Case Study: Ghana


In February 2018 IOM launched the two-year project “Integrating Migration into National Development Plans: Towards Policy Coherence and the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals at National and Global Levels”. This project was funded by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sub-Fund of the Peace and Development Fund, of which the People’s Republic of China is a major contributor. Implemented by IOM Ghana, the objective of the project is to support the Government of Ghana in mainstreaming migration into national development policies and achieving policy coherence, in line with the SDGs.


  1. Establishment of a dedicated migration-SDG body: Setting up an inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) on migration.
  2. Capacity building activities on migration and the SDGs: Conducting capacity-building activities for the TWG.   
  3. Other activities TBD: Based on priorities identified by the TWG, two initiatives from the 2016 National Migration Policy (NMP) action plan will be selected and further developed.

Institutional Set Up

The first activity of the project involved establishing an institutional body to move forward activities relating to migration and the SDGs in Ghana. A dedicated inter-agency body was established in the form of a Technical Working Group on migration. Following this, terms of reference for the body were established, detailing its objectives, mandate, and various other functions and processes.

Integrating migration into national development plans: Towards policy coherence and achievement of the SDGs at national and global levels

Terms of Reference for Inter-Agency Technical Working Group
Background and Purpose

In September 2015, the UN General Assembly agreed on an ambitious, global sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years and adopted a new global development framework, namely the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda calls for action from governments and other stakeholders on 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets.  Unlike the Millennium Development Goals adopted more than a decade earlier, the new Agenda has explicitly incorporated migration as a global priority to develop a universal policy agenda. Migration policy is specifically mentioned in SDG target 10.7, which focuses on facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration through well-managed migration policies. In addition, the Agenda implicitly highlights the importance of safeguarding migrants’ rights and needs by securing equal access of all to education, decent work, livelihoods, social protection, and health. The need to develop a global framework for addressing migration and development was further stressed at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants held on 19 September 2016. This summit led to the adoption of the New York Declaration, which among its many commitments, aims to strengthen the global governance of migration and protect migrant rights.

To operationalize global commitments at the national level, governments and partners strive to achieve overall policy coherence and mainstreaming migration into national development plans and sectoral policies. With migration so prominently enshrined in the new development agenda, it becomes essential for the international community to support the efforts of countries to:

  1. Continue improving national migration strategies and policies to create the right conditions for migrants and migration to positively contribute to sustainable development;
  2. Ensure policy coherence and mainstream migration into other sectoral policies and national development plans;
  3. Pilot innovative approaches towards the practical implementation of coherent, development-oriented and SDG-aligned national policies.

This was in line with the priorities set in the 2030 Agenda’s SDGs, and to achieve the ambitious objective of mainstreaming migration into national development policies and ensure policy coherence. As part of the project implementation, an inter-agency technical working group is to be established to help track progress on the migration-related SDG indicators.

The objective of the project is to enable the Government of Ghana and its partners to mainstream migration into national development policies and achieve policy coherence in line with national SDG priorities.

This will be achieved through five main activities:

  1. Promote the formation of an inter-agency technical working group to track progress on migration-related SDG targets. The working group will identify priorities, map existing gaps and identify potential data sources.
  2. Develop country reports regarding the SDG objective on migration management, including relevant data.
  3. Conduct trainings to build the capacity of local stakeholders.
  4. Raise awareness of migration-related SDGs and targets.
  5. Test the action plan.
General Role of the Inter-Agency Technical Working Group

The inter-agency technical working group will play the general role of assisting in implementation, monitoring and evaluating the project.

Specific Functions

The inter-agency technical working group will:

  • provide guidance and direction to ensure the establishment of a national migration governance structure, which is the first step towards implementing the NMP;
  • exchange information to track progress on migration-related SDGs;
  • gather relevant information from institutions in support of project implementation;
  • provide guidance and support in addressing possible obstacles encountered throughout the course of the project;
  • oversee the progress of project implementation; and
  • assist in evaluating the project.

