A New Global Partnership for Development: Factoring in the Contribution of Migration

Elaine McGregor, Melissa Siegel, Nora Ragab, Teressa Juzwiak

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


Part A of this report provides a systematic update of the evidence base regarding migration’s relevance to and impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In doing so, it considers the role of migration as an enabler of development through a number of different channels – monetary and social remittances, the act of migrating and the impacts on those left behind. The evidence base for internal migration is often more robust and plentiful than for international migration and thus, where relevant, the impacts of internal migration on development are also considered. A brief synopsis of the findings per goal is listed below. –– Poverty: The impacts of migration on poverty are complex, contextspecific and dynamic. Nevertheless, it is relatively undisputed that migration can help people out of poverty through different channels – primarily through remittances, the highly skilled, the diaspora and the very act of moving. –– Education: Migration can affect education and human capital formation in several ways. The prospect of migration can be an incentive to achieve either more or less education, and the effects of migration on the educational attainment of children left behind can be either positive or negative. Broadly speaking, remittances are associated with positive educational outcomes, while having an absent parent can have negative impacts. The extent to which migration influences educational goals relates very much to contextual factors. –– Gender: In general, there are two major links between migration and female empowerment – the process of migration can itself be transformative, and migration can lead to challenging of gender norms. In general, in how far female migrants can benefit from migration seems influenced by the social, economic and cultural context in both the country of origin and the country of destination. While a favourable environment that helps to foster incorporation might lead to changing gender roles in the long run, experiences of discrimination and lack of integration can hinder them. –– Child mortality and maternal health: Migration is often linked to health outcomes through monetary transfers and social remittances. Monetary remittances can increase access to health services, and social remittances can improve health through transfer of norms and values relating to hygiene, preventative health care and so forth. Theoretically, the very act of moving – both internally and internationally – can also be beneficial to reducing child mortality and improving maternal health (and other more general health indicators) if it enables women more access to better-quality health services. Conversely, however, it can have negative impacts on children left behind. Brain drain is also an important point of discussion in the debate on the relationship between migration and health, although it is clear that a more nuanced debate focusing less on the negative implications is emerging. –– Communicable diseases: With increased globalization and mobility, individuals are increasingly connected. This increases the challenges associated with the management and control of public health, particularly regarding infectious diseases. Although much of the literature focuses on HIV/AIDS, the spread of other infectious diseases (i.e. hepatitis, tuberculosis, malaria, Chagas disease) has been associated with migration patterns. –– Environment: The relationship between migration and environmental sustainability is ambiguous, although since the 1990s it has been receiving increasing attention from researchers. It is generally assumed that environmental change will increase migration, particularly from those areas most at risk of climate-related shocks such as drought, desertification or flooding, although the empirical evidence does not currently support this. At the same time, migration can be a factor impacting the environment although less is known about this. Part B takes the debate a step further by first presenting argumentation for why migration is important and why mobility should be a component of the post-2015 development agenda. Following this, two ways in which migration could be incorporated in the post-2015 development agenda are considered: (1) situating migration alongside other “enablers” of migration such as trade in a reformulated version of MDG 8 on global partnerships; and (2) through the inclusion of migration-related indicators as a cross-cutting theme in the new development goals.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGeneva
PublisherInternational Organization for Migration
Number of pages84
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

SeriesIOM Migration Research Series

JEL classifications

  • f22 - International Migration


  • development
  • education
  • gender
  • migration

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