, ad-hoc and sectoral and do not comply with international statistical standards or produce data that is comparable across surveys.

In June 2020, UNHCR began to consider how to integrate and standardize their survey landscape while expanding it to accommodate the new Results Based Monitoring framework. The decision was made to establish a new flagship survey program on forcibly displaced persons and their hosts, the aim of which is to produce an integrated series that meets most of the organization’s survey data needs.

Standardized surveys ease the task and costs of conducting them for capacity-constrained operations. Forcibly displaced are among the most frequently surveyed populations worldwide and so merging multiple surveys reduces the burden on respondents and can improve data quality. Making the data available to other stakeholders further reduces duplication and aligning surveys with international standards allows for direct comparison and interoperability with other data sources. Standardizing surveys also allows them to be compatible with analytical processes, such as needs assessments. Integrated data helps construct rich, multi-dimensional profiles that go beyond the scope of any sectoral survey and repeating standardized surveys over time enables the tracking of trends and progress.


JDC supports the implementation of three pilot surveys, in Cameroon, Pakistan and South Sudan, which will form the basis of the Forced Displacement Survey series. Each of these will be a statistically representative survey of refugees residing in the respective country and the results made immediately usable for programming, policy and advocacy.

The instruments for the Forced Displacement Survey will be modularized so that they are flexible enough to be implemented and adopted in a range of contexts. A set of modules will be mandatory for all settings so that the minimum set of data produced is comparable across surveys in the series, while other modules will be optional and can be selected based on specific data needs.


Government counterparts, in particular national statistical offices and government entities in charge of forced displacement, will be engaged to help steer the survey in the selected countries. Input on the data needs of the World Bank country teams, the World Food Programme, the UN Children’s Fund as well as other key partners in respective countries will also be sought, in collaboration with the UNHCR country team.


For further details on the JDC support for this activity, please contact:


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