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IOM Framework for Addressing Internal Displacement

Last updated: 07 Nov 2022


Internal displacement is a complex, globally occurring phenomenon, including in numerous crisis contexts where IOM operates. IOM's mandate and operational capacity allow IOM to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs), prevent the root causes of displacement, and mitigate its effects for all affected communities. The IOM Framework for Addressing Internal Displacement situates this work among other global, regional, and internal frameworks responding to internal displacement, as well as frames the Organization's principles of engagement, commitments, strategic approaches, and operational objectives.

Given that states have the primary responsibility for those displaced within their borders, there are no binding international agreements addressing internal displacement. However, the 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement is the most significant framework on IDP protection and rights, compiling relevant international human rights and humanitarian law and norms applicable to internal displacement. Other important frameworks complement the Guiding Principles, particularly the African Union's 2012 Kampala Convention, the first binding interstate accord on internal displacement.

The IOM Framework for Addressing Internal Displacement outlines IOM's principles, commitments, strategic approach, and operational objectives in response to internal displacement crises. It situates IOM's work within the humanitarian and development ecosystems and aligns with international and regional norms. This Framework highlights the Organization's comprehensive approach that considers the entire cycle of displacement and emphasizes principled, evidence-based, and collaborative operations.

Operationally, the assistance to IDPs provided by the international humanitarian community falls under the humanitarian coordination architecture defined by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), within which IOM co-leads the camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) cluster and is actively engaged at all levels.

La description

IOM's Framework for Addressing Internal Displacement directly informs and strengthens IOM operations by summarizing the Organization's commitments and programmatic priorities in contexts of internal displacement. This framework aims to assist IOM missions to respond effectively in crisis situations affecting and/or driving the movement of IDPs, both directly as well as in partnership with other humanitarian and non-humanitarian actors.

Principles of Engagement:

  • Primary responsibility of states: While IOM is committed to assisting IDPs and their host communities, States hold the primary responsibility to protect these populations and ensure their rights. When requested, IOM works with State actors at all levels on their response to and prevention of internal displacement.
  • Grounded in prevailing principles, policies, and practices: As discussed above, IOM respects and applies international norms, principles, and frameworks into its internal displacement-related activities.
  • People-centered: IOM's approach is people-centered and participatory, emphasizing IDPs' human dignity, resilience, and self-reliance.


  • Human dignity and well-being of all mobile populations: IOM's institutional commitment to ensuring the rights and well-being of all mobile populations includes IDPs.
  • Inclusive scope of coverage: IOM's displacement-related work is not limited to humanitarian assistance, but also incorporates prevention and reduction of displacement at its root causes, as well as longer-term recovery and development.
  • Proximate and cost-effective operating model: IOM prioritizes flexible, cost-effective response to crisis based on direct assistance at the field level that also incorporates local organizations whenever suitable.
  • Institutional strength and transparency: IOM aims to continue implementing its commitments under the 2016 Grand Bargain, including improving transparency, localizing funding and partnerships, increasing participatory programming and use of cash-based programming, and greater multi-year funding and planning.

Strategic Approach:

  • Contextual: IOM's approach emphasizes understanding the context driving internal displacement patterns, methods, destinations, and decision-making about how long to remain or when to return. This contextual knowledge informs IOM's operations on all aspects of displacement.
  • Comprehensive: IOM activities bridge the humanitarian-development nexus and respond to all stages of the displacement cycle through the MCOF approach, which targets 15 sectors and other cross-cutting priorities.
  • Collaborative: IOM responds to internal displacement in conjunction with a range of partners, including States, other international organizations, local and international civil society organizations, development actors, and the private sector.
  • Evidence-based: IOM prioritizes the use of data, assessment, analysis to inform its operations. The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is an important source of this data for both IOM and its external partners.
  • Innovative: IOM operations innovate through the use of technology and other new approaches to improve assistance to IDPs and other affected communities.

Operational Objectives:

  • Bolster preparedness and resilience-building and address root causes: IOM works to reduce the diverse root causes of internal displacement and mitigate the effects of shocks. IOM programs also focus on disaster and crisis preparedness and planning, particularly related to natural disasters.
  • Provide protection and assistance through timely and effective humanitarian responses: In the event of an emergency, IOM deploys rapid response teams to its country offices to ensure fast-acting, appropriate response from the beginning of a crisis. IOM also provides cross-sectoral, direct humanitarian assistance to IDPs and their host communities, as well as supports national and local authorities in policy development and program implementation.
  • Support and pursue durable solutions and sustainable recovery: IOM's operations include stability, transition, and recovery programming to resolve internal displacement whenever possible and provide long-term solutions for affected individuals and communities. This work emphasizes community participation, reduction of vulnerabilities, and strengthening social cohesion.


For more information and guidance, please contact the Preparedness and Response Division (PRD): prdcore@iom.int.

Points clés

  • Internal displacement is a global phenomenon that is increasingly protracted and driven by numerous natural and human-made factors. IDPs, host communities, and communities of origins are all affected. Response by IOM and other actors must be comprehensive, considering the diverse, fluid contextual factors, drivers of internal displacement, and characteristics of affected populations.
  • Despite the lack of binding international treaties on internal displacement, a number of soft law and normative frameworks cover IDPs' rights. IOM applies these principles in its activities related to internal displacement, as well as in partnership with other humanitarian and non-humanitarian actors.
  • IOM's approach, as articulated in its Framework, includes support before, during, and after internal displacement to prevent and prepare holistically to crises. IOM provides immediate lifesaving assistance and facilitates transition and recovery of affected populations and in search for more durable solutions. IOM works with local and national authorities, adopts people centered approaches, directly delivers assistance, and collaborates with partners to achieve these goals.

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