Labour Migration in the Post-2015 Development Framework & Possible Contributions of the European Union

Ms. Anna Knoll & Dr. James Mackie, European Centre for Development Policy Management

ECDPM is currently working with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the German Institute for Development (DIE) on the European Report on Development for 2013 on the topic: 'Development in a Changing World: Elements for a Post-2015 Global Agenda' (www.erd-report.eu). The report will look at the elements of a post-2015 framework - including contributions of the European Union - could support poor countries' efforts to overcome development constraints and create opportunities for (inclusive and sustainable) development. One of the chapters focuses on labour migration in the post-2015 development framework and possible contributions of the European Union.

Migration can potentially be a transformational human experience but can have negative and positive effects on human development, often simultaneously. Migration is one of the most difficult areas for governments to regulate, and many try to counteract it rather than responding to this reality through more effective governance. From the standpoint of inclusive and sustainable development, migration is most beneficial when individuals and their families can choose when and where they wish to move. To date this effectively remains the privilege of citizens from (mostly) OECD countries. The United Nations Report to the Secretary-General presented by the UN system task team on the post-2015 UN development agenda mentions ‘fair rules to manage migration’ as an enabling factor for ISD. Any post-2015 framework will need to go beyond development cooperation, as the ERD argues. Migration is an excellent means to do so, since – under the right conditions – it can bring about a ‘triple-win’ for receiving and sending countries as well as for migrants. This chapter explores how migration could contribute to a post-2015 framework. This chapter argues that migration and its cross-sectoral effects (on employment, population etc.) must feature prominently in any post-2015 framework. Governments, whether sending or receiving, often do not make ‘migration-friendly’ decisions because they fear the political consequences or because too little is known about the effects of migration. This chapter argues that both observing migrants’ rights and increasing options for low-skilled migrant labour has many positive effects from the macro to the micro level. It thus urges governments to reassess the effects of migration and how these are communicated. International and regional organisations can assist in filling the knowledge gap on migration and support governments in finding ways to diminish the negative and enhance the positive effects of labour mobility.


Venue: Boardroom

Date: 17 December 2012

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT