IFAD at the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - days 3 and 4

Government Representatives gathering in occasion of the third and fourth day of the Global Forum on Migration and Development embarked in a series of technical discussions here in at the International Convention Centre in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The IFAD delegation from the Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR) and the Office of the Chief Development Strategist (CDS) attended the several roundtables and found some of the issues addressed of special relevance to IFAD current and future operations.

The roundtable focusing on the “impact of migration on socio-economic development” announced the release of the so-called “migration profile” study developed by the International Migration Organization (IOM) for 26 countries across the globe. The study is meant to address the lack of comprehensive data on the phenomenon of migration and was very well welcomed by all participants. The core point made by the roundtable was the necessity of adopting a national “culture of evaluation” to assess the impact of migration on economic and social development, and address its cause-effect relationship. The United Kingdom representative highlighted how there is scope for a higher-level commitment of Governments in gathering external expertise, champions, think tank institutions, and international organizations, and carry out rigorous analysis based on baseline and impact surveys and what if...? simulations. Moldova provided some very useful practical hints, such as the development of country-specific indicators as well as internationally comparable benchmark indicators. Within this context, the creation of a “clearing house” for sharing national experience on impact assessment was regarded by Switzerland as a useful tool to proceed in a more coordinated fashion among Governments.

Another debate that is especially relevant to IFAD was the one held on the issue of “climate change and its impact on migration”. The discussion focused on the necessity of improving the accuracy of research data on climate change and the applicability of forecasting models developed so far. States were called to notify the audience on their latest studies and research activities. In this regard, France announced the upcoming development of a comprehensive study on climate change and human mobility in Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. From its side, Switzerland proposed that all available and future publications be stored in an online, world accessible virtual library. Finally, the necessity of including adequate measures to tackle the impact of climate change of migration in National Development Plans was stressed by many of the countries attending the roundtable.

The afternoon wrap-up sessions of the Forum will conclude these four-day round of meetings around the topic of migration and development. However, the debate on concrete solutions to foster better partnership among Governments and development actors on the issue of migration will continue. Rumors gathered in the corridors and outside official occasions reveal there is growing expectation towards the approach to be adopted for the next Global Forum on Migration and Development to beheld in Switzerland in 2011. Civil Society Organizations want to make sure that more concrete progress on joint public-private initiatives is made by next year, and that the Forum can be the occasion to showcase some good results rather than formal commitments. From their side, Governments seem to be processing on the path of research and policy development, and hope to gather more consensus across their counterpart. So 2011 will hopefully see the answer to many of the controversial issues raised in this Forum, provided that Governments and Civil Society organizations find common ground for enhanced collaboration and mutual benefit.