Researcher Elaine McGregor recently authored the second edition of the ‘MOVEMENT Report: A Global Civil Society Report on Progress and Impact for Migrants’ Rights and Development. She also wrote the first edition. Diego Salama caught up with her to find out more. The full report is embedded below or available here.
What did the first edition focus on?
At the global policy level there is an annual meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) which rotates, every year, from country to country; last year the meeting took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the year before that in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2017 and 2018 the GFMD will be co-chaired by Germany and Morocco. The 10th GFMD will be held from 28 June to 1 July in Berlin.
Every time there is a meeting of governments there is also a meeting of civil society and those days are coordinated by the International Catholic Migration Commission. The European Union has supported these efforts through the Migration and Development Network (MADE). This programme commissioned me to look at their ‘5-year 8-point Plan of Action’ which was developed in the run up to the 2013 UN’s High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. It was a collaborative effort between hundreds of civil society organizations to define their priorities for the coming five years.
What they asked me to do in the first edition was to take that plan and assess progress. One of the challenges of this was a lack of baselines and it is very difficult to measure progress if you do not clearly define the changes you are anticipating. One of the recommendations that I made in the first edition was that more attention be paid to how to define progress and how to define change — which is what the second edition seeks to do. This was a challenge because civil society is not a homogenous group.
How did you select which voices of Civil Society should be heard?
That is a really good question. The MADE Network has an International Steering Committee (ISC) which is made up of representatives from different organisations. In the first edition I interviewed 20 members of the ISC. In the second edition, around half of the interviewees were also interviewed for the first edition, and the other half was new. This allowed me to get a sense of progress from year to year but also to include new voices into the report.
From a scientific perspective, I used purposive sampling to select participants (meaning those interviewed had specific knowledge and experience of the types of issues being discussed at the global level, although this was not the only source of data that I had).
Where else did you get your data?
Approximately 600 people applied to attend the Civil Society Days in Dhaka and they were all asked to report examples of significant changes in policy or practice, positive or negative in the past year in their countries or region. I qualitatively coded the information they gave me in order to identify what could be measured in the scorecard. This complemented the analysis of the interview data. I also used data from the evaluations of the civil society day as well as relevant grey literature. I was supported in this by an excellent team (Christina Bastianon, Sjors Joosten, Tamara Kool, Sarah Langley, Clément Morigny and Laura Rahmeier).
What exactly is the scorecard?
The report presents draft scorecards because they will now be piloted. For every point there is a scorecard, except points 5 and 6 which are merged. In essence this is an exercise in collecting what data exists and what data civil society organisations are sitting on that they know from their projects and operations, that they can start reporting so that we have a better understanding of what is going on.
Who is the scorecard for? Who can use it and how?
The report proposes that scorecards be implemented by a national focal point that has a good idea of what civil society organisations are doing in the country and that also works, potentially, with the government and other stakeholders — so that he or she can gather information from everybody in their jurisdiction.
You can use the scorecard on two levels. I work a lot on policy coherence and, in the area of institutional coherence one of the things that increases the likelihood of coherence is inter-departmental communication and coordination. Migration is something that affects a lot of different policy areas — so coordination mechanisms are important. The idea is that this also helps civil society organisations to coordinate; not only to understand what is going on but also what others are doing.
The second level is that once scorecards are received for national governments you can aggregate them to both the regional and international level. This can then be fed into the conversations at the GFMD.
What comes next?
If I were involved in the third edition, I would like to work with a sample of 10 or so focal points that would volunteer to pilot this. Ideally, the focal points would be allocated funds so they can really dedicate time and effort to implement properly. The fact of the matter is that civil society organisations are stretched and they may view the scorecards as an added obligation or reporting burden.
The opinions expressed here are the author’s own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.