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International Partnerships

Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development (MMICD)

IOM mainstreaming migration project

The relationship between migration and sustainable development has been recognised in various international agreements, most notably the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This offers an opportunity to comprehensively address the impact that migration has on key development sectors – such as employment, urban development and environment and climate – and vice versa.

Integrating migration into development programmes and projects not only supports the inclusion of migrants so that ‘no one is left behind’, but also enhances development cooperation interventions by:

  • harnessing the development potential of migration;
  • ensuring that risks and opportunities are fully assessed; and
  • making development cooperation more coherent and effective.


Under the “Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development” (MMICD) project, IOM is working with the European Commission’s Directorate–General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) to improve the integration of migration into development cooperation.

Through this, IOM is leading the development of a series of tools to support development partners to integrate migration at different stages of the project cycle.

Specific objectives are to:

  1. strengthen the process of integrating migration into the international cooperation and development policy of the EU, other donors and partners;
  2. increase awareness and support the efforts of partner countries to integrate migration in their development policy.


The key output from the project is the development of a Package of Resources for Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development that provides development practitioners with insights into why integrating migration is important, what it entails, and how it can be achieved. It consists of:

  • Part 1 – Guidelines: Introduces the background information, facts and figures, conceptual frameworks, and key resources to support efforts to integrate migration into development cooperation.
  • Part 2 – Toolkits: Contains a series of tools to integrate migration that can be applied when designing, implementing and/or evaluating interventions in various sectors such as health, education, and environment and climate change, based on the technical insights from IOM and UN partners.
  • Part 3 – Training: Brings the content of the Guidelines and Toolkits to life through a blended learning approach that consists of an e-learning course and complementary webinars.


After more than five years focused on mainstreaming migration, the MMICD project can establish recommendations on how it should be done:

  • Partnerships for Sustainable Development (SDG 17): advancing the migration-development nexus. Continue to advance UN-to-UN partnerships developed through the MMICD project. Take stock of the work of the UN Network on Migration. Identify key development actors such as the EU and EU Member States and explore synergies and potential entry points for mainstreaming migration, and build on Team Europe approaches where feasible. 
  • Recognize that whole of government approaches are critical to advance migration mainstreaming. Local/county governments play an increasingly important role in migration alongside national authorities.
  • Be prepared to adapt the focus of where to mainstream migration depending on the context. Consider who the viable target beneficiaries are and the type of support that is needed, as well as the adaptations required for these different beneficiaries.
  • Consult relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries to ensure that efforts made reflect needs and existing gaps. Ensure clear linkages between the identification of needs and the design of the response to those needs, actively engaging target stakeholders in the entire process.
  • Consider all follow-up actions in the design of the intervention for improved sustainability. Consider how the interventions can contribute to changes in behaviour and actions and build in “bridges” to concrete follow-up actions that will enable migration mainstreaming in practice and not just theory.

Find out more about our projects on the ground in different developments fields:

Education: Harnessing human potential through schooling for all. Education is not only essential for all individuals to maximize their capabilities and livelihoods, but it is also important for building peaceful and prosperous societies. Universal access to education constitutes a central pillar of sustainable development, with the linkage between migration and education explicitly recognized in the SDGs.

Employment: Migrant mineworkers advocating for decent work. The 'Voices from the Underground' project focused on protecting migrant mineworkers’ rights by strengthening the knowledge, organisational and technical capacities of human rights defenders, including AMIMO.

Environment and Climate ChangePreventing forced migration and adapting to a changing climate. The EU-funded project implemented by IOM on 'Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development' increases the awareness amongst the islands’ young people about climate-change induced hazards and adaptation practices.

Governance - Returning migrants participating in decision-making back home. The ‘Safe and Fair Programme’, implemented by ILO and UN Women, in collaboration with UNODC and funded by the EU, is working towards the realisation of women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region.

Health: Healthy Migrants, Healthy Communities. Fernando is a migrant farmer worker who is now able to access health services through mobile clinics that come to the farm. Accessing health services has contributed to Fernando’s own well-being and productivity, and has had positive ripple effects in the wider community where he works and back at home.

Private Sector Development and Trade: Returnee migrants contributing to entrepreneurship and Growth. Migrants can be facilitators of trade and investment in goods and services, by connecting countries of origin, transit and destination through trade routes and business linkages. 

Rural Development: Enriching rural communities through migration for sustainable agriculture. A large share of migrants originate from rural areas. For many rural households, especially in developing countries, migration is a livelihood and income diversification strategy to manage risks and uncertainty associated with agriculture and seasonality.

Security: Protecting sustainable livelihoods with innovative border security. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has just 70 square miles of land mass surrounded by 750,000 square miles of ocean. Managing its borders is a mammoth task requiring sea patrols of hundreds of thousands of square miles of ocean borders.

Urban Development: Migrants working with megacities on Disaster Risk Reduction. Over half of the world’s population lives in cities, and almost all population growth in the foreseeable future is expected to occur in urban areas. Much of this urban growth is expected to occur through migration, mainly through regional or internal migration.


Project website