South-South Migration can contribute to achieving Millennium Development Goals
According to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States Observatory on Migration, improved South-South migration management can positively contribute to the development of countries striving to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
Laurent de Boeck, Director of the Observatory, points out that the development potential of South-South migration is not maximized due to the lack of reliable and coherent data. Nevertheless, in many regions, migration flows between developing countries and within developing countries themselves are more important than migration flows to developed countries.
These migration flows often happen between neighboring countries and are driven by different motivations which include the search for job opportunities, family reunification, the impact of conflicts and natural disasters and the effects of climate change. Better South-South migration management can contribute to hunger reduction though the improvement of migrants and families’ quality of life by remittances and income generating activities (MDG 1).
Migration flows to developing countries are more accessible to the poor as a poverty reduction strategy. An increase in income allows for an increase in education (MDG 2). Feminization of migration flows is an increasing tendency that contributes to improving the access to education and the evolution of gender roles (MDG 3).
The impact of migration on health levels remains to be studied more in-depth. Certain aspects of migration which allow an increase in the standard of living of a given population also allow for increased access to healthcare (MDG 4 and 5).
Finally, migration can be considered as a survival strategy, by which populations migrate from overpopulated areas, thus softening the pressure on natural resources. Environment has a decisive impact on migration patterns in many regions of the world, especially through the effects of climate change (MDG 7).
Laurent de Boeck notes that improving the contribution of South-South migration to the achievement of the MDGs requires enhancing its positive effects and limiting its negative impact. “The development of migration flows provokes the restructuration of many households and the emergence of fractured transnational families. Concerning healthcare, certain flows, in particular those provoked by conflicts or natural disasters, deprive migrants from access to basic health care”.
The ACP Observatory on Migration, an initiative from the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States, empowered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), funded by the European Union and with the financial support of Switzerland, has been created to improve migration research capacities in ACP countries and strengthen the relations between researchers, civil society and policy-makers. Its objective is to conduct research required to possess a better knowledge on the reality of migration flows and enhance their positive effects on human development. Achieving the MDGs is one of the Observatory’s most important concerns.