EPA photo showing UNHCR staff members while they erect tents at a camp for refugees forced to flee their homes in Erbil, Iraq
EPA photo showing UNHCR staff members while they erect tents at a camp for refugees forced to flee their homes in Erbil, Iraq

A new data center to be built by the World Bank Group and the UNHCR intends to improve access to information on forced migrants, refugees and host communities.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the new center, which is expected to be ready by mid-2018, ''will enable a better informed and more sustainable response to forced displacement, underpinning a coordinated humanitarian-development approach'', bringing together the role of the main institution for data on refugees, UNHCR, and the World Bank Group's experience in strengthening governments' statistics skills.

 ''The scale, complexity and speed of today's refugee crises mean we can no longer afford to respond through humanitarian action alone. It is more important than ever to mobilize resources and plan for the longer term from the beginning.This is why early access to reliable data for development partners like the World Bank is so important,'' stressed United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. ''When resources are scarce all efforts should be made to get help to those who need it. Improving data and evidence is critical to ensure that these resources are used efficiently and effectively,'' added World Bank Group CEO Kristalina Georgieva.

Information to promote better policies 

The new data center will focus on collecting data on refugees, internally displaced and other groups, including host communities. The UNHCR has said that the project aims to "ensure population and socioeconomic data are systematically collected and analyzed", "facilitate open access to forced displacement data, while ensuring the integrity of the legal protection framework", "promote innovations to enhance forced displacement data through satellite imagery, cell phones, and other new technologies", and "strengthen the global data collection system, establishing common norms, definitions, and methodologies, and support efforts to fortify country systems where necessary". 

The two institutions noted that the data ''will allow for a dramatic scaling up of such critical analytical work, which is essential as the WBG and UNHCR collaborate to support both refugees and host communities". The information will also be made available to institutions "to improve programs and projects on forced displacement".

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