UNHCR-World Bank Group Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement Fact Sheet


Global Context

  • Globally, there are an estimated 65.6 million people who have fled their homes either as refugees (22.5 million), internally displaced persons (40.3 million), or asylum seekers as a result of conflict and persecution (UNHCR, figures as of end-2016).
  • As set out in the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2016, UNHCR is leading the development of a global compact on refugees that envisions stronger international cooperation and more equitable and predictable burden and responsibility sharing arrangements.
  • The need for reliable, comparable, and timely data, to enhance decision-making by policymakers and partners is recognized as a critical tool to deliver on this new approach.


The World Bank Group and UNHCR have been expanding collaboration in recent years, including through:

  • a series of joint analytical work in the Horn of Africa, the Lake Chad Basin and the Middle East;
  • joint work with government institutions to expand the collection of microdata; and
  • joint missions to inform Bank Group programming of new resources to address refugee situations.

Building on these efforts, the two institutions committed to operate a Joint Data Center:  

  • October 2017: Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank Chief Executive Officer, announced their intent to establish a joint data center.
  • April 2018: Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • Late 2018: Launch of Joint Data Center

Mission Statement

The Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement aims to enhance the ability of stakeholders to make timely and evidence-informed decisions that can improve the lives of affected people.


  • Ensure population and socioeconomic data are systematically collected and analyzed
  • Facilitate open access to forced displacement data, with adequate anonymization and safeguards to ensure the integrity of the legal protection framework
  • Promote innovation to enhance forced displacement data
  • Strengthen the sustainability of a global data collection system, based on common norms, definitions, and methodologies, with a particular effort on strengthening country systems where necessary


  • The Center will focus on the collection, analysis and dissemination of primary microdata.
  • Data refers to demographic and socioeconomic data – which includes detailed information on income, consumption, skills, health, and economic activity among others – that will be anonymized to protect privacy and prevent identifying individuals.
  • Work will encompass refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless people, returnees, asylum-seekers, and host populations.


  • The Center will capitalise on the synergies between the UNHCR and Bank Group, complementing each other’s strengths; UNHCR in protection data, registration and collection, and the Bank Group in household data, policy dialogue and analytical work. Both organizations expect to achieve efficiency and provide value to partners such as governments, the private sector, civil society, NGOs and researchers, among others.
  • Other partnerships will be explored based on complementarity and synergies.

Proposed Activities (Illustrative)

  • Establish a data library based on an open data protocol
  • Develop methodological tools (including standards, sampling methods, framework for collection)
  • Implement capacity-building programs for data collection in refugee-hosting countries
  • Prepare a review of new technologies to enhance available data

Governance Structure

  • The Center will be a physical structure to ensure sustainability. Its location is currently under discussion.
  • The Center will be managed and owned equally by both the UNHCR and the WBG.
  • Following the signing of the MOU, a Charter and operation manual will be developed to guide operations.