EU-IOM Nepal Pilot to Integrate Migration into Efforts to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals
Kathmandu – On average, 400,000 young Nepalis enter the international labour market each year. The reasons affecting their decision to emigrate vary, but a lack of rural development and education opportunities are often cited.
Nepal has made strides in translating the development potential of migration into development planning through support for earlier programmes such as the UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative. However, a better understanding of the ways in which migration impacts and is impacted by development would establish greater coherence in policies and activities designed to meet the country’s 2030 sustainable development targets.
A recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) assessment carried out in the country earlier this year found that that there was a need for improved coherence between migration, sustainable development, education and rural development. The European Union (EU)-financed assessment recommended that Nepal upgrade its data on internal and international migration, strengthen coordination between existing migration measures and new policies in different sectors, and update its migration policies to reflect the complex relationship between migration and sustainable development.
In follow-up to the assessment, this week the EU and IOM are launching a pilot initiative in Nepal as part of IOM’s EU-funded Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development (MMICD) project.
Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Nepal Eloisa Astudillo Fernandez highlighted the value of integrating migration into development sectors.
“It’s a two-way relationship between sustainable development and migration as it can both benefit migrants and transit communities, but at the same time it brings many risks. Therefore, it is important to manage the whole process of migration in a way that gives as many benefits as possible while also mitigating the risks,” said Fernandez.
She added, “For this project we have identified nine sectors that are impacted by migration. In Nepal, we have chosen to focus on the rural development and education sectors. The idea is to integrate the concept of migration within those sectors, as they have a strong impact on the outflow of migrants from Nepal.”
Under the project, which is also piloting in Ecuador and Madagascar, IOM will work with Nepali partners to integrate migration into development planning, with a focus on education and rural development. Assessments and trainings to identify links between the different policy areas will be conducted in consultation with stakeholders to develop a roadmap for further action.
IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Lorena Lando sees value added in the initiative. “In order to achieve the central principle of Agenda 2030 – ‘leave no-one behind’ – IOM advocates mainstreaming migration into national development plans. The socio-economic impacts of migration need to be addressed in a more comprehensive manner,” she said.
Piloting the project in Nepal is timely as the ‘decade of action’ to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 is approaching. Nepal is also preparing for its Voluntary National Review in July 2020, which will examine progress made towards the SDGs at a national and sub-national level.