Agenda Item 2b

Norway's statement on UNHCR’s engagement with internally displaced persons during agenda item 2, b) of the 72nd meeting of the UNHCR Standing Committee.

As delivered by counsellor Kjetil Elsebutangen                                   

Thank you, Chair, and thanks to UNHCR for providing us with an update on its efforts to increase assistance to and protection of IDPs as well as for the substantive presentation by Special Adviser Corliss this afternoon.

We have been supportive of the High Commissioner’s commitment to working more systematically across the entire spectrum of displacement.

We welcomed the anchoring of the engagement with IDPs in UNHCR’s strategic directions.

We now look forward to receiving UNHCR’s updated policy for this work by the end of 2018.

As you are aware, Norway is the penholder for the biannual resolution on internal displacement in the UN General Assembly, and we have followed this issue with great interest and concern for many years.

This year’s 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement is an occasion to reflect on why we have not been better at preventing, reducing and addressing internal displacement despite policy efforts and investments.

In fact, since the adoption of the Principles 20 years ago, conflict-induced internal displacement has doubled.

Last year, natural-disaster-induced internal displacement amounted to almost 19 million new displacements.

Climate change is likely to aggravate the challenges even further.

The fact that we have not had a major renewal of the global framework for protection and assistance to IDPs since 1998 should be cause for deep concern.

In this regard, we recognize Africa as the only region that has taken the step of concluding a regional convention on internal displacement, the Kampala Convention.


There is a widespread misconception that internal displacement is solely an internal issue.

The persistence of internal displacement represents a major challenge to common international commitments, and particularly to the 2030 agenda.

IDPs are often among the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations at risk, and represent a challenge for reaching the SDGs.

If we are serious about “leaving no one behind”, then IDPs should be a top priority.

This also highlights the urgent need for a whole-of-system approach to internal displacement.

It is critical that the UN does not only have a humanitarian approach to internal displacement, but also takes into account the development, peace and security, and adaptation dimensions.

Finally, we encourage UNHCR to continue to increase its engagement for IDPs further and in particular through joint efforts with other UN agencies.

Thank you.