Growing interest in links between migration and development

Brussels, 11 December 2008: After the welcoming remarks of the CTA Director, Dr Hansjörg Neun, Klaus Rudischhauser (Director DG Development) highlighted the most recent EU activities in the field of migration and development. Cecile Riallant introduced the Joint Migration and Development Initiative as major innovation of inter-agency collaboration.

Dr Hansjörg Neun opened the 8th Brussels Development Briefing by appealing to the speakers and participants to collect and contribute ideas to better engage and cooperate with migrant groups for the International Migrants Day on 18 December. Key questions for the morning included: How far can migration promote development in ACP countries? How do remittances benefit home countries, and how structured are the efforts in the rural sector? How can diasporas become more effective partners in strengthening development?

Mr Klaus Rudischhauser warned that the current financial crisis has serious potential to reduce some of the recent achievements in the development of ACP countries, because it could largely reduce remittances, ODA and FDI.

The global food crisis further aggravates the burden on developing countries. The European Parliament approved the EU Food Facility on 4 December, which provides 1 billion Euros to developing countries to deal with soaring food prices. Further, the European Commission has taken important steps to move away from the security-driven approach, and has been very active in the field of migration last year:

  • In 2005, the Global Approach to Migration was adopted. It strives to facilitate legal migration, curb illegal migration, and better integrate migration and development policies.
  • The issue of migration and mobility of employment was introduced as one of eight priorities of the EU-Africa partnership, which was adopted in 2007 in Lisbon.
  • The Migration Information Centre opened this year in Bamako, Mali, is one example of a better cooperation and integration of migration and development.
  • A policy coherence for development conference in 2009 will focus on how to better integrate migration and development.
  • In order to support faster and better remittances, the opening of an African Remittances Institute is planned.
  • The EU wants to promote the creation of a European diaspora platform to create a more structured dialogue with diaspora communities.

Cecile Riallant, Deputy Programme Manager, presented the EU-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI).

(video in French)

The programme is and inter-agency collaboration between the UNHCR, UNFPA, ILO and IOM, and is implemented by the UNDP Brussels Office in partnership with the EC. JMDI’s main objectives are:

  • Setting up and reinforcing networks of actors working on migration and development. Ten million euros will be allocated to projects, and civil society organisations are invited to submit project proposals on remittances, migrant communities, migrant capacities and migrants rights. Organizations are not only supported with financial aid, but also via capacity building.
  • Identifying good practice in the field, and share information between practitioners and professionals. A web-based knowledge management platform brings together communities of practice.
  • Feeding into policy-making on migration and development.

Further, besides a strong attention to the capacity building component, the project aims at creating a platform for practitioners to exchange knowledge and information and learn from each other.

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