Migration is a global phenomenon that impacts the lives of most people. Migration is a powerful driver of sustainable development, for migrants themselves and their communities in countries of origin, transit and destination. Migrants often bring significant benefits to their new communities in the form of skills, strengthening the labour force, investment and cultural diversity. They also play a role in improving the lives of communities in their countries of origin through the transfer of skills and financial resources, contributing to positive development outcomes.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), provides an overarching framework to address the complex and dynamic relationship between migration and development and to better understand how migration and migrants can shape development outcomes and vice versa. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda in September 2015. The Agenda consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 accompanying targets.

The 17 Goals cover a range of sustainable development1 issues, including poverty and hunger, health, education, gender equality, climate change and others. By tackling such a wide range of development issues, the Agenda aims by 2030 to make significant progress across the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. By calling for all countries to play an active role in promoting development, the 2030 Agenda recognizes that issues will only be tackled effectively if a holistic approach is taken. To this end, the SDGs call for a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda recognizes migration as a core development consideration, which marks the first time migration is integrated explicitly into the global development agenda. The Agenda is relevant to all mobile populations regardless of whether internal or cross border, displaced or not: “goals and targets will be met for all nations and peoples and all segments of society.” It recognizes migrant women, men and children as a vulnerable group to be protected, and as agents of development. All types of migration should also be considered, including displacement.

The central reference to migration is made in target 10.7 under the goal “Reduce inequality in and among countries”, calling to “facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.” However, effective migration governance is a key success factor for the achievement of the SDGs, and many SDG targets can only be achieved if migration and migrants are considered.

The Agenda requires stakeholders to move to a whole-of-government approach to achieve policy coherence on migration governance. The migration-SDG connections reach far beyond implementing migration policies, and entail integrating migration across governance sectors. By strengthening coherence between migration and development agendas, migration policies can improve development outcomes, and development policies can improve migration outcomes.

IOM has launched the Migration and the 2030 Agenda: A Guide for Practitioners. The guide aims to help policymakers integrate migration into local and national development planning by equipping states and development actors with relevant guidance and tools to better understand the migration-SDG connections and to take practical action to integrate migration into SDG implementation.

The publication is available in EnglishFrench and Spanish. It is accompanied with two complementary tools that illustrate the linkages between migration and the SDGs: (i) a comprehensive booklet which outlines the linkages between migration and each SDG (EN / FR / ES) and (ii) a poster which summarizes these linkages (EN / FR / ES).