There are a number of reasons why it is important to answer the question of when internal displacement ends. To begin with, decisions that internal displacement has ended inevitably lead to the termination of programs addressing IDPs' particular needs; therefore, it is critical to understand the basis on which such decisions are made and the extent to which they matched realities on the ground. Operational agencies, NGOs, donors and other governments also require accurate data on the number of IDPs in order to effectively formulate programs, policies and budgets. In addition, it is important to determine when national and international resources should shift from the needs and vulnerabilities of IDPs to community-wide rehabilitation and development. Furthermore organizations and researchers engaged in compiling statistics need to know when to stop counting. Most importantly, IDPs are entitled to know when the benefits as well as the restrictions and risks that their designation as an "IDP" entails will cease.
Answering this question, therefore, is not simply an academic or theoretical exercise, but has a tremendous impact on the lives of IDPs. Currently there is no widely accepted answer to this question, as such decisions have been made on an ad hoc and arbitrary basis, whether by governments, international organizations or donors. In order to further the discussion and the development of criteria for determining the end of internal displacement the Brookings-SAIS Project, with Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of International Migration and the Norwegian Refugee Council, convened a meeting in Geneva to further discuss when internal displacement ends.
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Criteria for Determining the End of Displacement: Options for Consideration, by Erin Mooney & Susan Martin
"When Does Internal Displacement End?" Forced Migration Review, Special issue guest edited by Erin Mooney of the Brooking-SAIS Project
Conference Statement on "When Does Internal Displacement End?", by Erin Mooney
When Does Internal Displacement End: A Framework for Durable Solutions, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, September 2007