Policy Documents

IOM produces policy-oriented documents across the migration management spectrum, paying particular attention to emerging policy issues.

The following is a selection of IOM’s policy-oriented documents, which include policy papers prepared for IOM Council Sessions:

  • Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation and Environmental Migration. This paper analyzes efforts to support vulnerable and mobile communities affected by environmental hazards through disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) activities conducive to sustainable development. It argues that migration and environmental migration in particular are cross-cutting issues that – in order to be effectively managed – need to be fully recognized and mainstreamed into sustainable development strategies at all levels and in DRR and CCA strategic frameworks.
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  • Migration and Social Change. Migration leads to changes of social structures, identities, attitudes, norms and practices in both home and host societies. The dynamics of increasing socio-cultural connections across geopolitical borders which migrants establish and maintain – a phenomenon known as transnationalism – need to be taken into account in designing effective migration policies. This paper outlines policy options which strengthen social cohesion in both home and host countries and allow for greater coherence and effectiveness through enhanced cooperation between multiple stakeholders such as governments, civil society and private sector partners.
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  • Human Rights and Migration. On a daily basis, migrants around the world suffer gross violations of their human rights. Governments have a duty to ensure that the human rights of migrants are respected and integrated in policies all along the migration cycle, from pre-departure to return, and regardless of an individual’s migratory status. This paper presents legal frameworks, institutions and mechanisms required for the effective implementation of human rights in a migration context. It also draws attention to the specific protection needs of trafficked persons and migrant workers subject to exploitation.
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  • Challenges of Irregular Migration: Addressing Mixed Migration Flows. Involving people with different profiles and needs who are on the move for a variety of reasons, mixed migration flows need to be addressed through comprehensive but differentiated policy responses. This paper looks at the whole “migratory life-cycle” of mixed flows from their genesis in the countries of origin to the post-arrival stage and considers long term options to create viable alternatives to irregular migration.
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  • Return Migration: Challenges and Opportunities. Return migration can be one of the most challenging aspects of migration management. A comprehensive approach to return migration which factors in the possibility of return into policy and programmatic activities at each stage of the migration process. In this context, Assisted Voluntary Return is the strategy which can best address individual needs of returnees and facilitate cooperative approaches among involved countries while respecting the rights and dignity of returnees. This paper outlines possible policy measures to assist returnees at all stages of the process, to support the successful reintegration of migrants in their home communities, and to strengthen the links between return migration and development.
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  • Migration Management in the Evolving Global Economy. Globalization is changing national economies, but also stimulates migration and leads to the emergence of new migration patterns. Policymakers in both developed and developing countries face important challenges in devising comprehensive migration management strategies needed to maximize the potential benefits flowing from exchanges of skills and talents in a globally interconnected economy. This paper examines key policy issues and challenges in migration management and highlights the benefits of inter-State cooperation and the role of the private sector and civil society in migration management.
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  • Migration and the Environment. Climate change and environmental degradation are playing an increasingly important role in inducing the movement of people. Sound migration management is needed to enhance the potential of migration to help people adapt to a changing environment while minimizing the negative repercussions of environmental migration for migrants and communities. This paper outlines some of the possible scenarios in which environmental change, migration and human security may interact with one another. It also presents principles of effective environmental migration management and highlights possible policy responses, including links with sustainable development.
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  • Partnerships in Migration – Engaging Business and Civil Society. The benefits of multi-stakeholder partnerships, including civil society and the private sector, in countries of origin, transit and destination are widely recognized. This paper takes stock of numerous examples of policy dialogue and partnerships with non-governmental stakeholders aiming to strengthen the positive impact of migration on development.
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  • Policy Approaches to Migration and Development. Interest in the relationship between migration and development is keen. Both the migration and development communities are seeking to know whether migration fosters or impedes development, whether development itself can cause the volume of migration to either increase or decrease, and, perhaps most important, how to ensure that migration is a positive force for development.  This paper briefly outlines possible measures to minimize potential negative effects of migration and to harness the benefits of migration for development purposes, most notably with regard to financial and non-financial contributions of diasporas and migrants, and the circulation of skills.
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  • Towards Policy Coherence on Migration. International attention is increasingly focused on the opportunities of migration - for national and international growth, development and stability - if effectively managed.  While the need for policy coherence is relevant to most disciplines, it is particularly acute for migration in view of the multidisciplinary and transnational character of migration. This paper explores policy coherence in several spheres, including within governments, between states, among other stakeholders - such as international organizations, the private business sector, trade-unions and non-governmental organizations - and across migration and related policy domains.
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  • Valuing Migration: Costs, Benefits, Opportunities, and Challenges. How can migration be managed effectively to enhance its benefits and reduce its costs? Which forms of migration are desirable, and should be facilitated and under what circumstances? Which forms are undesirable and need to be rechannelled? Just as the causes of international migration are complex, so too are the effects of these movements. Their impacts cannot be characterized as solely positive or negative. This paper, which draws on IOM's publication World Migration Report 2005, outlines issues for consideration in three key dimensions - (i) human, (ii) economic, (iii) social and cultural - and one major strategic concern - migration management.
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