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Integrating Migration into International Cooperation and Development: Guidelines for International Cooperation and Development Actors

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Migration is shaping our world. In an era of deepening globalization, increased digitalization, and rapid urbanization, migration touches all countries and people more than ever before. The ways that migration interacts with sustainable development (and vice versa) are far reaching, with impacts felt across a wide array of development sectors – including education, health, urban development, and others. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more evident, as demonstrated by the impact of mobility restrictions on economies and societies around the world.

Migration can be a powerful driver of sustainable development for migrants and communities in countries of origin, transit, destination and return. Migration – and the way people migrate – is also affected by development. The development contexts in which people live, where they move to, and the places through which they travel can all shape the resources, aspirations, motivations, and opportunities of migrants and communities. As such, the relationship between migration and development is complex and context-specific and the impacts on sustainable development can be both positive and negative.

It is in this context that international cooperation and development actors need to address the linkages between migration and development. This can be done through policies and programmes which harness the positive effects of migration on development, and development on migration, and mitigate some of the potential challenges. All of this should be done with the view to ensuring that the rights of migrants, their families, and communities are protected, and that no one is left behind.


These Guidelines provide core information to improve the efficacy of development cooperation so that international cooperation and development actors can strengthen the process of integrating migration into the ways that they design, monitor, and evaluate development plans, policies, and programmes.

The contents of the Guidelines

include facts, figures, concepts, and approaches to contribute the effectiveness of mainstreaming of migration into international cooperation and development.

Mainstreaming cross-cutting issues into development cooperation: “Mainstreaming” is defined as the process of integrating a selected value/idea/theme into different domains of development cooperation (European Commission, 2004). The European Union (EU) systematically mainstreams gender, human rights, and environment and climate change into development cooperation.

These Guidelines intentionally use the term “integrating migration” rather than “mainstreaming migration” in order to differentiate this process with more formal mainstreaming activities.

The Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development (MMICD) Package of Resources consists of:

• Part 1 – Guidelines: Introduces the background information, facts and figures, conceptual frameworks, and key resources to support migration mainstreaming.

• Part 2 – Toolkits: Contains a series of tools for mainstreaming migration into EU and other donors’ international cooperation and development. These include a toolkit for general use and a set of toolkits to be used for mainstreaming into key development sectors.

• Part 3 – Training: Brings the content of the Guidelines and Toolkits to life through a blended learning approach that consists of an e-learning course and complementary webinars.