IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons

March 5, 2010


Displacement is a life-changing event. While the often traumatic experience of displacement cannot be undone, internally displaced persons (IDPs) need to be able to resume a normal life by achieving a durable solution. As articulated in principle 28 of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement,IDPs have a right to a durable solution and often need assistance in their efforts. Guiding Principles 28-30 set out the rights of IDPs to durable solutions, the responsibilities of national authorities, and the role of humanitarian and development actors to assist durable solutions. 

Principle 28 recognizes that the competent authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to establish conditions, as well as provide the means, which allow IDPs to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence, or to resettle voluntarily in another part of the country. Securing durable solutions for the internally displaced is also in the State’s best interests. Leaving IDPs in continued marginalization without the prospect of a durable solution may become an obstacle to long-term peace stability, recovery and reconstruction in post-crisis countries.  

Facilitating durable solutions requires that all stakeholders, including national and local authorities as well as humanitarian and development actors, work together, identify the right strategies and activities to assist IDPs in this process, and set criteria that will help to determine to what extent a durable solution has been achieved.

The present Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons aims to provide clarity on the concept of a durable solution and provides general guidance on how to achieve it. This version of the Framework builds on a pilot version released in 2007, which the Inter-Agency Standing Committee welcomed and suggested be field-tested. The Framework was revised and finalized in 2009, taking into account valuable feedback from the field on the pilot version and subsequent drafts.  

The revision process was led by the Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights of internally displaced persons working in close cooperation with the Cluster Working Group on Early Recovery and the Protection Cluster Working Group, in particular the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Programme, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Environment Programme and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Support was also provided by the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement.[1]  

Purpose and Scope of this Framework 

The purpose of this Framework is: 

  • to foster a better understanding of the concept of durable solutions for the internally displaced;
  • to provide general guidance on the process and conditions necessary for achieving a durable solution; and
  • to assist in determining to what extent a durable solution has been achieved.

The Framework aims to provide guidance for achieving durable solutions following internal displacement in the context of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights and natural or human-made disasters.[2] Being of a generic character, the Framework needs to be applied in light of the specific situation and context. It is complementary to more detailed operational guidelines adopted by humanitarian and development actors or national and local authorities.  

The Framework primarily aims to help international and non-governmental actors to better assist Governments dealing with humanitarian and development challenges resulting from internal displacement. The Framework may also be useful for Governments of countries affected by internal displacement, who have the primary duty and responsibility to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to IDPs, as well as for other stakeholders namely donors and IDPs themselves.[3]

Download complete Framework

[1] The pilot version of this Framework was also based on input from the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University.

[2] Situations may of course overlap, in particular where disaster-induced displacement occurs in the context of complex emergencies. It is also increasingly evident that climate change exacerbates natural disasters and related displacement, even if not all disaster-induced displacement is related to climate change.

While this framework may provide some general guidance with regard to development-induced displacement, existing special guidelines on resettlement should be consulted. See, in particular, World Bank, Operational Policy on Involuntary Resettlement (OP 4.12, December 2001); Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement, (A/HRC/4/18, 2007); Asian Development Bank, Policy on Involuntary Resettlement, 1996.

[3] In some situations, the Framework may also be relevant for de facto authorities controlling territory, whose acts are classified under international law as acts of the State to the extent that such authorities are in fact exercising elements of governmental authority in the absence or default of the official authorities, and in circumstances which call for the exercise of such authority. See article 9, Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, adopted by the International Law Commission at its fifty-third session and commended to the attention of Governments by the General Assembly in its resolution 56/83.