Making policies work

Dossier: Linking migration to development


Share Button

The permanent URL for this page is

This dossier brings together ECDPM’s work on migration and development. ECDPM connects its long-standing work on policy coherence, EU external action, EU-Africa relations, security and resilience with the topic of migration.

Media enquiries should be directed to Nina Thijssen via or +31 (0)43 350 29 30. 

Read more:

Development and migration

Development processes and migration and mobility are often intricately linked. Migration is one powerful way out of poverty and has great potential for sustainable development.

Flows of remittances now greatly exceed development aid, playing an important role in poverty reduction, relief and development. Economic research suggests that the opening of labour markets for international migrants can bring considerable economic gains for both sending and recipient countries as well as migrants themselves.

Yet migration and mobility – especially in the form of  displacement or in the context of conflict and crisis – can also bring challenges for development and put socio-economic pressures on governance systems and host communities.

The rise of complex and global mobility patterns has put migration high on the international agenda for the foreseeable future – not least for the EU.

Over the years, the European Commission has – at least on paper – developed a broad and forward-looking policy framework on international migration and mobility in relation to development cooperation and its relations with third countries. This includes migration in a South-South context, which is an important development issue for partner countries of the EU.

In recent years, the topic has also been of greater prominence in EU-Africa relations. However, the current ‘crisis response’ mood in the wake of the global refugee crisis has led to more short-sighted responses, which carries the risk of approaching mobility as a burden rather than a long-term development opportunity.

Successfully governing international migration and mobility requires cooperation, collective action, solidarity and working across relevant policy fields. It is important for policies that are aimed at addressing migration and mobility issues are based on a nuanced understanding of the complexities underlying it – and the important links it shares with development processes.

Go back to top.

ECDPM’s work on migration and development

ECDPM has a long history of analysis and research on EU migration and development policy. As a knowledge broker for well-informed policy dialogue, we have produced a number of blogs, briefing notes, discussion papers and background notes. This includes work for the 2014 Italian Presidency of the EU, EU COM-Swiss Dialogue on Development Cooperation and the International Organisation for Migration.

We have worked in partnership with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). Our research and analysis has focused on:

  • Policy coherence for development (especially in migration and development)
  • EU policies on migration and development
  • Partnership between the EU and Africa, not least the EU-African Union partnership on Migration Mobility and Employment
  • Migration and mobility in the post-2015/Agenda 2030 context

Go back to top.

Latest blogs

G20 in Hamburg and the migration agenda: How changing US policies are affecting global discussions
Noemi Cascone and Anna Knoll, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 6 July 2017

Egypt under the spotlight: can it be a safe third country?
Tasnim Abderrahim and Anna Knoll, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 17 March 2017

EU-Tunisia cooperation on migration: conflicting agendas?
Tasnim Abderrahim and Anna Knoll, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 15 March 2017

The EU’s migration cooperation with North Africa: will the carrot and stick approach work?
Tasnim Abderrahim and Anna Knoll, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 10 March 2017

Taking steps ahead: Towards a new vision for migration in 2017
Anna Knoll, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 20 January 2017

Challenges to a comprehensive and integrated EU migration and asylum policy
Anna Knoll, Raphaëlle Faure (ODI) and Mikaela Gavas (ODI), The Broker, 3 February 2016

The Valletta Summit: The EU’s new Trust Fund for Africa (Part two)
Anna Knoll, ECDPM Talking Points, 20 November 2015 

The Valletta Summit: A bond or a knot between Europe and Africa? (Part one)
Anna Knoll, ECDPM Talking Points, 13 November 2015 

Ask the right questions, get the right answers: The EU’s response to migration and its focus on root causes
Anna Knoll and Asmita Parshotam, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 29 July 2015

A safer entrance than Lampedusa? Will Juncker’s new Commission find good solutions for migration and development in EU external action?
Anna Knoll and Essete Abebe Bekele, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 19 September 2014

Migration and Mobility in the Africa-EU Partnership: a breakthrough or more of the same?
Anna Knoll and Essete Abebe Bekele, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 18 April 2014

Polarised discussions in EU Member States contradict the European Commission’s stance on migration
Anna Knoll and Niels Keijzer, ECDPM Talking Points blog, 2 October 2013

Go back to top.

