Impact and Experience – Addressing Severity of Conflict Displacement

Chloe Sydney and Leonardo Milano

IDMC, February 2019


IDMC aims to complement displacement figures with an assessment of displacement severity in order to call attention to situations of particular concern, highlight key threats to IDPs’ safety and wellbeing, and better measure progress towards finding solutions to internal displacement. This report outlines the methodology adopted by IDMC to assess displacement severity, and provides preliminary results for Colombia and Iraq. IDMC’s severity assessment is aligned with the eight criteria outlined in the IASC framework for durable solutions. Three (closed) questions have been identified for each category, designed to assess the severity of displacement in the absence of quantitative data on standardized indicators, and without comparing IDPs to their host communities or the national average:

  • Safety and security: Is the area to which IDPs are displaced free from active fighting? Is the area to which IDPs are displaced free from explosive hazards? Are IDPs free from persecution or human rights abuses (including GBV) in the area to which they have been displaced?
  • Livelihoods: Are there income-generating opportunities for IDPs? Do IDPs have enough to eat? Can IDPs avoid resorting to negative coping strategies such as child labor, prostitution or child marriage?
  • Housing: Are IDPs living in safe, adequate shelters able to withstand the local climate (i.e. not in unfinished buildings, tents, etc.)? Are accessible and effective mechanisms in place for IDPs to apply for property restitution or compensation for their lost or damaged property? Are IDPS protected from forced evictions?
  • Services: Do IDPs have appropriate access to water and sanitation? Are there accessible and affordable health care services? Are primary-age IDP children in school?
  • Documentation: Do IDPs have documentation to access services or assistance track? Do IDPs have access to easy and affordable mechanisms for replacement documentation? Are IDPs able to travel freely?
  • Family reunification: Are IDPs living with their close family members? Are there any family tracing and reunification mechanisms available to IDPs? Are protection mechanisms in place for unaccompanied and separated children?
  • Public affairs: Can IDPs vote in elections in their area of displacement? Are the issues of IDPs represented in the platforms of political parties? Are IDPs able to participate in decision-making regarding their displacement?
  • Remedies and justice: Do IDPs have access to legal counsel and/or representation? Do IDPs have access to effective law enforcement? Do IDPs have access to effective remedies and justice for harms that they suffered?

To answer these questions, IDMC monitoring experts will contact their data sources and partners in the field to evaluate each category of displacement severity, and triangulate information provided. The monitoring experts will decide whether the relevant indicator should be coded red (2), yellow (1), or green (0) depending on severity (or white, if there is insufficient data available). IDMC acknowledges that their severity assessment is qualitative in nature, and reflects subjective judgment by IDMC experts and partners in the field. IDMC plans to examine severity among IDPs in around 50 different countries in 2019, and preliminary results for a selection of displacement situations will be included in this year’s Global Report on Internal Displacement.


Colombia | Iraq