GFMD and GMG co-organize a side event on migration and rural development

On the margins of IOM’s International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) 2018, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) 2017-2018 Co-Chairs, Germany and Morocco, and the Global Migration Group (GMG) Co-Chairs, IOM and FAO, co-organized a side event entitled “Migration and Rural Development: Fostering Transnational Partnerships” at the UN in New York on March 26. The side event was held to highlight the complex relationship between migration and agriculture and rural development, as well as share and promote successful experiences in harnessing the development potential of rural migration.

In setting the scene, Mr. El Habib Nadir, Moroccan GFMD Co-Chair, articulated that migration is a major determinant of economic stability and growth in rural areas. However, he lamented the fact that the role of agriculture and rural development has largely been overlooked, despite the fact that 40 per cent of global remittances are sent to rural areas. In this regard, he underscored the need to bring together different agendas and international frameworks such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Climate Agreement, the Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF) of IOM, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure convergent policies on the links between migration and agriculture and rural development. This he said, would entail establishing rural infrastructure, investing remittances in rural areas and providing opportunities for rural youth.

IOM Director General William Swing supported this message by underscoring that no single actor alone can address the risks of increased poverty, protracted displacement, and other related challenges in rural areas. Strong partnerships are key to addressing rural poverty and food insecurity in all of its forms and stabilizing affected and vulnerable communities.

The opening session was followed by a high-level panel discussion featuring: Ms. Carla Mucavi, Director of FAO Liaison Office with the UN in New York; Ms. Daniela Morari, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova; Mr. José Luis Jàcome, Vice Minister of Human Mobility of Ecuador; and Mrs. Ndioro Ndiaye, Minister-Counselor to the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal.

The panelists shared their institutional and country-level initiatives in addressing the complex relationship between migration and agriculture and rural development in Moldova, Ecuador, Senegal and the UNDP. During the panel discussion, four key points emerged with regards to the nexus between human mobility patterns and rural communities:

  1. The links between agriculture and rural development and migration are complex and must be addressed holistically with a whole-of-society approach and through strong partnerships.
  2. Migration has a strong agriculture and rural dimension, and it is a key determinant of sustainable development in rural areas.
  3. Addressing the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country is key to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration. This can be achieved through, inter alia, establishing rural infrastructure, investing remittances in rural areas and providing opportunities for rural youth.
  4. Migration can be a positive adaptation strategy that reduces exposure to immediate threats and helps diversify rural household incomes.

Ambassador Jurgen Schulz, German GFMD Co-Chair, closed the side event by thanking participants and enjoining them to take more action. He said, ”While it is clear that there exists a variety of strategies to harness the development potential of rural migration and increase rural resilience, there remains much more to be done to understand and address issues surrounding agriculture and rural development.”