Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations

The number and scale of crises are forcing record numbers of people to flee their homes seeking relative safety within or across international borders. However, the growing complexity and unpredictability of these crises is resulting in increasingly protracted displacement situations which challenge the versatility of the three traditional durable solutions – voluntary return and sustainable reintegration, sustainable settlement elsewhere and sustainable local integration.

In 2016, IOM adopted a new framework – the Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations (PRDS) Framework – which aims to guide IOM and inform its partners to frame and navigate the complexity of forced migration dynamics and support efforts to progressively resolve displacement situations. The PRDS Framework promotes an inclusive, resilience-based approach and embraces mobility strategies that support progression towards resolving displacement, while ensuring safety nets are in place to avoid potentially harmful mobility strategies.

IOM’s new approach:

  • Embraces more inclusive approaches that recognize the needs and rights of all those affected by crises: displaced persons (including refugees and IDPs) as well as other migrants and mobile populations and the communities who may also be affected by crisis and displacement, in-line with international law.
  • Recognizes that displaced and other populations impacted by crisis and displacement are often mobile and utilize a range of mobility strategies. Better understanding of these mobility strategies,  and the exploration of new mobility strategies, may offer new avenues towards progressively resolving displacement situations.
  • Focuses on resilience outcomes, aiming to reduce aid dependency and support those impacted by crisis and displacement to better cope with current and future shocks and stresses.
  • Promotes partnership with a wide range of traditional and non-traditional actors, striving to optimize humanitarian, development, peace and security interventions, for greater and more sustainable impacts.
  • Emphasizes the importance of multi-level interventions, with complementary, mutually reinforcing actions at individual, household, community and systems levels.
  • Ensures people remain at the heart of efforts to resolve displacement, integrating age, gender and diversity considerations and balancing changing needs, intentions and opportunities in often fluid environments.


Mobility Strategies

While crisis often provides the impetus for moving in the first place, along the way, those on the move constantly assess options and strategies as new risks or opportunities emerge. IOM recognizes movement as central to fostering resilience, empowering people to preserve or increase available resources and opportunities, enabling them to save their lives or access basic assistance, or to enhance livelihood opportunities. However, human mobility may also entail risk and can have a diverse array of consequences. IOM promotes humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.

Some examples of mobility strategies include:

  • Legal and physical access to local economic opportunities are central to enabling self-reliance and reducing dependency. This may include flexibility to leave and re-enter camps or transborder mobility to access local markets and networks. However, many are subject to discrimination or unequal treatment compared with local workers and traders.
  • Onward movements may include internal or international movements from place of first refuge. This is more likely when needs and aspirations are unmet and/or the there is no foreseeable resolution to the original drivers of mobility. Some seek improved access to services and economic opportunities in nearby urban areas, while others seek opportunity further afield; often undertaking risky journeys.
  • During lulls in conflict, some family members may temporarily leave places of safety and return to cultivate fields or check on land or assets. This may support income generation as well as maintaining links with home communities, laying the foundations for the eventual return of all family members when conditions allow.


IOM would like to thank the United States Government, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for their support to the development of this initiative.