As governments gather for the first meeting of the Global Forum on
Migration and Development, the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) is calling for migration to be systematically
mainstreamed into poverty reduction strategies and for better
support to be given to diasporas wanting to contribute to the
development of their home countries.
If real progress is to be made on making migration work for
development, this and the need to reinforce the capacity of States
to map labour market trends and gaps, preparing the way for safe
and planned labour migration, would have to be addressed.
IOM sees the Global Forum to be held in Brussels on 9-12 July as
an important way to identify good practices and concrete, practical
ways forward, following on from the High Level Dialogue on
International Migration and Development held at the UN General
Assembly in September 2006.
"IOM promotes and supports global governmental dialogue on
migration and development issues," says IOM’s Director
General Brunson McKinley. "But dialogue must lead to action.
Tangible, result-oriented ways of strengthening the mutually
beneficial links between migration and development need to be
defined through dynamic partnerships between States, international
organizations, civil society and the private sector in order to
make migration a potent force for the development of both home and
Many participating countries do not have comprehensive migration
policies or the mechanisms to develop them that also protect the
human rights of migrants and further their personal development. A
key element for achieving this is linking the various stakeholders
in the migration and development fields.
Diasporas are also oft-overlooked actors in the development
equation but hold tremendous potential.
"Most migrants are willing to invest some of their savings and
their skills and expertise in the development of their home
countries. But all too often, their goodwill is squandered as they
simply do not know how to put all this to best use. If their
contribution can be harnessed better, they will not only be
effective agents for development but also crucial to the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," says
Ndioro Ndiaye, IOM Deputy Director General.
Through programmes such as Migration for Development of Africa
(MIDA), IOM has succeeded in mobilizing members of the diaspora for
the development of their home country. The establishment of
IOM-hosted dialogues between African expatriate communities and
home and destination countries have also underlined the need to
help migrants access financial institutions and micro-credit
facilities encouraging a greater flow of resources. The diaspora
dialogues have also identified investment opportunities in home
countries leading to a more productive use of remittances.
Similar migration for development programmes and approaches
should be integrated into comprehensive migration policies to
mitigate the potentially crippling impact of the brain drain on
developing countries and promote circular migration.
Supported by IOM worldwide, regional inter-governmental
migration dialogues can also become powerful tools to promote
greater policy and programmatic coherence.
In Asia, labour ministers from sending countries established the
Colombo process to unlock the development potential of overseas
IOM has provided its expertise to the Forum organizers and many
participating States, either individually or through its
chairmanship of the ten-agency Global Migration Group (GMG) during
the first half of 2007.
IOM has also responded positively to discussing requests of
several governments for technical assistance and capacity building
as part of a parallel marketplace, where governments that have
identified needs for assistance and those who are offering services
in support can foster concrete outcomes and partnerships.
IOM stands ready to engage with States in the follow up
activities to the first meeting of the Global Forum, to provide
support to the Philippine government as the next host, and to all
States engaged in mapping out its future.