Mind the Gap: Bringing Migration into Development Partnerships and Vice Versa

Date published



The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) published a new policy brief in the series "Toward a Global Compact for Migration: A Development Perspective", a series to inform the current debate on the GCM. This new brief by Kathleen Newland, Co-Founder of the MPI, and Kate Hooper, Associate Policy Analyst, focuses on the need to integrate migration into development partnerships and vice versa. You can access the press release here. Below is a brief presentation on the brief.


In recent years, spikes in irregular migration have prompted policymakers in the European Union, United States, and other destinations to look beyond border management for ways to address the underlying factors that drive movement, from weak governance to economic stagnation. This shift has been accompanied by significant financial investments, including through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and the U.S. Alliance for Prosperity. It has also prompted renewed calls to incorporate migration aims into development programming and development tools into migration-management partnerships.

Increased collaboration between development and migration actors carries both clear benefits and risks, as this policy brief details. Development agencies often have years of experience cultivating partnerships with actors in key countries of origin and transit—expertise from which migration-management actors stand to benefit. But tying development assistance too closely to sensitive migration policies, such as agreements to return unauthorized migrants, risks undermining longstanding relationships and further destabilizing already fragile regions.   

In addition to analyzing the promise of and barriers to closer cooperation, this brief also outlines what needs to be done to reconcile the differing goals and approaches at the heart of the development and migration-management fields. If this can be done, the authors conclude, greater collaboration could add value in a number of areas of common interest—from addressing barriers to economic growth and strengthening the resilience of origin and transit countries, to promoting the reintegration of returned migrants and facilitating skilled migration.


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