Consolidated Reply- JMDI e-Discussion on Localizing the post-2015 agenda

Responses received

The full contributions of M4D Members are accessible here.

UNITAR contribution is accessible here.

Related resources

A summary of inputs from the Consultations in the Philippines included in the consolidated reply is accessible here

A summary of inputs from the Consultations in Ecuador included in the consolidated reply is accessible here

A summary of inputs from the Consultations in El Salvador included in the consolidated reply is accessible here

Introductory text

A process of reflection on the future of global development has started across regions, with the online platform hosted by the United Nations Development Group ‘World We Want 2015’ pioneering in the establishment of an inclusive dialogue with citizens, experts and policy-makers alike to shape the next development objectives which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 6 main areas of discussions have been defined, the first one being ‘Localizing the post- 2015 Development Agenda’ that seeks to promote the role of local governments and actors in shaping and implementing the next development agenda.

In this context, the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) is contributing to the global discussion on localizing the post-2015 agenda as it provides a special opportunity to let the relevance of migration and development (M&D) emerge as a key and inescapable factor in the sustainable development equation. Migration can and do contribute highly to the development of both territories and communities of origin and destination in many ways through migrants’ capitals.[1] In addition, the JMDI experience has revealed that the most sustainable and efficient M&D initiatives are the ones with a strong anchorage at the local level. Indeed, the drivers and impacts of migration are mostly felt at the local level, be it in terms of effects on the local labour market, the size and demographic of the local population, or the need for public service provision. This makes much sense given the local-to-local dimension of migration whereby migrants tend to move from one territory to another usually concentrating in the same geographical areas as migrants originating from the same home town/region. Local actors and especially local and regional governments (LRGs) are therefore at the forefront in confronting the transformation and opportunities that migration brings about.

A recent positive development shows that LRGs are more interested in stepping in migration for development projects as the potential of migration playing an enabling role for development is more and more acknowledged. The First Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development, organized by the City of Barcelona in June 2014, has given visibility and a platform for discussion to more than 30 mayors and local representatives from both developed and developing territories. In the ‘Call of Barcelona’ they have called for having a voice and role to play in deciding on migration policies at national and global level. They have stressed also the need for more integration and diversity policies as well as economic empowerment initiatives dedicated to migrants. Still fragile but relevant and legitimate, the link between the inclusion of migration in the post-2015 agenda and the localization of the latter has to be reinforced and more strongly promoted.

The JMDI thus participates in this process making use of its own resources and of existing partnerships by proposing concrete actions conducive to conceive M&D as a key contributor to Sustainable Development in two different environments:

a)     Territorial-to-Country-level consultations on localization of the post-2015 agenda conducted in three JMDI target countries: Ecuador, El Salvador and the Philippines

b)      Online consultation within the JMDI Community of Practice (M4D Net)[2]

The hereby consolidated reply includes contributions received from LRGs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and M&D practitioners from Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Germany, Spain, The Philippines and Tunisia. The main outputs from the consultations organized in Ecuador, El Salvador and the Philippines, where several hundred people have taken part in each country, have fed the overall content. UNITAR also contributed to the JMDI e-discussion by emphasizing concrete actions that LRGs can take in the field of migration to achieve the SDGs.

[1] These include migrants’ financial and entrepreneurial capital (remittances, investments, trade, savings, business creation etc.), human capital (education, training, skills and knowledge), social capital (networks, norms and values) and cultural capital (rights’ awareness, language etc.).

[2] The Migration for Development Community of Practice is a virtual community of practitioners working on or interested in the links between migration and development and interacting and sharing experiences and best practices via the M4D Net website of the JMDI.

Original query

Two questions have been asked to the M4D Net members in the first week of the e-discussion in order to grasp M&D experiences from the field related to the achievement of the MDGs at local level.

a. What has been your experience regarding the impacts of migration related projects on the MDGs at the local level?

b. Have you actively linked migration to the MDG’s in local consultations, planning and service delivery? Please provide practical examples.

To overcome identified challenges and start thinking about concrete ways to localize migration targets into the post-2015 agenda, M4D Net members have been asked the following questions on week 2:

a. What mechanisms and instruments can we develop to foster development cooperation, coordination and harmonization at the local level in the field of migration?

b. What added value do you believe local and regional governments that are active in the field of migration and development could bring to the post-2015 implementation process?

Summary of responses

What has been learned from the implementation of the M&D agenda at local level when it comes to the achievement of the MDGs?

The contributions received stressed that migration related projects contribute to the achievement of MDGs with a particular emphasize on some specific targets, depending on the local and national context. For instance, participants in the Dialogues in El Salvador, JMDI target country, have first and foremost assessed that the main driver of migration is poverty and that in that sense the pursuing of MDG 1 is fundamental. Favoring policies and measures that would allow people to have decent jobs not to force them to migrate is a fundamental demand of the Salvadorian population, whom 2.5 million people currently live and work in the U.S.

