IOM’s GMDAC, European Commission to Create Big Data for Migration Alliance


Berlin – The European Commission Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography (KCMD) and IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) are planning to create a Big Data for Migration Alliance (BD4M) to address the challenges of having and exploiting migration data and to increase investments into data innovation in the field of migration.

The BD4M aims to advance discussions on ways to harness the potential of new data sources or “big data,” such as social media user data, for migration analysis and to provide decision-makers easy access to use up-to-date data in policymaking.

The BD4M would do so by:
a) Promoting sharing of knowledge on data innovation in the field of migration;
b) Providing technical support to local and national administrations interested in using new data sources; and
c) Testing new data applications for specific policy needs.

The need to utilize big data was stressed in an expert workshop co-organized by the KCMD and GMDAC at the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy on 30 November 2017.

The international community often talks about a lack of migration data. In fact, an abundance of data that is relevant for migration is being produced in real time, but it is yet to be fully exploited by national statistical offices and policymakers.

Traditional data on migration have their limitations, particularly in terms of costs, coverage and timeliness. Meanwhile, most data today are not collected by national statistical offices but by private companies or international agencies. The opportunities offered by new data sources should not be ignored.

The idea of the mission is to build an alliance to facilitate dialogue and partnerships at all levels. IOM’s GMDAC and KCMD are now soliciting participation in BD4M from representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, national statistical offices, academia, and the private sector interested in contributing, in various capacities, to this mission.

For more information, please see the new Data Bulletin issue on big data and migration, and visit the KCMD-IOM workshop website.

For further information please contact Marzia Rango, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre,
Michele Vespe, European Commission, Joint Research Centre,