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Addis Ababa Action Agenda (4A): On harnessing migration for financing development, we are almost there!

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Yesterday the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (4A) was adopted at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD). The 4A recognizes the positive contribution of migrants, half of whom are women, to inclusive growth and sustainable development and notes that it must be addressed in a coherent, comprehensive and balanced manner. To this effect, the 4A expresses a commitment to cooperate internationally to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration with full respect for human rights; to put an end to human trafficking; to increase the number of scholarships available to students in developing countries and ensure that migrant and refugee children are reached by quality education; to increase cooperation on access to and portability of earned benefits, recognition of qualifications and skills, lowering the costs of recruitment (including by combatting unscrupulous recruiters), and to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of status; and to implement social communication strategies to combat xenophobia, facilitate social integration and protect human rights.
Particular attention is given to remittances which are recognized as meeting the needs of recipient households, and not to be equated with FDI, ODA or other public sources of FfD. The 4A expresses a commitment to ensure adequate and affordable financial services available to migrants and their families, promote financial inclusion and literacy; to reduce transaction costs to less than 3%, with no corridor with higher than 5%; to address obstacles to flows of remittances including banks withdrawing services, obstacles to non-bank remittance service providers and mitigating the potential impact of the anti-money laundering and the combating financing of terrorism standard on access to financial services; to promote cheaper, faster and safer transfer, including by promoting competition, transparency and the use of new technology; and to improving data collection.
In order to ensure that migrants are not left behind, and to improve decision-making, the document further highlights the importance of disaggregated data by migratory status.
From a financing point of view, these commitments go a long way on the $100 billion idea we put forward at a side event last week (see blog and photo). A rather conspicuous omission is mobilization of diaspora savings via diaspora bonds, a $50 billion potential annually, which was explicitly mentioned in the G20 Cannes Summit Final Declaration and Bill Gates Report to G20 Leaders. From the view point of migration and development, the Action Agenda could have included more explicit commitments to expanding regular channels of migration.
The Post-2015 outcome document also marks significant progress in terms of integrating migration in the development agenda. Its continued emphasis on “leaving no one behind” is backed up with specific reference to migrants and people in areas affected by conflict and complex humanitarian emergencies among vulnerable sections of the population in need of empowerment and whose needs are reflected in the goals and targets. It further expresses a commitment to ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination on grounds of migratory status.
Most importantly, the Sustainable Development Goals of the Post-2015 Development Agenda include explicit targets to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration, including through well-managed migration policies (10.7); end human trafficking (5.2; 8.7; and 16.2); promote decent labor conditions for migrant workers including women migrants (8.8), reduce costs of remittances (10.c); and disaggregate reporting based on migratory status (17.18).
Still, the commitments in the 4A are more concrete than those found in the current draft of the Post-2015 outcome document. The explicit recognition of the positive contribution of migrants to inclusive growth and sustainable development in the former could well serve as an inspiration for the drafters of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The current draft recognizes migration as multi-dimensional reality of major relevance for development, but it could echo the acknowledgement made in the Declaration from the High-level Dialogue on Migration and Development that migration contributed to the MDGs and is a key factor for sustainable development.
Side event at FFD3, Addis Ababa: (From left to right) Messrs. Ratha, Gerber, (Ms.) Puri, Mohieldin, Pursey, Khoudour, Pezzini (Photo: Sonia Plaza)


Dilip Ratha

Lead Economist and Economic Adviser to the Vice President of Operations, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, World Bank

Justin MacDermott

Adviser to the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration

Sonia Plaza

Senior Economist, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice, World Bank

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