Migration and Development

"Hanging in there". This is the photo that won the photo-competition organized by EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI). This photo reflects the valuable contribution that migrant workers make to the development of a nation with their skills and capacities. Photo: Sumir Ganguly


There is a range of evidence about the positive impacts of migration on human development, through such avenues as increased household incomes and improved access to education and health services. There is further evidence that migration can empower traditionally disadvantaged groups, in particular women. At the same time, risks to human development are also present where migration is a reaction to threats and denial of choice, and where regular opportunities for movement are constrained.


Increasingly, there is recognition of the role that migration can play – and does play – for development. The Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), funded by the EU and the Swiss Development Agency, is a testimony to this growing interest in the strong links between migration and development.


The JMDI supports civil society organizations and local authorities seeking to contribute to linking migration and development. It also explores best practices in the area, and helps to set up networks of actors working on migration and development.


Lessons learned from the first years of implementation have generated a solid evidence base for better planning and management in the field of migration and development, of what works and why – both at the local and international level.

Algerian migrants support communities back home

The programme supported the establishment of bee-keeping-schools. Photo UNDP Brussels/JMDI

In France, the JMDI-programme got together with highly-skilled Algerian migrants. They now support the development of the communities they once left behind in Algeria.

In the remote region of Kabylia, Algeria, local associations were supported in bee-keeping and cheese-making. The project also dealt with important issues such as sustainable tourism and waste management, which will contribute to local economic growth and to raise environmental awareness amongst communities.

The initiative also served as an inspiration for youth. Young people are often more prone to migrating due to the lack of employment opportunities. This initiative has provided many young people to start their own projects and businesses in the agricultural sector.

This project was part of the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI).

Joint Migration and Development Initiative

The Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) was founded in 2008 and is implemented by UNDP in partnership with IOM, ILO, UNFPA, UNHCR and UNWOMEN. The initiative is funded by the European Union and the Swiss Development Agency.


The first phase of JMDI ran from 2008-2012 and focused its activities in 16 countries. The second phase, building on successes from the first phase, started in December 2012 and will support local authorities and civil society organizations.

JMDI Handbook: Migration for Development, a bottom-up approach

This handbook is aimed at practitioners and policymakers engaged in the field of Migration and Development (M&D). It represents an encompassing codification exercise to compare and draw lessons from over fifty JMDI projects carried out by small-scale actors. It allows to assess M&D practices in order to know what works, under what conditions, in which transnational spaces, and why.

E-learning course

E-learning course on running your Migration for Development project succesfully.

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JMDI at the Assises of Decentralized Cooperation fo Development

The Assises of Decentralized Cooperation for Development will be held on 9 April 2013 in Brussels. On this occasion, the JMDI will be organizing an Associated seminar entitled “Migration, mobility and development: which role for regional and local authorities?”.

Read more about the event