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Migration and post-2015 development goals

Dilip Ratha's picture

On the eve of the international migrants day, many people are debating how migration might feature in the post-2015 development goals. There is no doubt that migration - international and internal - affects several of the current MDGs: poverty, education, health of children and mothers, environment, gender, and also several elements of a global public good such a role in financial and natural crisis. Migration directly impacts the migrants, their families and their employers, and also impacts development indirectly. Development in turn impacts migration. There is no doubt that migration is a very important driver of development. And yet, since it directly challenges national identity and sovereignty, it is not easy to arrive at a consensus on specific migration targets.

We discussed this topic in a short session last week at the KNOMAD global experts meeting in Washington. We discussed whether, instead of numerical targets, the world might strive for a set of minimum rights for migrants. The experience with the ratification of the UN declaration of migrant rights has not been great in the past, and more work is needed on how specific rights impact specific development outcomes. We also discussed whether the P2015 DGs might include some language recognizing the important role of migration in global development. However, more specific numerical targets are necessary for making a real impact. Can we come up with numerical targets relating to internal and international migration? How about reducing remittance costs? Reducing visa fees, passport fees, and recruitment fees? Increasing the share of migrants in the population (to stop the fall in population and increase economic growth)? A target level of development funding raised via diaspora bonds? Or a unilateral oath such as "Our country will treat immigrants the same way as we expect our migrants to be treated in other countries"?