From ECDPM’s GREAT insights magazine

A Challenging Road Ahead: International Migration and the Post-2015 Agenda
Anna Knoll, ECDPM GREAT Insights magazine, March 2013

Go back to top.

Latest publications and presentations

The nexus between food and nutrition security, and migration: Clarifying the debate and charting a way forward
Anna Knoll, Francesco Rampa, Carmen Torres, Paulina Bizzotto and Noemi Cascone, May 2017

Making Waves: Implications of the irregular migration and refugee situation on Official Development Assistance spending and practices in Europe
Report by Anna Knoll and Andrew Sherriff commissioned by the Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA), February 2017

Understanding African and European perspectives on migration: Towards a better partnership for regional migration governance?
Anna Knoll and Frauke de Weijer produced this ECDPM Discussion Paper as an outcome of the event ‘Why do we need the Africa Union’, November 2016

The African Union – What role in tackling Africa’s challenges?
Contains section on how the African Union is tackling migration issues, 14 October 2016

Why do we need the African Union

Conference report – Chapter 4 focuses on Migration, key narratives in Europe and Africa, 28 September 2016

Challenges to a comprehensive EU migration and asylum policy
Joint briefing with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), December 2015

EU Trust Funds – Shaping more comprehensive external action?
ECDPM Briefing Note 81, November 2015

Making migration beneficial to Europe and Africa
Joint Policy Brief / Seminar Report with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO), November 2015

Migration and Mobility: Integral Part of Sustainable Development
Background Note for the Informal Development Ministerial Meeting of the Italian Presidency, July 2014

Post-2015 Migration im Sinne einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung gestalten
Benjamin Schraven, Niels Keijzer and Anna Knoll, DIE Analysen und Stellungnahmen 1/2014, 2014

Will a post-2015 development framework acknowledge migration?
Anna Knoll and Niels Keijzer, in: Laczko, F., Lönnback, L.J. (eds.), 2013

Migration and the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda
International Organization for Migration, August 2013

Putting Policy Coherence for Development into Perspective: Supporting Switzerland’s Promotion of PCD in Commodities, Migration and Tax Policy
Anna Knoll, Florian Krätke, Niels Keijzer and Jorrit Oppewal, SDC, ECDPM, August 2013

Migration and Development Policies and Practices: A Mapping Study of Eleven European Countries and the European Commission
International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and ECDPM. Study commissioned and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, May 2013

European Report on Development (2013) – Post 2015: Global Action for an Inclusive and Sustainable Future
ODI, GDI/DIE and ECDPM, April 2013

Labour Migration: From Absentee to a Key Driver in a Global Development Framework?
Anna Knoll and Niels Keijzer, German Development Institute – The Current Column, April 2013

Will a post-2015 development framework acknowledge migration?
Anna Knoll, Niels Keijzer, IOM Migration Policy Practice: vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 6-10, February-March 2013

ACP-EU Cooperation on Readmission: Where does it stand and where to go?
Henrike Klavert and Jeske van Seters, ECDPM Briefing Note 33, April 2012

African Union Frameworks for Migration: current issues and questions for the future
Henrike Klavert, ECDPM Discussion Paper 108, June 2011

The revision of Article 13 on Migration of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. What’s at stake for the ACP?
Eleonora Koeb and Henrike Hohmeister, ECDPM Background Note, February 2010

Go back to top.

Latest multimedia

Anna Knoll discusses the upcoming Valletta Summit on migration
ECDPM podcast, 6 November 2015

Anna Knoll interviews David Khoudour of the OECD on the interaction between public policy, migration and development
ECDPM video interview, 22 July 2015

Go back to top.

Dossier photo – Courtesy of Paul Keller via Flickr.