From activities to results – two years with the Joint Data Center


Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to share our latest issue of the Forced Displacement Literature Review Update. This update has a focus on health and mental health outcomes of those forcibly displaced. The findings from one of the articles are consistent with prior studies that have demonstrated “low risks of imported acute infectious diseases on host country epidemiology, while crowding associated with temporary resettlement increases the risk of outbreaks among displaced residents”. This is an important message, which has particular relevance during the current pandemic. The Update also features articles on topics such as education, gender violence, deforestation, and attitudes towards refugees.

At the end of September, the Joint Data Center celebrated its second birthday. We are now half-way on the path towards our 2023 goals, as highlighted in our Strategy. It is also an opportunity to remember and reflect on the words with which the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, inaugurated the Center: “We are dealing with a population that absolutely requires […] our engagement [to be] accurate, because we can’t afford to do the wrong thing with people that have so basic and dramatic needs.”

Many of the activities that we have launched are now starting to bear fruit. In the coming weeks we expect to share several new outputs, from reports, to policy briefs, datasets and digital tools which we hope will make for better informed policy-advice and improved designs of support-interventions.

Many products, however, are already available and accessible to the public. We are particularly pleased to announce that microdata from the World Bank’s COVID-19 High Frequency Phone Surveys covering Forcibly Displaced People – supported by the JDC and collected in collaboration with UNHCR (Djibouti) and WFP (Iraq) –  are now available in the World Bank Microdata Library for two of the countries included in the data collection exercise: Djibouti and Iraq. This has been possible thanks to a close collaboration with staff engaged in country operations, the World Bank Microdata Library, and the UNHCR Curation Team. Microdata from several survey rounds in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia will be published in the same repository in the coming weeks. These data offer the possibility for researchers and practitioners to conduct a first assessment of the socioeconomic status of refugees (in Djibouti) and IDPs and returnees (in Iraq) during the pandemic as well as compare them with the host counterparts in each of the countries.

The results from the COVID-19 High Frequency Phone Surveys were the main focus of a recent webinar, during which a panel discussed the paper “Answering the Call: Forcibly Displaced during the Pandemic”. The video recording of the webinar is available at this page.

In parallel, together with the Secretariat of EGRIS, we hosted an event at the UN World Data Forum on how we can take forcibly displace people out of the statistical shadows. Among other messages, Haishan Fu, Director of the World Bank’s Development Data Group, reminded us that, for far too long, those forcibly displaced have been invisible in the data collected to inform policy decisions. Many of our activities specifically aim to close this evidence gap, in collaboration with national and international actors.

Finally, the Joint Data Center will soon announce an internship opportunity. Please check our “Job Opportunities” page to access more detailed information.

As always, we welcome feedback and suggestions on the Newsletter, for future editions of the Quarterly Digest or papers to be included in the Literature Review Update. Please don’t hesitate to contact Zara Sarzin ([email protected]) or Domenico Tabasso ([email protected]) directly.


Yours sincerely,

Björn Gillsäter

Head of the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement