Internally Displaced Persons Must Be “Agents of Their Own Solutions”: IOM Joins High-Level Discussion to Resolve Internal Displacement

By the end of 2019, the total number of people internally displaced due to conflict, violence and disasters reached a record high: 50 million. More than 33 million were newly-displaced over the course of the year. Photo: IOM

Geneva – Humanitarian and human rights leaders convened today to explore durable solutions for the world’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) as well as the host communities and governments affected by internal displacement.  

The International Organization for Migration joined the virtual high-level panel discussion, which showcases efforts by the international community to pursue concrete solutions through the Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement launched in February, as part of the week-long Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  

By the end of 2019, the total number of people internally displaced due to conflict, violence and disasters reached a record high: 50 million. More than 33 million were newly displaced over the course of the year. 

“As if the challenges we faced to finding concrete solutions to internal displacement were not enough, we must now also consider a pandemic on a scale the world has not seen in generations,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. 

The dire circumstances in which most IDPs live – often characterized by crowded and unsanitary living conditions where jobs and services are few – have worsened due to the health risks and socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.  

Vitorino highlighted the importance of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus (HDPN) to address the destabilizing impacts of COVID-19 on IDPs by strengthening local capacities in humanitarian and health responses and ensuring socioeconomic recovery.  

IOM is one of the largest agencies responding to internal displacement. The Organization assisted 21 million IDPs and six million people living in affected/host communities in 2019. 

“IOM is present before, during and long after displacement situations are resolved giving us a unique expertise and role in operationalizing the nexus,” DG Vitorino said.   

“Our operations span the full displacement continuum – from preparedness and risk reduction, to humanitarian response, transition to longer-term solutions, and development.”  

Since the onset of COVID-19, the Organization has remained on the frontlines – adapting its operations to continue to meet the needs of IDPs affected by the virus and “make IDPs part of the solution” for sustainable recovery and development.  

Today’s discussion was entitled Mobilizing action to improve humanitarian assistance for internally displaced persons and achieve durable solutions. It was chaired by H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco, and Vice-President of ECOSOC and moderated by the Head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock.  

DG Vitorino was also joined by: Federica Mogherini, Co-Chair of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement; Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Dr. Asha Mohammed, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society and others.  

For more information, please contact: Angela Wells, IOM Communications Officer for the Department of Operations and Emergencies, Email:, Phone: +41 79 403 536