Leave No Migrant Behind: The 2030 Agenda and Data Disaggregation

"Leave No Migrant Behind: The 2030 Agenda and Data Disaggregation" provides user-centric guidance on disaggregation of SDG indicators by migratory status. In order to leave no one behind, migrants must be considered across efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Meanwhile, migrants are also key actors in sustainable development. Migrants around the world make vital contributions to help progress the SDGs, whether these focus on offering high-quality health care, boosting household income or increasing productivity in destination economies.

It is aimed at practitioners across governments, international organizations or other actors who work with migration and/or SDG data. The guide is intended to help practitioners at any stage of the disaggregation process – whether it is learning about the topic for the first time, choosing where to place and how to use available resources for disaggregation, or seeking to communicate disaggregated data better. 

Table of contents: 

Leave No One Behind (LNOB) and migration data

  • This guide

Section 2. Disaggregation: The basics

  • Why disaggregate?
  • How to disaggregate?
  • Common challenges and opportunities

Section 3. Disaggregation: By goal

  • Getting started
  • SDG 1. No poverty
  • SDG 2. No hunger
  • SDG 3. Good health and well-being
  • SDG 4. Quality education
  • SDG 5. Gender equality
  • SDG 8. Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 10. Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 11. Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG 16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

Section 4. Conclusion



End poverty in all its forms everywhere


Boosting migration’s poverty-reduction effects. Through knowledge and skills transfer, remittances and more, migration can be a significant poverty-reduction tool for migrants and their families, and can make significant contributions to development efforts in both countries of origin and destination.

Including migrants in social protection coverage and policies. Social protection coverage for migrants tends to be low. There is a need to ensure migrants are both eligible for and effectively participate in social protection mechanisms, and are not discriminated against based on sex, age or migratory status, among other factors.

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture


Improving food security and nutrition for all. Inclusively addressing hunger and malnutrition would help address the lack thereof as a potential determinant of migration for some individuals and their families. Further, it is important to include migrants at all stages of the migration lifecycle in efforts to improve food security and nutrition, as they can be more vulnerable in this context.

Promoting sustainable agriculture. Strengthening climate change and other adaptation strategies for agricultural communities to help boost livelihoods and help prevent forced environmental migration, as this can help promote productivity and strengthen incomes.

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages


Including migrants in health coverage. The SDGs call for universal health coverage; it is important to proactively include migrants under schemes and guarantee continuity of quality services throughout the whole migration cycle.

Including migrants across health targets. Migrants face disproportionate health vulnerabilities in some contexts. For example, migrant women and girls often lack access to sexual and reproductive health care, information and education, and as a result experience negative outcomes. Some migrants may be susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and others, due to limited hygiene, nutrition and living conditions, lack of access to health care, and heightened exposure to other risk factors. Others may be more at risk for non-communicable diseases and mental health issues. Therefore, it is important to proactively include migrants in implementation of various health targets.

Improving the distribution of the global health workforce. Migration of health workers has impacts on health systems in different countries, and the SDGs call for improved management of human resource development and deployment in the health sector. Implementing well-designed skill policies, including ethical recruitment codes such as the WHO ethical code of recruitment for medical staff, would help alleviate health worker shortages.

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


Increasing international student mobility. The SDGs call for expanding the number of cross-border scholarships available. This would help increase the number of education migrants and improve higher education opportunities for many.

Including migrants and migrant children in education targets. Migrants’ access to quality education can be limited. This is especially significant for children, who make up a substantial share of migrants and refugees. Therefore, including migrants, in particular migrant children, in education planning and provision is essential.

Helping address the relationship between labour migration and education. The SDGs call to ensure equal access to technical, vocational and tertiary education and increase the availability of relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills. This would help strengthen links between the supply and demand of skills, ultimately helping govern labour migration better.

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls


Addressing trafficking and exploitation of women and children. This would help address human trafficking in a gender- and age-sensitive way, and allow actors to focus on certain types of trafficking that women, girls and boys may be particularly vulnerable to, such as trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced marriage or trafficking of children for forced begging.

Protecting and empowering migrant domestic workers. This would help end migrant domestic workers’ abuse, exploitation and violence. Most migrant domestic workers are women and adolescent girls. Working in a largely informal and unregulated sector, they are at higher risk of exploitation, labour and human rights violations, and sexual and gender-based violence.

Taking a gender-responsive approach to migration governance. Addressing gender-related targets under the SDGs can help promote safe migration for women by capturing specific needs of migrant women, and encourage migration as a source of women’s empowerment. Further, tackling gender inequality could help reduce gendered potential drivers of migration such as gender-based violence or discriminatory practices such as female genital mutilation, as well as gender-based socio-economic challenges such as discrimination.

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all


Protecting migrant labour rights and promoting decent work. This would help migrant workers by addressing common challenges including those relating to working conditions, wages, social protection, occupational safety, access to health care, and migration status. By strengthening ethical recruitment practices and helping eliminate recruitment fees, this would also address human trafficking, debt bondage and forced labour.

Combatting forced labour, trafficking for forced labour, child labour, and all other types of labour exploitation. This can help work towards strengthening protection of exploited and trafficked individuals, prevention of trafficking and exploitation, prosecution and redress related to these crimes, promoting dialogue and cooperation on counter-trafficking, boosting human trafficking data collection and analysis, and more.

Reduce inequality within and among countries


Facilitating orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility, and encouraging the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. This would help govern migration for the benefit of all. Target 10.7 acknowledges that effective migration governance is key for safer, more orderly and more regular migration. This includes promoting regular migration that respects the rights of all migrants, and leveraging the positive development impact of migration for migrants themselves as well as for all communities and countries.

Lowering remittance transaction costs. This would help strengthen the positive impacts of remittances, benefiting migrants, and their families and communities. Transfer costs can be high, burdening migrants, discouraging using formal channels for remittances, and hampering the development potential of remittances. Addressing this often involves increasing competition and transparency in the transfer market, helping migrants make informed decisions. 

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


Working towards making cities inclusive for migrants. Migrants are often especially vulnerable within cities. They may have low knowledge of local contexts, and/or multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, reducing their ability to access resources and opportunities such as housing, employment and basic services. Proactively including migrants across city-related targets, such as in affordable housing, would benefit migrants. Further, the SDGs promote a participatory and inclusive approach to city planning and management, and this should include migrant participation.

Including migrants in urban disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster risk management (DRM). Migrants are often more vulnerable to disasters in urban areas. For example, as informal settlements in peri-urban areas of less developed countries are often hazard-prone, migrants may be among the first and worst affected by hazards and consequently disasters, as well as less able to cope when these occur. The SDGs call to reduce deaths and mitigate negative impacts of disasters, and migrants should be proactively included in mechanisms around this.

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels


Countering all types of exploitation and trafficking of children. This would help child migrants who are often in vulnerable situations and face challenges along routes and upon arrival in communities, including unaccompanied child migrants who can be especially at risk of exploitation or human trafficking.

Providing legal identity for all, including through birth registration. This would help counter statelessness, end patterns of irregularity among migrants, especially among their children, and allow migrants to apply for citizenship or residence permissions and respective rights to which they are entitled. This would also help foster migrants’ inclusion, and help counter human trafficking and organised crime.

Strengthening rule of law and improving access to justice. The SDGs call for stronger and more transparent institutions, inclusive and representative decision-making, and improved access to justice. This would help protect and promote all migrants’ rights, address migrant detention. This would also play a role in addressing the drivers of types of migration, by combatting discrimination, human rights abuses, gender inequalities and more.