Exploring the Nexus between Well-being of the Migrant and Development
“We need to place migrants at the centre of the debate on migration,” said Ambassador Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General of International Organisation for Migration, at the launch of the “The World Migration Report 2013” in Addis Ababa on 6th of November.
Growing numbers of people from all parts of the world are on the move and the trend is expected to continue. The UN Population Division estimates that since 2000 the number of international migrants has grown from 175 million to over 230 million this year; these figures are projected to increase.
By examining the lives of individual migrants, and not just aggregate socio-economic indicators, the report argues that policies can be finely tuned to respond to the needs and experiences of migrants. The report draws on extensive polling, carried out across 150 countries, to assess the overall wellbeing of migrants across six dimensions of wellbeing – subjective, financial, career, physical, social, and community. The findings seek to shift the focus from debates around economic growth and remittances to the impact of migration on human development and lives.
People migrate in pursuit of a better life or to be reunited with loved ones in distant places. Many migrants are people who flee from poverty, violence, conflict, corruption, and persistent exclusion. Migration flows seem to increase in the future, driven by both inequalities within and between countries and by the growing ease of travel. More people can be expected to leave their homes as the impact of climate change makes continued residence impossible in some areas.
Migration is still too often addressed narrowly through the lens of single issues, like the so-called brain-drain. “Migration has the potential to greatly improve human welfare, if we get it right,” noted Mr Eugene Owusu, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Owusu said and elaborated by saying “that it is critical to look at the larger question on how migration can help countries, such as Ethiopia, to realise development objectives, and how to best protect and uphold the rights and security of all migrants”. He emphasised that this is why it is critical to mainstream migration into national development strategies and plans, work together and improve the well-being of migrants.
State Minister of Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Dr Zerihun Kebede, underlined at the launch that there is need to apply a comprehensive approach to address the problems migrants face and protect the rights of all migrants. His Excellency called for doubling the efforts on reducing the negative effects on migration.
There are no one-size-fits-all templates for maximizing the potential of migration for human development, but countries can facilitate human mobility in ways which support that. In Ethiopia, the government has established a National Anti-Human Trafficking Council, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, to promote the wellbeing of migrants. The country’s Growth & Transformation Plan likewise seeks to tackle labour migration by reducing illegal migration and trafficking; decreasing the rate of sexual assault and labour abuse; and increasing the number of women receiving training in entrepreneurship management and credit and saving services.
In Ethiopia, UN agencies are working together with the government to address the root causes of irregular migration, including through programmes to support economic development and reduce people’s vulnerabilities. UN agencies also provide victims’ support; help reintegrate migrants; and assist with integrated border and migration management.