The group will be composed of an SDG focal person from each institution:

  1. Ministry of Interior
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration
  3. Ministry for Employment and Labour Relations
  4. Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection
  5. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
  6. Ministry of Planning
  7. Ministry of Health
  8. Ministry of Education
  9. Ministry of Finance
  10. The Bank of Ghana
  11. Centre for Migration Studies
  12. Ghana Immigration Service
  13. Ghana Police Service
  14. National Development Planning Commission
  15. Ghana Statistical Services
  16. Office of Diaspora Relations – Office of the President
  17. Civil Society Platform for the Implementation
Responsibilities of IOM Ghana
  • Provide a draft agenda for each meeting and share it with members to get their input.
  • Facilitate each meeting, adhering to the agreed agenda.
  • Ensure close adherence of the work of the inter-agency technical working group to the agreed annual work plan and use each meeting to review action points agreed at the last meeting.
  • Update on progress against the annual work plan to the Project Steering Committee.
Responsibilities of Members
  • Attend monthly meetings. Only in exceptional cases could representatives be designated in case of absence.
  • Contribute to discussions and decisions for project implementation.
  • Provide regular reports to their respective ministries, department, agencies, institutions and organizations.
  • Communicate issues that may be affecting project implementation to the inter-agency technical working group and project team.
Financial Requirement and Logistical Support

Administrative and logistical support for organizing the inter-agency working group meetings will be borne by IOM. Members of the inter-agency technical working group will be entitled to a transport allowance at the end of each meeting.

Capacity Building

A capacity building workshop was held on migration and development in the context of the SDGs. Over two days, a series of presentations and group exercises took place on thematic topics as well as operational guidance. This introduced concepts of migration and development, and allowed for discussion on the linkages between migration and certain sectors, such as health, education, employment, labour rights and agriculture. Participants then discussed these linkages in the context of Ghana. The workshop also provided participants with practical advice on how to integrate migration considerations into their respective sectors, with a view to contributing to sustainable development under the 2030 Agenda. The workshop also included the involvement of national stakeholders. One session on how to conduct public and practitioner awareness raising activities on migration in the SDGs was co-facilitated by a representative from the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Ghana.

Feedback from Participants

“These kinds of workshops are very useful because they bring out good ideas and constructive approaches at working.  Mainstreaming migration into national development plans are also very brilliant ways of tackling our development challenges.  However, we will require logistics support from the various sectors to be able to put in practice whatever we discuss. It is obvious that no one single sector can handle the issues of migration alone. We must join efforts and resources to be able to attain the desired results.”

Ms. Victoria Natsu, Acting Executive Secretary, Human Trafficking Secretariat, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection

“I have learnt from the workshop how migration dynamics will help me to better position education resources.  Migration is not bad.  It can either develop or derail our objective settings.  As an expert in the field of education, I can now better understand how and why we need to understand migration and development.”

Mr. Ernest Wesley-Otoo, Development Partners Coordinator, Ministry of Education

“Hitherto, some of us have not read much about the issue of migration and development. I have learnt a lot from the workshop and as such my operations would be carried out with this topic in mind .... Understanding data in the areas of migration and child trafficking, for instance, can inform our approach towards finding solution to crime in the country.  I also find it necessary to share knowledge and information on migration and the SDGs with my colleagues.”

DSP Al-meyao Abass, Commanding Officer, National Rapid Deployment Force, Police Headquarters, Operations

“What this workshop made clear is the need for the inclusion of data disaggregated by migration within its [National Development Planning Commission (NDPC)] results matrix. For me, the TWG is necessary because it keeps us focused on migration.  What we need to do, however, is to set key priorities and work towards achieving them.”

Lila-Karen Amponsah, Planning Analysts, National Development Planning Commission


Through the establishment of the inter-agency TWG, the project enabled a diverse range of government stakeholders to engage with each other on national migration and development issues for the first time. The fact that the TWG includes representatives from so many different ministries increases the chances of strong horizontal policy coherence between sectors once specific interventions are designed and implemented under the auspices of the TWG. Through the capacity building workshop, relevant stakeholders were sensitized on different migration and development topics and were able to examine these topics in the context of Ghana, preparing them also to design comprehensive, tailored interventions relating to migration and the SDGs. As of July 2018, the project is still ongoing and will develop and implement further activities.

Photo credit: Cynthia Prah, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Accra