About Us

Welcome to the global hub on migration and development (M&D), the M4D Net, which brings together over 4800 migration practitioners and policy makers from around the world. Here, members can exchange information, ideas, develop skills and consolidate partnerships in relation to their efforts to harness the development potential of migration and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Join us here.

Click on the questions below to know more.

What does the M4D Net do?

Once you create your profile the network is at your disposal!

Want to meet and connect with others for inspiration or building partnerships? Search for members and use our private chat function. If you like discussions and learning from others, join our e-discussions or start up your own discussion on the forum and see what members think! Do you want to understand more on migration and development? You can see all the tailored resources we developed under M4D resources and browse in our M4D Library. Are you developing a training programme on migration and development or want to really enhance your capacities? We have training materials, toolkits and e-learning courses that can help you. Are you building an M&D project and want to see what other projects are out there and what they have learnt? Check out our project database. You can also share your own projects as well as disseminate your reports, publications, blogs and more – we always welcome new content and ideas. Finally, you can stay up to date on the M&D world or promote your own events in the What’s New? section.

The more you use and feed into the M4D Net, the more we are able to take your voice and experience and feed this into global dialogues such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development and the Global Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development.

What are the linkages between migration and development?

The positive contribution of migrants and migration to development has now been recognised in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and many studies show that migration boosts global productivity overall. This is based on the traditional understanding that migrants possess capitals and that policies therefore need to focus on how to build on these to promote development. These capitals are social, economic, human and cultural – ranging from the networks they build and the money they send home to the skills, manpower, values and cultural traits they bring.

However, the benefit of migration should not be seen from only the perspective of what migrants themselves can bring. While this is a crucial element, the relationship between migration and development is much more complex.  Indeed, people’s resources, aspirations, motivations and opportunities to migrate also depend on the socio-economic, political and developmental contexts of where they live, where they move to and the places they go through to get there. A lack of development, economic opportunities, climate change,  and conflict and insecurity can all affect migration dynamics. The political, social and economic processes of potential destination countries will also determine how, where and when migration occurs. Prospects of employment, the perceived advantages of migrating, existing social networks, political regimes in place and many other factors will influence migrants’ decisions.

Indeed, migration affects and is affected by larger social, cultural, political and economic structures and thus is a multi-faceted, non-linear and complex phenomenon that affects us all. Yet with the promising launch of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals which include supporting the safe, regular and orderly migration for the benefit of all, also came a very ‘reactive’ response to the large-scale migration flows that arose over the last few years due to natural disasters or conflicts such as those in Syria or South Sudan. This can be seen by the increasingly restrictive migratory laws being imposed and tendency to link development aid efforts in countries of origin with a view to reducing migration. All of this has given rise to increasing anti-migrant sentiment and xenophobia manifesting itself in anti-migrant policies and actions that perpetuate stereotypes, endanger migrants and essentially deny countries the contributions that migrants and migration could potentially make.

Indeed, the more we restrict migrants’ rights and access to essential services, the more we bolster the systemic disadvantages and barriers that migrants already face and which inhibit their ability to pull themselves out of poverty, support their families and reach their full potential as integral members of a cohesive and developing society. Unhealthy migrants cannot participate in and contribute to society; irregular migrants cannot access decent work; uneducated migrants cannot reach their own individual development potential; global labour demand and supply cannot be met without safe, orderly and regular migration; migrants who are discriminated against or are subject to racism or hate crime stay marginalised and are left behind.

If we are to achieve all 17 SDGs and truly ensure that ‘no one is left behind’, we must therefore understand how all of these governance areas are interrelated, affect and are affected by migration. This necessitates a ‘whole-of-government’ approach which implies coordination across all government sectors for the development of policies that are aligned with and respond to the effects of migration and the needs of migrants. To this end, we have been promoting a new approach to migration governance that aims to ensure policy coherence in migration and development by ‘mainstreaming’ migration into local and national policy planning.

Migration and development: recent milestones

From the first UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in 2006 to the inclusion of migration in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, the development potential of migration has increasingly become fully recognised and embedded in the work of the international community. Click on some of the main landmark events in the timeline below to understand more and see where our programmes have played a role.

Where do we come from?

The new M4D Net reflects the convergence of two global programmes that have been working on migration and development since 2008 into what is now called the Joint IOM-UNDP Global Programme on Policy Coherence in Migration and Development.

We began our work and launched the M4D Net back in 2008 with the UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), led by UNDP in partnership with six other UN agencies including IOM, which reflected on and implemented targeted initiatives that can empower migrants as development actors at the local level. Then, in 2011, understanding that the development impact of migration in communities can be bolstered when a national framework is put into place whereby migration is considered within national development priorities, the IOM-UNDP Programme on Mainstreaming Migration into National Development Strategies was launched.

Building on the experience and tools of both of these programmes, we are now moving towards a broader and all-encompassing approach to migration governance that strives to understand the overall political framework in which migration takes place in any given territory or country and how this can be conducive to or undermine the potential of migration for development. This necessitates considering how migration affects and is affected by all governance areas from health to education and from housing to access to justice. This is therefore known as a ‘whole-of-government’ approach which aims to ensure cross-sectoral policy coherence.

For more information, see the ‘What we do’ section.