Theme 7: Mainstreaming migration into development planning, including from a gender perspective
Migration is a key part of development processes around the world. Migrants and their families often reap significant benefits from moving and support the development of their home and host communities. Yet, whether their contributions (e.g. through remittances, skills, knowledge) can be converted into larger scale development gains largely depends on conditions and policy choices in countries of origin and destination. Access to migration opportunities is often unevenly distributed: Those who have potentially the most to gain from moving – the poor and low-skilled – often face the greatest obstacles, as they lack the resources to move and are constrained by policy and institutional barriers.
Whether migration carries bigger risks or benefits for the human development of those involved hinges on a number of factors, including:
- "who moves": age, gender, education, socio-economic status, occupation and ethnic affiliation can all make a difference;
- under which conditions: forced or voluntary, through regular or irregular channels;
- how migrants fare at destination, in terms of legal status, working and living conditions, access to services and utilities; and
- if they stay connected to their places of origin.
Policies and international cooperation can play a facilitative role in creating positive interlinkages between migration and development. Yet, to formulate policies and programmes that maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of migration for human development, a context-specific and shared assessment of how the two interact at national and local levels is needed.
Integrating migration into national development strategies can promote an evidence-based, coherent, and inclusive approach to migration and development, using the structured and participatory nature of development planning processes. From a situation and capacity assessment, over action and implementation planning, to monitoring and evaluation, the planning process provides a framework for the systematic consideration of the human development concerns of migrants and the implications of migration for national and local development goals and actions.