Migrant work (falling into MDG 1), access to health services (falling into MGDs 4, 5 and 6) and women empowerment (falling into MDG 3), have been the main common areas of concerns and actions at the local level in regards to migration and development. In addition, respondents have assessed that migration related projects present two specificities that impact the achievement of the MGDs: they are cross-cutting and generally focus on particular categories of migrant (youth, women, workers, refugee etc). As a matter of fact, in Costa Rica, the Joint Programme on “Youth, Employment and Migration” explicitly targets MDGs 1, 4 and 5 as it supports working migrants in accessing health services and encourages them to better use remittances to harness the improvement of health conditions among migrant communities and families (especially child and maternal health) but it also impacts MDGs 3 and 6 and to some extent MDG 8 (8.2; 8.5; 8.6). Another interesting experience has been the one of the Philippines where M&D initiatives at the local level have mainly contributed to the achievement of goals 1 and 3. However, debates have emerged concerning goal 3 because of first, inequalities in education, where girls are actually performing better than boys thus impacting goal 2, and second feminization of labour migration (60% of Filipinos migrant workers are women) that generates both positive (economic and social development) and negative (exploitation, smuggling, trafficking) impacts which have to be addressed in a comprehensive way not to diminish the potential of women migrant workers for development while protecting them.

The lack of specific targets related to migration negatively impact the achievement of the MDGs as there are no dedicated mechanisms or actors, neither measuring tools nor instruments designed to this effect. Consequently, the inclusion of migration targets into the SDGs as it is being defined for the post-2015 would meet this essential need. Indeed, dialogues on the inclusion of migration in the post-2015 agenda among the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals have already provided some inputs about how migration could be included.

The last draft version of the SDGs submitted by the Open Working Group suggests that migration will not be included as a separate goal but migration related-targets would rather be defined under several focus areas such as work, gender equality, peaceful societies, and health. In addition, targets should be disaggregated by vulnerable groups such as migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, youngsters and women. In total, 11 direct and indirect targets have been defined [1] so far and among them LRGs have a role to play in the achievement of many. For instance, when it comes to women and girls trafficking, rights of migrant workers, remittances transaction costs, social protection, health worker development, supply of qualified teachers, birth registration or disaggregated data, LRGs have the necessary competencies to influence their achievement as they are responsible for service delivery. In addition, most of the contributions, especially from Costa Rica, Ecuador and El Salvador where the current situation of minor migrants moving to the U.S through Mexico is a prominent issue, insist on the importance of vulnerable categories of migrants such as youth, but also women, elderly, refugees and asylum seekers, to be specifically targeted in a post-2015 localized agenda, as vulnerable situations are better addressed at local level. The inclusion of migration in the post-2015 agenda supported by relevant elements asserting the role to be played by LRGs in making migration work for development should be seized as the opportunity to add a local dimension to the post-2015 agenda.

Other common challenges have been identified when it comes to the impact of migration related projects on MDGs’ achievement at the local level. In Bangladesh, M&D projects targeting the MDGs are mainly implemented by the Government and eventually NGOs, while they are brought in by civil society and migrant organizations in Costa Rica, thus having no LRGs directly involved. In Tunisia and Ecuador, migration has been absent from the global development agenda aiming to achieve the MDGs, neither it has been tackled by LRGs at territorial level, even though contributors assessed that it is a key issue in the context of local development. All participants highlighted the lack of resources, capacities and mobilization of LRGs in migration related projects and apart from the Philippines, migration is rarely linked to the MDGs in local consultations, planning and service delivery. This has two main explanations: first, the achievement of the MDGs remains the prerogative of the States and second, migration needs to be further mainstreamed into local development plans for LRGs to be aware of and mobilized on human mobility issues. The current state of discussions features migration as being clustered under global partnerships (MDG 8 will be translated into an enriched SDG). A localized approach would perfectly fit into this goal as decentralized cooperation and regional and cities networks are growing trends that need to be further promoted and recognized, as embodied by the first successful and promising Mayoral Forum in Barcelona.


What are the next steps to be taken for the post-2015 agenda? 

Most of the contributions received on week 2 have been provided by the City Planning and Development Office of Naga City, the Commission of Filipinos Overseas and the JMDI Focal Point in the Philippines. Indeed, the Philippines seems comparatively quite advanced when it comes to mainstreaming migration at the local level and harnessing its impact for local development. For instance, the City of Naga has designed a 10-year Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) to localize the MDGs in governance. Thanks to the CDP three mechanisms have been set-up to make migration work for the achievement of the MDGs: 1) to establish one-stop migration resource centers that provide multiple services (health, education, work etc.) 2) to organize Overseas Filipinos associations at the local level and 3) to set up mechanisms to capture migrant investments and remittances for local development. In addition, the Philippines have hosted several Dialogues on ‘Localizing the post-2015 Development Agenda’ and the issue of migration has been raised several times as a key element to integrate and localize in the post-2015 agenda. It has also been highlighted that tailor-made instruments to strengthen the achievements made at the local level are still missing and have been identified as: mechanisms to gather qualitative and disaggregated data on migration, capacity building trainings for LRGs, adequate human and financial resources provision, templates (on ordinance/resolution including migration in LDP, MOUs/MOAs, pooling collective remittance and on operating migrants resource centers) and comprehensive documents on best practices.

