Integrating Migration into Development Portfolios Carries Both Risks and Rewards
WASHINGTON — Spikes in irregular migration have prompted policymakers in the European Union, United States and elsewhere to look beyond border management for ways to address the underlying factors that drive movement. From the 3.2 billion euros pledged for the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to the U.S. decision to commit $750 million for Central America through the Alliance for Prosperity, policymakers are thinking about how they can incorporate migration into development spending and vice versa.
While greater collaboration between development and migration-management actors carries clear benefits, a new Migration Policy Institute policy brief makes clear this coordination comes with risks as well.
Development agencies often have years of experience cultivating partnerships with actors in key countries of origin or transit—expertise from which migration-management actors stand to benefit. But tying development assistance too closely to sensitive migration policies, such as agreements to return unauthorized migrants, risks undermining longstanding relationships and further destabilizing already fragile regions.
In Mind the Gap: Bringing Migration into Development Partnerships and Vice Versa, authors Kate Hooper and Kathleen Newland outline where cooperation can add value, including addressing barriers to economic growth, building resilience in migrant-origin and transit countries, investing in reintegration services and facilitating skilled migration. They also sketch how differing goals and approaches at the heart of the development and migration-management fields can be reconciled.
The brief is the fourth in a series, “Towards the Global Compact for Migration: A Development Perspective,” that results from a partnership between MPI and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The series aims to provide evidence and policy ideas to the negotiations for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
A fifth brief that examines one of the most contentious actions that states can undertake to fulfill their migration-management responsibilities—the return of migrants who have no legal right to stay in a country—will be published in the next few weeks.
Briefs in the series are collected here: www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/international-program/global-compact-migration.
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The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at local, national and international levels.