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Three days of mutual learning and experience sharing to strengthen UNICEF’s work on migrant and refugee children

(30 May 2018) UNICEF Innocenti researchers Bina D’Costa and Iolanda Genovese attend the Second Global Meeting on Children on the Move in Bangkok. The gathering brings together UNICEF specialists in emergency, programming, policy, communications, advocacy, resource mobilization and partnerships, as well as data and research. The three days of mutual learning and experience sharing (30 May – 1 June) will help to identify implementation gaps and priority actions to support UNICEF’s work on migrant and refugee children, and to promote UNICEF’s Six Point Agenda for Action for Children on the Move in its global ‘UPROOTED’ Campaign.

A group of children study sitting under the shade of a tentl at Markazi camp for Yemeni refugees, Djibouti. According to the UNHCR, the Markazi camp hosts around 2,000 refugees fleeing conflict in Yemen since 2015.


Bina D’Costa, Senior Migration and Displacement Research Specialist leading the Innocenti research on Children and Migration, will contribute to the second day session dedicated to data and evidence on migrant and forcibly displaced children. According to her blog about the 2018 Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2018)  prepared by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), “despite twenty years of global and national policy effort, since the publication of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in 1998, the pace of displacement is still outstripping efforts to address it.”


Out of 30.6 million new internal displacements in 2017, children represent a significant proportion, and are certainly the most vulnerable. However, major data gaps persist and data disaggregation by age and sex is crucial to paint the full picture of internal displacement and its impacts on children. More investments must be made at the national and international levels in sustainable development, peacebuilding, climate change impacts and disaster risk reduction for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, as internal displacement is directly related to all the Goals.

“despite twenty years of global and national policy effort, the pace of displacement is still outstripping efforts to address it.”

At the end of 2018 the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will be convened under the auspices of the General Assembly of the United Nations. It will represent a crucial moment for all Member States and for UNICEF’s work on refugee and migrant children. At that moment child-sensitive and child-responsive research will be more important than ever to understand the dynamics of migration not captured by more general research on migration.

“We need systematic analyses to understand the dynamics of child migration. Research, in particular evidence-based research, can persuade international, regional and state actors that the migration of children is a humanitarian issue not just a political issue” said D’Costa in a recent interview.

South Sudanese Gedain Galwak, 8, smiles as he waits in line for the water to be turned on in the morning, in the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Bentiu, South Sudan


“Research can dispel myths and anxieties surrounding migration, and could help design strategies that are effective in resettling children. Good research can also explain to advocates for child migrants how and why certain political decisions are taken, and support the explicit integration of children’s rights and protection in the migration agenda,” D'Costa said.