Bangladesh - Making Migration Work for Sustainable Development


What do we do in Bangladesh?

​8 million Bangladesh migrants live abroad, sending remittances that account for 6% of Bangladesh’ GDP. Most labour migrants from Bangladesh tend to migrate to the Gulf Region, where they often face low wages, high recruitment fees, discrimination or exploitation. Bangladesh also hosts 900,000 refugees, most of whom are Rohingya fleeing Myanmar. Managing these migration flows is crucial to addressing Bangladesh’s sustainable development challenges, including high levels of youth unemployment and the impacts of climate change.

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Image of Rohingya Cash for work participants waiting for payments.

In this context, the Programme is developing a diaspora strategy, to foster engagement of the diaspora in Bangladesh’s sustainable development. This strategy is a priority for the government and builds on previous studies of diaspora engagement in Bangladesh. A whole-of-government and whole-of-society diaspora strategy can promote the diaspora’s economic and social contributions to local communities in Bangladesh. Through technical assistance from diaspora experts, as well as knowledge exchange with the 10 other Programme countries, the government will be able to identify good practices and circumvent potential challenges, ensuring this strategy is well-designed, implemented and monitored. 

Alongside the development of the diaspora strategy, the Programme also raises awareness in the government and UN Agencies on linkages between migration and sustainable development. This builds on the results of an inter-agency pilot project under the UNDP-IOM COVID-19 Seed Funding Initiative. While also collecting data on socio-economic vulnerability and displacement caused by natural hazards and the COVID-19 pandemic, the pilot project served to learn from and enhance cooperation and coordination among UN agencies. Raising awareness of this innovative project will support evidence-based policymaking around mobility and its development implications. The Programme will showcase this project in its trainings for the Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development and UN Agencies in Bangladesh, on the Global Compact for Migration and the 2030 Agenda. Ongoing efforts by the Programme have, for example, integrated migration considerations into the Bangladesh 8th Five Year Plan on sustainable development and will work to integrate migration into the UN’s upcoming Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.

In order to build on these successes, Bangladesh also shares its experiences and builds the capacities of the other 10 countries within the Global Programme. The government and UN Agencies participate in trainings and knowledge exchange activities, such as our Peer Exchange Group on diaspora engagement. The Programme then supports the government to further showcase its successes in regional and global fora such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

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