Migration and Mobility: Integral Part of Sustainable Development

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    Migration and Mobility is a defining issue for development, interlinked with among others such as education, health, human rights, financing for development, disaster risk reduction, rural and urban development, conflict and peacebuilding. As one of the ‘most powerful and immediate strategies for poverty reduction’1 migration has contributed in various ways to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)2. It is also an integral part to sustainable development as currently discussed in the post- 2015 development agenda.

    The scale of migration and the remittances it generates make it a noteworthy topic for development discussions. There are some 232 million international migrants, estimated to grow by another 30 million by 20303. Remittances to developing countries have been estimated at about €300 billion4 in 2013, three times larger than global aid budgets. The pool of developing-country diaspora savings of migrants living in high-income countries are estimated to be in excess of €367 billion5.

    If well governed, migration can contribute to the human development of individual migrants and their families while promoting development opportunities both in countries of destination and origin.6 Mobility and migration can spur, for example, economic growth, job creation and act as adaptation and recovery strategy from economic and environmental shocks. However, the migration-development nexus is complex, requiring policies to address the development challenges of human mobility. Although mainstreaming migration in development cooperation holds great potential for sustainable development, international development cooperation has so far treated migration as a marginal concern.

    Maximizing the benefits of migration goes beyond development cooperation and is fundamentally an issue of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). Many of the actions needed to build enabling environments for migrants and diaspora require coherent and coordinated approaches across a variety of policy fields – both within the EU, its Member States, and in developing partner countries. 

    Read the background note here

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