The Internal Displacement Unit – OCHA

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					44                                                                                                                              FMR20

     The Internal Displacement
     Unit – OCHA
             he proliferation of internal       The Unit’s aim is to ensure a pre-        uation also underlined similar defi-
             conflicts in the 1990s gave rise   dictable and concerted response           ciencies in the collaborative approach
             to new interest in the phenom-     among all concerned actors to the         as had been identified by the Survey
     enon of internal displacement. At the      problem of internal displacement.         and Matrix.
     beginning of the new millennium, an        Taking into account the variety of
     estimated 25 million people were           needs of IDPs, the Unit identifies and    Based on the findings of the Survey,
     internally displaced as a result of        highlights gaps in the humanitarian       Matrix and the evaluation, and follow-
     armed conflict and human rights vio-       response to displacement situations.      ing consultations with the UN Senior
     lations. An additional 20-25 million       Within this mandate there is a broad      Inter-Agency Network on Internal
     were said to be displaced as a result      range of activities required to address   Displacement, the Unit has redefined
     of natural disasters.                      IDPs’ assistance and protection needs.    its objectives and activities for 2004,
                                                In 2003 the Unit undertook two stud-      identifying four key goals:
     During the course of the last decade,      ies which sought to analyse, both
     in response to the gravity and increas-    qualitatively and quantitatively, the     ■ improve predictability and trans-
     ing seriousness of the problem, the        effectiveness of the international          parency in international response
     international community has respond-       response to the IDP problem.                to internal displacement
     ed with the development of new legal
     and institutional frameworks. In the       ■ A Protection Survey, undertaken         ■ increase system-wide accountabili-
     absence of express legal or normative        collaboratively by the Unit and the       ty for IDPs
     standards applicable to the internally       Brookings-SAIS Project on Internal
     displaced, Dr Francis Deng, the UN           Displacement, undertook field vis-      ■ improve confidence in and imple-
     Secretary-General’s Representative on        its and interviews in nine                mentation of the collaborative
     Internally Displaced Persons, devel-         countries. It examined the ways in        approach at the field level
     oped the Guiding Principles on               which UN Country Teams and
     Internal Displacement, based on inter-       other relevant actors have sought       ■ increase protection of IDPs
     national human rights, humanitarian          to encourage and support states in
     and refugee law. Although not a bind-        discharging their primary responsi-     For further information about the
     ing instrument, the Guiding Principles       bility for the protection of IDPs.      Unit, see: or
     have become an essential reference                                                   email:
     for all those dealing with the issue of    ■ The IDP Response Matrix aimed to
                                                  map the involvement of humani-          1. Available online at:
     internal displacement.                                                     
                                                  tarian actors with regard to IDPs       relOct03.pdf

     At the institutional level, rather than      and their awareness of inter-           2. Available online at:
                                                  agency policy instruments and 
     creating a new agency for the internal-                                              onJan2004.pdf
     ly displaced or assigning
     responsibility to an existing agency,
     the international community opted          Between them, the studies identified a
     instead for a collaborative approach       serious failure and lack of commit-         OCHA’s Internal
     to internal displacement which would       ment on the part of UN agencies to
     draw upon the mandates and exper-          implement the collaborative approach,       Displacement Unit
                                                due in part to a lack of awareness and
     tise of the UN’s humanitarian and
                                                understanding of the collaborative
                                                                                            and UNDP’s Bureau
     development agencies and other
     organisations in responding to the         approach.                                   for Crisis Prevention
     protection and assistance needs of the
     internally displaced. Concerns as to       Also during 2003, an evaluation of the      and Recovery are col-
     the effectiveness of this approach led     Unit was undertaken to assess its rele-
     to the creation in July 2000 of the        vance, efficiency and effectiveness.2       laborating with the
                                                As the Unit operates in a broader con-
     Senior Inter-Agency Network on
                                                text, it soon became obvious that its
                                                                                            Editors on the feature
     Internal Displacement charged with
     identifying ways in which the collabo-     work could not be analysed without          section of the next
     rative approach could be made to           reference to the response of the UN
     work more effectively. Among its rec-      system as a whole to internal dis-          issue of FMR – the
     ommendations was the establishment         placement. As such, the evaluation of
     of the Internal Displacement Unit          the Unit became also an evaluation of       return and reintegra-
     within the UN Office for the               the collaborative approach. As well as
     Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs       identifying ways in which the Unit
                                                                                            tion of IDPs.
     (OCHA).                                    could work more effectively, the eval-

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Description: The Internal Displacement Unit – OCHA