Jan Grarup / DRC

Global

By 2023 displacement will have doubled over a decade, new report predicts

More than 35 million people will have been displaced from their homes from 2014 to 2023 meaning a doubling in a time span of just ten years in the world’s most displacement affected countries, according to a new report from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). But the report also points to how these worrying predictions can be mitigated – with the right attention and action.

Countries such as Afghanistan, South Sudan and Ethiopia will continue to see a high number of people being displaced, while in countries such as Burkina Faso and Cameroon there will be a rapid growth in the number of people displaced. These are some of the conclusions in DRC’s new Global Displacement Forecast report, which predicts displacement trends in 2022 and 2023. The forecast, which covers 26 countries, where most displacement happens, expects that the total number of people displaced will increase by 2.9 million in 2022 and an additional 3.9 million in 2023 entailing a total increase of 6.8 million. This means that in the 10-year period from 2014 to 2023, displacement is looking to almost double, increasing by more than 35 million people.

“It is extremely worrying to see such a rapidly increasing number of displaced persons in such a short time. Also, the report makes it very clear that displacement disproportionally affects poorer countries and areas that already have enough on their plate”, said Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC): “We see that humanitarian funding is inadequate in a number of countries where displacement is taking place. The international community needs to step up with extra support to the countries that are most affected by displacement including countries such as DR Congo, Sudan and Mali.”

The study also predicts that most of the displaced persons in 2022 and 2023 will not cross any borders. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa will face the greatest increase in displacement with five million by the end of 2023. In contrast, the number in Europe is estimated to be less than 50,000.

It is extremely worrying to see such a rapidly increasing number of displaced persons in such a short time. Also, the report makes it very clear that displacement disproportionally affects poorer countries and areas that already have enough on their plate.

Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of DRC

The data highlights certain triggers with conflict being a key driver of displacement. While displacement often is the result of complex interactions between, for example, human rights abuses, violence, economic deterioration, and environmental degradation, the report lists specific predictors to look for when anticipating displacement trends. These include changes in the number of conflict events and the total number of – especially civilian – fatalities. In 2021, there was an increase of 30% in fatalities from conflict in the 26 countries, while incidents of violence against civilians rose by 22%. This highlights the need for political action to defuse conflicts before they turn violent and cost human lives.

The report is important as it allows humanitarian actors as well as donors to mitigate and prepare better for future displacement crises, Charlotte Slente explains: “Naturally, the longer it takes to respond to humanitarian needs, the greater the challenges will be. If we can limit the number of weeks displaced people do not have access to food and clean water, chances are we will prevent more from getting sick or even dying from starvation. If we can limit the number of months displaced children are out of school, it will strengthen their education and future opportunities.” However, Slente also stresses that the report should be a wakeup call for politicians to put extra efforts intro trying to prevent these displacement crises from happening:

“This is where the international community and diplomacy need to step up. Unfortunately, we see a decreasing number of peace agreements and a lack of international attention to countries where displacement is predicted to rise most. This despite evidence from the report that the most effective actions are those focused on deescalating conflict, preventing violence and protection civilians. We must remember that these are only predictions that – with the right interventions – can be mitigated. There is simply no excuse not to act.”

We must remember that these are only predictions that – with the right interventions – can be mitigated. There is simply no excuse not to act.

Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of DRC

About the report

The Global Displacement Forecast report is based on data from the Foresight tool developed in collaboration with IBM with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The tool has been developed to support the wider humanitarian system in having accurate forecasts for strategic planning for better prevention, response, and protection for displacement-affected populations. The predictions are made with an error margin down to 6% and are generally conservative, as about two-thirds of the predictions underestimate the upcoming displacement.

Download the report here

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