Initiatives for better data and evidence
Expert Group on Refugee, IDP and Statelessness Statistics
The Expert Group on Refugee, IDP and Statelessness Statistics (EGRISS) was established by the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) in 2016. Its objective is to improve national and global official statistics on refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and stateless people by developing international statistical recommendations for countries to use and supporting their implementation.
An international mandate
The International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics (IRRS) and the International Recommendations on Internally Displaced Persons Statistics (IRIS) were developed by EGRISS and endorsed by the UNSC in 2018 and 2020, respectively. They provide critical guidance for countries and regional and international organizations on how to produce official statistics on these populations. The Expert Group is currently in its third mandate (2020-2024), focusing on promoting and supporting the implementation of the IRRS and IRIS through the collaborative efforts of several Technical Subgroups. The group is also developing International Recommendations on Statelessness Statistics (IROSS) – expected in 2023.
Quality data for more effective policies and programme development
The IRRS and IRIS outline, for the first time, internationally agreed standards and practical guidance to improve the quality of official statistics on forcibly displaced populations which will allow for it to be more easily compared across years, countries and contexts. This supports effective policymaking and programme development by governments, UNHCR and partners, particularly in protracted displacement contexts.
To date the IRRS and IRIS have informed over 100 initiatives of planned, ongoing, or completed data collection. The IROSS, which will be presented to the UNSC in 2023, is expected to present a similar turning point for statelessness statistics which are especially challenging to reliably produce.
Each set of recommendations was developed through a collaborative process including contributions from statistical authorities of affected countries and international experts. Openness and inclusivity are critical aspects of the EGRISS methodology, welcoming collaboration with new and relevant partners from the statistical community.
EGRISS membership comprises representatives from over 50 national statistics authorities and around 30 international and regional organizations. The Group reports to the UNSC and for more regular guidance a Steering Committee has been established. Activities are carried out by the broader membership, organized in Technical Subgroups. A Secretariat, hosted by UNHCR, also supports and coordinates the work of the Group. Financial support from the WB-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement alongside direct contribution from UNHCR, make the work of the Group possible.
For more information please visit the EGRISS website,
Inter-agency Group on Statelessness Estimates
The Inter-Agency Group on Statelessness Estimation (IGSE) has been established to update the Inter-agency estimates of statelessness in order to advance the work on monitoring progress towards the SDG’s overarching ambition that no one is left behind in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The IGSE considers improved methodologies for analyzing and collating data on statelessness for use by agencies associated with the IGSE. A Technical Advisory Group supports this analysis through expert advice on the methodologies to be developed and applied.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Indicators
UNHCR has worked with the Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDG indicators (IAEG-SDGs) to add to the indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals an indicator measuring the number of refugees as a percentage of their country of origin population (indicator 10.7.4), within the 2020 Comprehensive Review. The inclusion of this additional indicator ensures refugees are granted the specific importance accorded to them for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Data disaggregation in the SDG context is equally important. Read more about this topic in our Data disaggregation of SDG indicators by forced displacement report.
UNHCR-World Bank Joint Data Center
The World Bank - UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement aims to enhance the ability of stakeholders to make timely and evidence-informed decisions that can improve the lives of the forcibly displaced and their host communities. The JDC will capitalize on the synergies between UNHCR and the World Bank, complementing each other’s strengths: UNHCR in protection data, registration and collection, and the World Bank in household data, policy dialogue and analytical work. Both organizations expect to achieve efficiency and provide value to partners such as governments, the private sector, civil society, NGOs and researchers, among others.