Dialogues have also been held both in Ecuador and El Salvador where human mobility issues have emerged from workshop discussions. More particularly, the regional consultation that has been held in Pichincha- Ecuador, on July 2nd, as well as the one take took place in Morazan- El Salvador on July 4th, contributes to the discussion on the possible mechanisms and instruments that can be developed to foster development cooperation, coordination and harmonization at the local level in the field of migration. For instance, participants in Pichincha suggested that citizen oversight mechanisms and committees to ensure the implementation of human mobility policies and instruments strengthening local governments’ advocacy in international spaces where human mobility agendas are agreed, should be set forth. In El Salvador, they expressed the need for participatory mechanisms to involve the Diaspora into the local policy-making process and instruments, at the local/territorial level, that would guarantee migrant rights throughout the migratory cycle.

The expert contribution from UNITAR suggested five migration- related sectors where local governments and actors can concretely contribute to achieve the SDGs. These are:

1) protecting migrant workers’ rights through access to basic services and advocacy on public perception by promoting diversity;

2) enhancing labour mobility via cities and diaspora networks and the creation of partnerships to support/create business activity;

3) Combat human trafficking by initiating city-to-city cooperation, databases on trafficking perpetrators at the regional level and advocacy work between city administration;

4) Promote legal and birth registration and last but not least

5) Reduce remittances costs by 5% (ideally 2% in the post-2015 agenda). This last element has been mentioned several times in the various contributions received. Indeed, mechanisms to better capture remittances and harness their potential for development are fundamental [2]. This supposes that remittances’ costs are reduced at least to 5% and that saving and investment tools are available. The JMDI funded projects developed various mechanisms: sending remittances via internet or mobile transfer; proposing lower investment rates for migrants; providing financial literacy to migrants and their families; developing micro-credit structures dedicated to migrant investments and supporting migrant business creation at local level thanks to business coaches and help desks.

These mechanisms and instruments would support LRGs that are active in the field of migration and development and can easily be implemented at the local level as most of them are territorially based and fall into LRGs competencies. However, LRGs, as well as migrants, still have to be recognized as key actors to be involved in the post-2015 implementation process.

Contributions from Germany, the Philippines and Costa Rica have acknowledged LRGs added value to the post-2015 implementation process in the field of migration. Their assets can be resumed as follow:

1) LRGs’ proximity to their constituencies who are also MDGs’ beneficiaries. Thus, they have the ability to give them a voice. It is even truer when it comes to migrant communities as they are barely connected to national authorities but local and regional ones.

2) LRGs are in charge of public service delivery to migrants and their families. Education, health and sanitation, work, integration measures, promotion of diversity and protection of the most vulnerable, which constitute LRGs’ portfolio, are part and parcel of the current MDGs and the future SGDs. Consequently, LRGs are at the forefront of the development goals achievement including in relation to migrant population human development and society well-being and harmony.

3) Decentralized cooperation positively impacts the achievement of the MDGs/SDGs and is one of the key elements for successful M&D projects. Cities and LRGs are expressing great interest in getting involved in twin cities projects, cities’ networks and platforms.

4) LRGs can easily monitor goals’ achievement and guarantee good governance and autonomous resource mobilization when it comes to the implementation of the development goals.



All participants, be they LRGs, CSOs, migrant organizations, international M&D experts, migrants and their families or citizens, have expressed a common wish: to have migration included in a localized post-2015 agenda. Indeed, experiences across regions tend to make the case for LRGs and other M&D local actors to be more involved in policy decision-making related to migration and development. Common challenges are being faced and concrete solutions have been suggested to overcome them. If migration related targets to the SDGs, which can be divided into vulnerable categories of migrants, are likely to be integrated into the post-2015 agenda, this e-discussion makes it clear that they should be accompanied by tailor-made mechanisms and instruments making their achievement possible at the local level. In addition, LRGs should be recognized as relevant and legitimate actors to act in that sense and endorsed with the necessary competencies and resources. The post-2015 development agenda will not work for migrant and human mobility issues as a whole if not localized.

Access the consolidated reply here

[1] Direct targets related to migration: 5.2 End trafficking of women and girls ; 8.6 Rights of migrant workers ; 10.6 Orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility, through planned and managed policies ; 10.c transaction costs migrant remittances <5%

Indirect targets related to migration: 1.3 Social protection for vulnerable people; 3c. Health worker development & retention ; 4a. Supply of qualified teachers ; 4b. Expand scholarships in other countries ; 16.3 Fight organized crime ; 16.6 Provide legal identity and birth registration ; 17.5 Disaggregated data

[2] The size of remittances received by developing countries has increased by 6.3% in 2013 reaching the amount of USD 414 billion according to the World Bank. This is more than twice the amount of the international development aid. The potential of diaspora savings for financial markets has been estimated at USD 400 billion in 2011.