SEEECA lies at the cross-roads of significant migratory routes from, within and throughout the region. Migration has had a great impact not only on the economies of states, but on societies and individuals as well. While most flows are primarily driven by labour and economy, other drivers include environmental degradation, recurrent natural disasters, and political and conflict-related instability.

Many states in SEEECA have been traditional countries of origin. However, patterns of movement have diversified over time, making most SEEECA countries today, to varying extents, countries of origin, transit and destination. IOM established a formal presence in the region in 1991, working in the newly independent states following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A series of political upheavals in the 1990s sent shockwaves across the region, spurring the migration of millions in the context of war, economic collapse, income inequalities, ethnic renationalization, border disputes, and an overall atmosphere of flux. Newly independent states faced massive political, social and economic challenges in reconciling territories, national identities, and in the abrupt creation of dozens of diasporas.

The consequences of wars in the former Yugoslavia, Tajikistan, and the Caucasus sent scores of IDPs and refugees from their homes, having lasting effects on communities to this day.

The region hosts over 4.5 million internally displaced persons, 3.7 million of which are a result of conflict or violence. Many are unable to return to the number of frozen conflict zones in the region. Internal displacement has largely maintained a figure above 2.3 million persons since 2009, rising to its highest point at the end of 2016. Recent conflicts, most notably in Ukraine, have further increased the number of IDPs in the region, accounting for an estimated 1.7 million.