This brief is a contribution to the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) by the International Data Alliance for Children on the Move (IDAC). It renews the call for Member States and stakeholders to act to address data gaps regarding children on the move. It reiterates the key steps needed to improve data and better meet the urgent needs of the millions of children around the world who have left home.
Around the globe, children are crossing borders in record numbers. In 2020, some 35.5 million were living outside their country of birth. This is the highest number ever recorded – and does not capture the large numbers of children on the move impacted by recent events, such as the crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Around a third of these 35.5 million children are refugees and asylum seekers.
The story of every child on the move is unique and personal – so, too, are the deprivations and rights violations they will encounter throughout their journeys and in host communities. Their immediate and long-term protection needs will vary greatly by the circumstances and specifics of their movement. Policymakers must be attuned to these differences to design effective interventions and strategically position resources – and collecting the data that reflect these details and can inform targeted actions is the necessary first step.
Robust data and evidence are an essential component of policies and programmes that support a positive migration experience for all. But serious data gaps persist, obscuring the stories of some of the world’s most vulnerable migrants: children.