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Global Experts Meeting on Migration and Post-2015 Development Agenda

Migration remains one of the means for individuals to seek freedom of choice and opportunity. It also provides avenues to better livelihood options, overcome poverty, escape conflicts, adapt to economic and environmental challenges and strive for a more prosperous future for the migrants and their families. Migration is first and foremost about people, their dignity, well-being, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the cumulative outcome of individual endeavours.

Globally, migrants continue to contribute to economic and social development in origin and destination countries. Migrants also contribute by sending remittances, in various forms, knowledge, technology, life experience as well as fill critical gaps in labour markets, stimulate trade and investments and provide and consume goods and services, enrich cultures and promote interactions and exchange of ideas. Evidences suggest that migration also contributed to the achievements of the MDGs – inter alia reducing poverty by increasing household incomes and investment in human capital, often leading to improved health and educational outcomes. Migration, if not governed properly, may also have adverse impacts, both for the countries and for migrants themselves: e.g. ‘brain drain’ and ‘brain waste’; discrimination and xenophobia against migrants; physical and mental health distress; and human trafficking and abusive migrant smuggling.

There is global recognition that migration is a driver and enabler for sustainable development and that migrants are agents of development. The Dhaka Meeting builds on the growing convergence of opinion – among governments, international organizations and civil society – that migration and migrants are integral components of development which has been reiterated in the deliberations and outcomes of a number of key global events[1] so far. Through these, the States and other stakeholders have been calling on the Leaders to integrate migration in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. These are to feed into the evolving deliberations within the Open-ended Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG-SDGs).

In view of the ongoing discussions within the OWG-SDGs and elsewhere, there is a strong need to fully secure migration and all its relevant aspects within the emerging framework of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. In order to do so, a number of specific targets and indicators would need to be fully developed and advanced within the post-2015 global discourses by the UN Member States in the OWG. The recommendations may also be considered at both the national and other international levels when formulating positions with regards to the Post-2015 process. They may also be taken into consideration to substantiate the discussions at the upcoming Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) (Stockholm, May 2014) and in the work plan of the incoming GFMD Chair, Turkey.

The Global Experts Meeting on Migration and the Post-2015 Development Agenda makes the following recommendations, and also that these recommendations be placed appropriately before the United Nations, including at the OWG-SDGs through dedicated sections under relevant Focus Areas, and other relevant platforms:

Overarching recommendations:


  1. Ensure that migration is recognized as a cross-cutting enabler for sustainable development and migrants as agents of development.
  1. Ensure that the positive contributions of migrants to societies of origin, transit and destination are acknowledged and enhanced.
  1. Ensure that migrants are considered as subjects of human development and that their human rights, particularly those of women and girls, regardless of their status, are protected, respected and fulfilled with access to justice.
  1. Strengthen migration governance to achieve a balanced, cooperative and equitable system that is safe, fair, well-governed and more beneficial for all, that is culturally responsive, that promotes the participation of all migrants in decision-making processes that concern them.
  2. Eliminate acts, manifestations and expressions of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against migrants and their families.
  3. Assist in the inter-sectoral collaboration of policymakers and ensure they have access to up-to-date, relevant, precise information, disaggregated by sex, age, nationality and migrant status, regarding migration flows and stocks and the situation of migrants in order to ensure coherent policy development, and to assist the monitoring and evaluation of policy outcomes.

Thematic Recommendations


Promote integration of migration[2] into national and sectoral development policies[3] of origin, transit and destination countries; and recognize well-being, dignity and safety of migrants and their families in the design and implementation of national development policies. The following sectoral policies would need to be considered:



–          Allow unhindered access to adequate, affordable, accessible and quality healthcare, including mental healthcare, for all migrants and members of their families[4],; and eliminate discriminatory practices and barriers[5].

o   Ensure the development of national health legislations, policies, strategies and plans, to promote sustainable universal health coverage and its implementation for all, including poor and vulnerable migrants.

–          Provide all poor and vulnerable migrants access to social security schemes, including healthcare.


–          Ensure equitable and unhindered access to quality primary and secondary education at all levels for all[6], including migrant girls and boys, youth and for return migrants;

o   Promote  equal access to technical and vocational training, including skills development,

o Ensure recognition of skills, academic and professional qualifications and harmonisation of standards – as essential for social integration and economic future of migrants.

