2020 was an unprecedented and turbulent year for people and the planet. Here at IDMC, as with people across the world, Covid-19 changed the way we work, disrupted our daily lives and confronted us with challenges unimaginable at the beginning of the year. Some things, however, continued unabated. In 2020, civil wars, political and ethnic violence and record-breaking storms continued to uproot millions of people around the globe.
Documenting the scale and scope of internal displacement can be challenging, even at the best of times. This year, our work was complicated by the cumulative impact of successive rounds of confinement, coupled with the constant threat of exposure and illness. However, we are also proud to say that, against these odds, we also made great advances in 2020.
We began the year on a positive note when the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, launched the High- Level Panel on Internal Displacement. As a member of the expert advisory group to the panel, I have been honoured to contribute to the panel’s work, serving not only its members but also the world’s tens of millions of IDPs.
We published our Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) 2020 at the height of the pandemic’s first wave in Europe. For the first time, we presented our flagship report virtually, an approach we would repeat for many other publications during the year. GRID 2020’s focus on promoting solutions and mobilising national political will could not have been more timely, given that the importance of local response was one of the first lessons Covid-19 taught us as international travel became impossible.
As the pandemic rendered our annual conference in October impossible, we launched instead three expert forums to improve understanding of climate change and displacement. These expert forums continued into 2021 and fed into the theme of our 2021 GRID focused on displacement in a changing climate.
Near the end of the year, we also published our new 10-year strategy, From Evidence to Impact. This new vision will help align our own goals with those of Agenda 2030 by continuing to generate evidence on internal displacement, galvanising action and strengthening capacity at the country level.
All in all, in 2020 we learned creative ways to amplify our impact and broaden the reach of our data and evidence. We learned to be more flexible, to rely more on local expertise, travel less and appreciate the delicate balance of the natural environment. At IDMC we will keep these lessons in mind as we continue our work in the coming year, one which we see as full of opportunities. We will start to implement our new strategy, draw attention to successful practices in addressing displacement with a new global repository and continue to reach broader audiences by hosting engaging and interactive virtual events.
We send our warm thanks to all of you who have supported our work and hope you will remain by our side as we move into this next chapter.
Director of IDMC