Supporting the development and operation of Microdata Libraries at UNHCR and the World Bank


Background and Context

A key objective of the JDC is to promote analysis of and responsible open access to forced displacement data. The World Bank has maintained a Microdata Library (MDL) since 2005 and it is the largest repository of development survey microdata in the world, as of 2020 ( The internal facing microdata catalog contains over 9,500 survey and census datasets. The World Bank catalog houses data from a broad range of development topics relevant to the Bank’s operations and as such it includes data relevant to displaced populations but does not have a specific focus on displaced populations. More recently, the World Bank provided technical support to UNHCR for the establishment of its own external-facing MDL. (NB: The UNHCR MDL is managed in parallel to UNHCR’s internal-facing Raw Internal Data Library, RIDL).

Activity Description

With a view to UNHCR’s MDL, the project will ensure continued technical support and knowledge sharing from the World Bank MDL’s team – thereby enhancing UNHCR’s MDL system and associated tools, ensuring its continued fitness-for-purpose and enhancing its functionality and user experience.

Moreover, and with a view to the World Bank’s MDL, the project will proactively identify and organize content from the World Bank’s catalogue of 9500 surveys, surfacing and tagging those relevant to forced displacement. Wherever possible, these WB datasets will also be showcased in the UNHCR MDL.

Overall objectives

Microdata are a critical input for research on development and humanitarian issues, and for the design, targeting and monitoring of policies and programs. This is especially true and pressing for data on displaced individuals. Making the data more accessible, and improving the related metadata, adds much value to existing data. It also mitigates against the duplication of efforts while reducing the need to collect new data. This project aims, through improved platforms and knowledge sharing to surface new and relevant data, on displaced populations, as well as to ensure that existing data sources are identified for their usefulness in generating knowledge and furthering better policy.

Engagement with partners

The project is an ongoing partnership between the World Bank Microdata Library and the UNHCR Microdata Library.


For further details on this activity, please contact:

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