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From the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular

Development policy and migration policy are closely related. Development policies that effectively support peace and justice, work and economic growth, better access to health and education should be seen as a fundamental components of migration policy as these circumstances impact the choices people make when deciding to migrate or not. At the UN level, discussions on development issues were used as an introduction to discussions on migration. For example, the first prominent UN policy dialogue devoted to migration was the 2006 High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development. The 2030 Agenda was a step forward in recognising the relevance of migration for sustainable development.

Even though the 2030 Agenda does not state it specifically, migration is a cross cutting priority which is important to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several SDGs directly target migration issues such as target 8.8 that aims at protecting migrant workers, target 10.7 which is central to the idea of the Global Compact as it aims to “facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through implementation of planned and well managed migration policies” and target 10.c which aims at reducing the transaction costs of migrant remittances. Target 17.18 also mentions capacity-building support to developing countries in data management including data on migration and migrant children which are of particular interest for goal 16 aiming to end all forms of violence against children, including trafficking, but also to provide identity to all. Target 5.2 on the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls as well as target 8.7 on the eradication of forced labour also include human trafficking. Target 4.b on the increase of the number of scholarships available to developing countries to pursue education in other countries is also directly related to migration. Some goals can only be achieved if migrants are considered. For example, target 1.3 on the access to an adequate social protection system or Goal 3 which ensures healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Undeniably, unaddressed health conditions among migrants may also have larger public health consequences. Other SDGs can have a considerable impact on migration such as, target 2.1 on the access to food or Goal 13 on the fight against climate change.

The first high-level meeting fully dedicated to migration happened a year after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. During this meeting, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants came to light, paving the way for the negotiation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration which exemplifies the convergence between migration and development. The Global Compact acknowledges that migration can help realise the development goals by showing a clear synergy between development and migration policies. International migration is a significant enabler of development in countries of origin and countries of destination influencing not only the economic dimensions, but health, education, gender equality and the response to climate change. Therefore, the goal of the 2030 Agenda and the Global Compact can only be reached if both instruments serve each other.

Author: Dr Fanny Tittel-Mosser

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