Humanitarian actors require information on the location and composition of the affected populations to deliver services and respond to needs in a timely manner. Understanding the scale, scope and patterns of displacement is vital to inform the planning and implementation of mitigation measures and responses.  

In reality, however, data gaps, a lack of quality data or the inadequate use of it often hamper these efforts and may lead to inadequate responses. This is often compounded by a lack of disaggregation by age, gender and other key variables.  

IOM seeks to address these issues by collecting and reporting on original data from various sources in its own programmes and operations as well as by providing training on data concepts, collection, analysis and governance to practitioners worldwide. In addition, IOM hosts the Migration Health Research Portal, an open-access global repository that gathers the Organization’s humanitarian and health-related projects and publications in one hub for researchers and programme managers. 

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) tracks, monitors and analyses displacement and population mobility to provide a better understanding of the movements and evolving needs of displaced populations. 

In addition, IOM explores new innovative ways as well as seeks out partnerships to fill the data gap, including to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) that offer expertise in internal displacement data analysis, research and policy development. 

The Organization also collects statistical data on the resettlement of refugees and other persons travelling under IOM auspices to countries offering temporary or permanent protection. 

In cases where IOM processes beneficiaries' personal and sensitive data, this is done in full respect of IOM’s Data Protection Principles

Displacement Tracking Matrix 

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) gathers and analyzes data to disseminate critical multi-layered information on the mobility, vulnerabilities, and needs of displaced and mobile populations that enables decision makers and responders to provide these populations with better context-specific assistance. 

Conceptualized in 2004 in Iraq, for IDP assessments and monitoring exercises, the DTM has been continuously refined and enhanced through years of operational experience in countries in both conflict and natural disaster settings. It delivers an essential role in providing primary data and information on displacement, at country, regional and global levels.

It is comprised of four distinct components: 

  • Mobility Tracking: regularly tracks numbers, locations and cross-sectorial needs of observed populations to target assistance  
  • Flow Monitoring: tracks movements of mobile populations at key transit points to identify the scale and direction of flows and reasons for movement 
  • Registration: individual and household level information used for functional identity management in beneficiary selection, vulnerability targeting and programming 
  • Surveys: gathers specific information through sampling from the population of interest, in regard to return intention, displacement solutions, community perception, and other thematic areas.