The Green Economy: a ripple effect for migration

ICMPD organised the High-Level Panel ‘Human capital and mobility at the service of the green economy’ as part of the official programme of the 14th edition of the ‘European Development Days: The Green Deal for a Sustainable Future’, taking place online on 15 and 16 June 2021. Journalist Mariam Zaidi moderated the panel, which featured Michael Spindelegger, ICMPD’s Director-General, Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of Rabat, Fridah Ntarangwi, founder of start-up accelerator ZidiCircle and Kishore Gopal Reddy, EDD Young Leader as speakers.

The 14th edition of the European Development Days explores the connection between human and inclusive development of the 2030 Agenda and the new growth strategy enshrined in the European Green Deal. Combined with this, several mega trends are shaping societies worldwide: technological innovation, global economic integration, demographic shifts, climate change, and a global shortage of skills. These trends have been, in turn, either reinforced, accelerated or impacted by the pandemic; therefore, they must be taken into account as part of post-COVID recovery plans including the role of migration and human mobility.

"A significant number of jobs are projected to be created by the transition to what has been dubbed the green economy – it is a good time for European Union Member States and its partners to envisage what the future could look like for mobility worldwide. Green education and skills are the foundation upon which this transition should be built on”, said ICMPD Director-General Michael Spindelegger.

Human capital - New skills for the green economy

The transformation towards green and sustainable economies relies on the development of knowledge and skills as way to empower people. The green-tech Twin Transformation offers great potential for new activities and jobs; therefore, a nuanced reflection about the development of skills, knowledge and competencies that will be in demand in the future and, in turn, on how this would affect human mobility, is needed. What new skills will be in demand and which others will phase out? How can governments, businesses and education institutions prepare the workforce for this transition?

Mobility - A ripple effect for migrants and migration

As countries increasingly transform their economies to become green and more sustainable, labour markets and employment opportunities will go through an adaptation period, with a ripple effect on internal, regional and international migration flows. What will the realignment of economic targets and adaptation of industries mean for the estimated 164 million international migrant workers and growing (ILO 2018)? How will key sectors of migrant employment, such as agriculture, construction, and tourism, affect and be affected by the “greening” of practices and objectives?

What can governments, businesses and individuals do? Key take-away messages

These were some of the main areas that the panelists discussed during 60 minutes focusing on perspectives from Europe, Africa and India.

  • Europe: The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the demographic trend of ageing populations paint a future where labour will be a matter of growing international competition. The EU has set in place a number of legislative and operational tools to leverage the connection between mobility and the green economy. Through the Talent Partnerships, launched last Friday, the European Union is providing avenues for the private sector to access the human resources it needs beyond European borders. Under the banner of the Mobility Partnership Facility, implemented by ICMPD, local actors in Spain collaborated with Moroccan authorities in the “Move Green” to facilitate the process of green skills development, training and business development in Morocco, in the renewable energy sector. Talent Partnerships should be viewed in conjunction with the suite of new legislative and programming tools such as the Circular Economy Action Plan and the European Fund for Sustainable Development, as well as international commitments under the 2030 Agenda and the Paris COP 25 Agreement.

  • The role of cities: With rapid urbanisation becoming a reality all across Africa, the role of cities is paramount in achieving inclusive growth.  The Mayor of Rabat highlighted the role of solidarity in building back better strategies and provided several examples of how the City of Rabat invested into smart mobility and public transport options as well as launching partnerships with European actors and tying public procurement to green objectives.

  • Diaspora and entrepreneurship: Both the Mayor of Rabat and Ms. Ntarangwi described the role of the diaspora as crucial to participate and drive forward new projects and activities linked to the green economy, whether it be through employment in foreign companies coming back to their homelands but also nationals who were encouraged to take on new activities as a result of being inspired by peers who had been abroad. For Ms. Ntarangwi it will be vital for regulatory frameworks to create an ecosystem where diaspora members can match their knowledge with concrete business opportunities.

  • Community level in India: EDD Young Leader Kishore Reddy emphasised that individuals at community level need technical and business skills to adapt their livelihoods to the changes brought on by climate change but also by the adaptation of economic sectors to the transition to the green economy. By acquiring new skills and new ways to consume, individuals and communities can also be part of that change and realise the objectives of inclusive and sustainable development.

Work with ICMPD on the green economy and migration

Under the umbrella of Global Initiatives, ICMPD coordinates a portfolio of programmes funded by the European Union that can turn these debates into actionable and practical projects to support migration partnerships between the EU and partner countries.

First, interested partners and other actors can request capacity development projects through MIEUX+ to work on this topic. Express your interest through our website or share with your networks to spread the word.  In the second half of the year, we will publish a discussion paper on mobility and the green economy. You can sign up to our newsletter below to stay updated about the launch.

Second, in terms of labour migration, the Migration Partnership Facility (MPF) aims to foster migration cooperation between EU Member States and priority partner countries.  Through the MPF, EU Member States and non-state actors can receive grants to innovate and test new approaches to legal migration and labour mobility, including new partnerships for the green economy.

Third, the EU Global Diaspora Facility (EUDiF) works to consolidate efforts on diaspora engagement for development through four interlinking strands: knowledge, capacity development, dialogue and diaspora expertise. Between June 22 and 24, the online event Future Forum will involve a wide variety of stakeholders to share practices and ideas for how to maximise the potential of diaspora engagement for development in the years ahead. Day 2 will focus entirely on “Going Green: How diaspora can drive effective green actions in line with European and international commitments.” Register for this event on their website.