–          Achieve recognized and measurable learning outcomes and relevant data, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life-social-work skills for all migrants.

–          Ensure that education policies take into consideration special requirements of vulnerable groups, including migrants, like language training; and also facilitate their social and economic integration through inter alia the recognition of qualifications.

Employment and Decent Work for all

–                  Promote full and productive employment and decent jobs in both countries of destination and origin and non-discrimination in the work place.

–          Protect the rights of migrant workers, in compliance with international human rights norms and labour standards.

–                  Ensure that implementation of the decent work agenda keeps in mind the rights, needs and interests of migrant workers, taking into account national circumstances and needs.

   Promote the implementation of nationally-appropriate social protection measures, including floors, with focus on the most marginalised.

–             Lower the costs of accessing employment for migrant workers.

–            Protect migrants against all forms of discrimination and address labour exploitation and abuse, especially low-skilled workers, female migrant workers and children.

–     Facilitate collaborative arrangements for access to social security benefits as well as ensure migrants’ social protection and portability of social security benefits[7].

Economic Growth/Development


–          Frame economic policies taking into account impacts of migration in reducing poverty as also addressing inequality, as may be determined nationally, through inclusive governance.


–          Promote equality of economic opportunity for all, including women and young migrants, including their access to all productive assets and financial services towards attaining financial literacy, as may be determined nationally.


–          Promote financial inclusion of migrants and provide incentives to trade with, and to save and invest in origin and destination countries and promotes a strategy to enable, engage and empower migrant diaspora and their enterpreneurship.

–          Ensure governance of migration to promote matching of skills and jobs as well as labour supply and demand between countries, including through creating regular channels for migration.

–          Promote an increase in the share of migrants who are working at the skill level that is most relevant to their education and training to facilitate their integration in the local labour force and their reintegration in the labour market of the country of origin.

–          Reduce the overall cost in migration process, both direct and indirect, including costs of:

o   remittances: promote regular and beneficial engagement of all stakeholders in establishing cost-effective channels of remittance and also address irregular channels;

o   recruitment: ensuring ethical, transparent, responsible engagement of intermediaries at both ends through establishing effective governmental regulatory monitoring frameworks;

 Means of Implementation/Global Partnerships 

–          Reinforce political will among countries to effectively realise means.

–          Facilitate migrants’ contribution to development in countries of origin and destination, including by reducing the transfer costs of remittances and mitigating brain drain through facilitating mobilitiy of talents.

–          Deepen work within regional cooperative mechanisms on migration towards facilitating easier mobility of people, especially migrant workers.

–          Ensure the development of policies and arrangements between countries with regards to effective regulation of labour recruitment agencies.

–          Ensure that migration is safe and fair and aligned with human rights standards, and ensure that all bilateral and multilateral agreements on migration include human rights safeguards.

–          Strengthen national capacities, including through international technical and financial assistance, for equitable, effective, and human rights-based governance of migration and human mobility and re-integration of return migrants.

–          Strengthen policy coherence at all levels to achieve safe, orderly, regular and well-governed migration.

–          Deepen cooperation among origin, transit and destination countries and other stakeholders to ensure that migration contributes to human rights-based, equitable and sustainable development.


[1] The key global events include: Global Forum on Migration and Development (since 2007) which elaborates the inter-linkages between migration and development; the Global Thematic Consultation on Population Dynamics that led to the adoption of Dhaka Declaration (March 2013); the Report[1] by the UN Secretary General “A life of dignity for all: accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015” (September 2013); the advocacy efforts of the Global Migration Group for a more prominent role of migration in the development agenda; and the Declaration of the Second UN High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (October 2013) which called for integrating migration in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

[2] e.g. human rights, health, education, productive employment and decent work, rural and urban development, disaster risk reduction

[3] particularly (national) poverty reduction strategies, United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs), National Adaptation Plans of Action and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda

[4]Ref. Declaration of the Second UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (Oct. 2013)

[5] e.g. detention or deportation based on migrants’ health conditions

[6]Ref. Declaration of the Second UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (Oct. 2013)

[7]This bullet would also be applicable to section on Health e.g. health insurance.

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