Since the first General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in 2006, states have explored, through the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) process, collaborative approaches to enhancing the benefits and curbing the negative impacts of migration for development.  The discussions and issues addressed at the GFMD have considerably evolved since it was first convened in 2007. Since 2009, the Global Forum has paid dedicated attention to the topic of mainstreaming migration into development strategies, together with a sustained emphasis on the need for better migration data and for greater institutional and policy coherence on migration and development. The integration of these three elements is what characterizes the GFMD’s approach to the topic of migration mainstreaming.

Migration has been and remains today an integral part of development processes. It often results in significant benefits for individual migrants and their households. Yet, the implications of migration for the human development aspirations of countries and communities tend to be harder to track. Few countries have good data and systematic analysis on the migration realities they face; on how these migration realities are affected by their legislative and policy choices; and how they are in turn impacting on the development goals of the country.  The aim of migration mainstreaming is to address these gaps and to enable governments to take a context-specific and systematic approach to reconciling their countries’ development aspirations with current and prospective migration realities.

There are several benefits of taking a mainstreaming approach: 

  • First and foremost, the decision to mainstream migration into a country’s national development strategy is a significant statement of political will.
  • It provides a mandate for greater institutional and policy coherence and the development of sectoral policies from a migration perspective.
  • It also encourages governments to see migration as an issue affecting all aspects of human development, including human rights.
  • It helps identify gaps in existing legislative and policy frameworks, and prompts the inclusion of relevant international instruments and conventions.
  • And, it can be expected to facilitate funding and technical assistance for migration and development-related activities through mobilisation of resources from international partners for development plans.