Harnessing Migration for Rural Development: 2nd Regional GFMD workshop in Kingston, Jamaica

group photo workshop Kingston

The European Union is supporting the Ecuadorian Chairmanship of the 2019 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) through the MIgration EU eXpertise (MIEUX) Initiative, implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), in hosting the two-day regional workshop “Harnessing Migration for Rural Development”, on 14 and 15 August in Kingston, Jamaica. The second of a series of four regional workshops ahead of the Quito Summit in November will gather representatives from academia, national and local-level governments, International organisations and civil society to exchange experiences. 

Migration for rural development in Latin America and the Caribbean

Development strategies in many countries have tended to focus on preventing rural flight and stemming migration into overcrowded cities. Yet, as existing drivers –poverty, conflict, land degradation, food insecurity and discrimination – can be exacerbated by a changing climate and threatening to further undermine livelihoods that heavily depend on natural resources vulnerable to droughts, floods and other environmental impacts, governments may increasingly need to consider human mobility as part of rural resilience-building strategies. This workshop in Kingston, Jamaica, will discuss the role of migration and remittances in the transformation of rural areas, including the impact on agriculture and related industries, as well as local employment opportunities and entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In addition, it will explore options for policy makers at national and local levels to enhance positive and mitigate negative effects.

Inter-regional cooperation for improved international migration governance

The workshop responds to one of the priorities of the Ecuadorian GFMD Chairmanship to engage regional stakeholders in meaningful dialogue ahead of the Quito Summit. A wide array of stakeholders, among which representatives from local and central governments, academia, civil society and international organisations, will gather to contribute through these discussions to the supporting documents for the Summit´s Round-table 3.2  “Harnessing migration for rural transformation and development” ” of the GFMD 2019 agenda. Through the exchange of experiences and practices from Africa, Asia, Europe and LAC, the workshop aims to explore how to enhance the positive and mitigate the negative effects of migration and remittances to encourage positive social change and build resilience for populations in rural areas.

As Mr. Oleg Chirita, Head of Programme, Global Initiatives, ICMPD stated, “Around the world, growing urbanisation and the concentration of economic activity in cities have driven internal migration from rural areas to cities for decades, creating a number of challenges. However, there a number of examples from around the world that prove migration and remittances can prove beneficial and contribute to sustainable development and resilient societies.”

The GFMD and the Ecuadorian Chairmanship of 2019

Created in 2007, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a state-led, informal and non-binding process, which helps shape the global debate on migration and development. Now in its twelfth edition, the GFMD Summit will be held in the week of 18-22 November 2019 in Quito, Ecuador under the theme “Sustainable approaches to human mobility: Upholding rights, strengthening state agency, and advancing development through partnerships and collective action.”

Ecuador’s GFMD 2019 Chairmanship comes at a timely moment for global migration governance, given the inclusion of migration-related targets in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the adoption of the two Global Compacts on Refugees (GCR) and on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in 2018.  The Chairmanship is keen to nurture common ground among governments who may have differing views on the GCM while exploring complementarities of the two Global Compacts in line with commitments made in the New York Declaration of 2016.

Four regional workshops will take place between July and October 2019 involving regional stakeholders, as part of a set of concrete priorities that the 2019 GFMD Chair has put in place to enhance the GFMD process this year and beyond. In line with topics of the 12th GFMD Summit roundtables, the regional workshops will focus on social and economic inclusion of migrants; migration, rural transformation and development; legal pathways; and the role of cities in migration governance.

MIEUX and the 2019 GFMD

In line with one of its main objectives, MIEUX is providing relevant European expertise and content support to the Government of Ecuador in relation to the GFMD 2019 process. Specifically, MIEUX is assisting Ecuador with organising a series of regional workshops that should not only contribute directly to the thematic round-tables of the Quito Summit and to the background papers but also function as standalone events that advance the global debate on migration and development. Targeting different stakeholders, such as local and central governments, academia, civil society, and regional stakeholders, this series of regional workshops aims at setting up a future-oriented regional model that could be utilised by future GFMD chairs in their respective regions.

Background information

Created in 2007, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a state-led, informal and non-binding process, which helps shape the global debate on migration and development. It provides a flexible, multi-stakeholder space where governments can discuss the multi-dimensional aspects, opportunities, and challenges related to migration, development, and the link between these two areas. The GFMD process allows governments - in partnership with civil society, the private sector, the UN system, and other relevant stakeholders – to analyse and discuss sensitive issues, create consensus, pose innovative solutions, and share policy and practices.

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