Step 2: Prioritize

This step involves selecting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Targets to address in a migration context. Targets may be adapted from their global formulations to better fit the context. 

Access the full Prioritization Section in the guide.

1. Prioritizing SDGs and Targets

Implementing bodies should decide on a number of targets to address. A realistic number of targets should be selected, given the actors’ capacity and resources and the overall scope of SDG activity. Multi-stakeholder consultations can be held to:

  1. Assess the area or country’s migration situation in the context of the 2030 Agenda;
  2. Choose a selection of migration-related SDG targets to address.

Consultations should be vertically and horizontally inclusive, involving different ministries and levels of government, and should take care to include those involved in existing local or national development plans. Representatives from the relevant statistical agency should be included so they can comment on the monitoring potential of certain topics. Sessions should also include non-State actors. If it is not possible to involve all directly in consultation sessions, input from selected stakeholders may be sought through interviews or written statements.

Goal or Thematic Perspective: 

Implementing bodies may wish to consider their priorities either from a Goal or thematic perspective. A Goal perspective entails selecting relevant SDGs and directly choosing targets from them, and a thematic perspective entails considering different migration topics first, and then finding relevant targets. Actors can choose either approach or combine them, depending on their context and interests in migration and development, and so it is recommended that actors cross-check other Goals for relevant targets.

Coordination, Review, and Approval: 

If this process is taking place independently of other SDG processes, implementing bodies should coordinate with these other processes to ensure coherence, both in the way targets are selected and which targets are ultimately chosen.

Helpful Tip & Tools

A variety of tools are available to help in the prioritization process. Often individual tools do not provide comprehensive guidance, so it is best to use several tools together. IOM has many tools for prioritizing SDGs and related targets:

  • Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF): This tool can help assess what migration issues need to be prioritized and identify governance areas needing improvement, as it covers essential elements of migration management. It can be used to conceptualize priority areas.
  • Migration Governance Indicators (MGI): If an assessment using this tool has been carried out, it can help you choose targets. It is a great diagnostic tool based on 90 qualitative questions to measure government performance across six domains.
  • Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF): For implementing bodies concerned with migration crises (disaster or emergency situations), this analytical and planning framework can be used to better prepare for, respond to and recover from these crises.

You can also use other UN tools, including the United Nations Development Programme’s Rapid Integrated Assessment (RIA) and SDG Accelerator and Bottleneck Assessment (ABA), to help pinpoint M&SD areas for focus.

2. Adapting SDG Targets

Implementing bodies may choose to adapt prioritized targets. This involves developing local or national formulations of the targets to make them more reflective of context.

Adaption of the targets may be done under the following circumstances:

  • A target reflects an important M&D topic to an area or country, but its aim is not directly applicable.
  • A target reflects a broad aim and the government has a more specific aim.
  • The implementing body wishes to add interim targets to make gradual progress in certain areas before 2030.

Implementing bodies may choose to adapt only some of their prioritized targets and keep others as written. Where targets are adapted, they should reflect changes necessary while remaining as close as possible to the global formulation. Any adaption of targets should be undertaken under the same multi-stakeholder processes as prioritization, and final versions of the targets should undergo the same review and approval process.