Understanding Global   
Development Challenges

"Moving upstream the “relevant” migration frontier. Strategic priorities to turn the migration challenge into a development opportunity"

Laura Frigenti* and Furio C. Rosati**

Migration is one of the most pressing issues on the international political agenda. Despite its current immediate emergency, however, migration is the result of long-term factors and very likely to last for many decades ahead. This calls for a new and more integrated approach to international migration, deeply rooted in sound empirical evidence of the complex dynamics driving people global mobility and emphasizing the key role of countries of origin as the centre of gravity of current and future migration policies and interventions to turn the migration challenge into a development opportunity for both origin and destination economies.

Migration is one of the most pressing issues on the international political agenda. The unprecedentedly large influx of migrants in Europe witnessed in recent months, together with the political tensions within the EU that has accompanied it, underscore the urgent need for a sustainable EU migration strategy. This need is even more pronounced looking beyond the immediate migration emergency, as migration towards Europe is a phenomenon, which is likely to be long-term in nature, with profound consequences for the future European societies and economies. Indeed, many reasons indicate that people geographical mobility is and will continue to be on the rise in the coming years: regional imbalances in demographic trends, rising income inequality between countries, climate change, but also better communication as well as lower transportation costs, will further boost international migration in the next decades.

In this framework, a new and more rational approach is needed to avoid that emotional reactions end up jeopardizing the undisputable long-run benefits of international labor mobility. To this end the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)  and the Italian Centre for International Development (ICID)  have developed the report “Towards sustainable migration. Interventions in countries of origin”, paving the way to an innovative and integrated approach to the migration challenge.
The first ingredient of this innovative approach is a deep and solid knowledge of the complex dynamics lying behind the observed migration flows, which in turn requires the collection and analysis of sound empirical evidence. Recent estimates suggest indeed that the stock of international migrants around the world (i.e. persons living in a country different from the one they were born into) has grown by about 91 million people since the early 1990s, reaching an overall stock of about 244 million migrants in 2015 (Table 1).  Beyond this global picture, international migration features a strong regional dimension. Contrary to popular conception, most migration occurs indeed within regions: about half of all African international migrants do still live in Africa, and in Western Africa in particular more than 70 per cent of emigration took place within the same sub-region[1]

In line with the Migration Compact – the recent non-paper produced by the Italian Government  - the AICS-ICID Report draws the attention on the crucial need to shift the frontier of migration policies and interventions from within the borders of the destination countries to a broader space of intervention also including the countries of origin, as part of a systematic and long-term response to the migration challenge and the development factors driving it. Only by considering the forces making people move across the borders it will be possible to manage migrant flows in a sustainable way.
In this perspective, the Report identifies 7 strategic priorities, which have been selected after a thorough and comprehensive analysis of a wide array of policies experienced in selected countries of origin for achieving sustainable migration.  These priorities (Table 2) share the goal of moving the relevant “frontier” for migration to the countries of origin, combined with the need of designing a coordinated set of actions able to ensure that migrants end up moving as a result of free choice and reach their destination country well-prepared for the labour market and the cultural challenge expecting them. The evidence shows indeed that in many countries of origin the introduction of active labour market policies (in particular those encouraging entrepreneurship and human capital development) have actually helped expanding local employment opportunities for prospective migrants, in turn making migration a choice rather than a necessity. At the same time, local investment in education and training can significantly increase the degree of employability of prospective migrants and their matching with the technical and professional skills required in the destination countries. The shift towards the countries of origin also emphasizes the crucial role of the diasporas which, if properly engaged, may represent not only an ideal cultural link between origin and host countries, but also a development opportunity for the countries of origin.
Despite the relevance of the policy experiences collected in this Report, available evidence in the countries of origin is still limited and highly fragmented and calls for a renewed and more structured approach, which also emphasizes the crucial role of impact evaluation which appears to be almost inexistent in this area. Also in this respect, the AICS-ICID Report represents the first step of a new strategy, thereby witnessing the primary role Italy can play to make the migration challenge sustainable.


* AICS - Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

** ICID & University of Rome "Tor Vergata".

[1] Dilip Ratha, Sanket Mohapatra, Caglar Ozden, Sonia Plaza, William Shaw, Abede Shimeles, Leveraging Migration for Africa: Remittances, Skills, and Investments, African Development Bank and the World Bank..
 

 

"Moving upstream the “relevant” migration frontier. Strategic priorities to turn the migration challenge into a development opportunity"

Laura Frigenti* and Furio C. Rosati**

Migration is one of the most pressing issues on the international political agenda. Despite its current immediate emergency, however, migration is the result of long-term factors and very likely to last for many decades ahead. This calls for a new and more integrated approach to international migration, deeply rooted in sound empirical evidence of the complex dynamics driving people global mobility and emphasizing the key role of countries of origin as the centre of gravity of current and future migration policies and interventions to turn the migration challenge into a development opportunity for both origin and destination economies.

What's new

The impact of migration on Europe - ICID joins the Center for Strategic International Studies to talk about a sustainable approach to migration

On Friday, October 13, ICID's director, Furio Rosati joined the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in a public panel about the impact of migration on Europe.

Report

"Towards sustainable migration. Interventions in countries of origin". If proactively and effectively managed, the migration challenge can be transformed into an opportunity both for Europe and for origin countries.