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Joint Migration and Development Initiative & City of Milan
‘Cities, the integration of migrants and co-development practices’
EUROCITIES ‘Integrating Cities VI Conference’, Tampere, Finland, 10 September 2013
Importance of the topic and context
The migration and development agenda is currently mostly conducted and framed at the national and
international levels. Yet, local administrations, and cities in particular, are at the forefront in confronting the
transformations and opportunities that migration brings about. More than 9.3 billion people are expected
to move to city centres by 20301
. Urban nodes in both the northern and southern hemisphere are thus
increasingly shaped by the social, economic and cultural capitals that diaspora groups carry with them and
local administrations are becoming increasingly aware of this international window of opportunity, as the
activities from migrants abroad are felt through various resources, knowledge, capacities and remittances
that are circulating between two territories.
A recent research2
completed by the Joint Migration and Development Initiative3
has shown that migration
and development practices implemented by local administrations exist on a global scale, but they often
remain isolated experiences. There is thus a growing need to move towards more structured forms of
intervention, coupled with opportunities for local administration in the North and in the South to exchange
knowledge and build their capacities in order to jointly manage migration flows form one territory to
another. As the impacts of migration are often most strongly felt at the local level, be it in terms of effects
on the local labour market, or the need for public services, local administrations’ responsibilities to plan and
implement migration-related interventions are greater than ever. Increased attention should therefore be
dedicated to analyzing the role of decentralized levels of governments in the field of migration and
development and to the development impacts of integration programmes and co-development initiatives,
such as those implemented by the City of Milan4
At the policy level, the importance of local level actors for the success of development initiatives is
increasingly echoed across the board by many institutions concerned with development. At the level of the
European Union (EU), the role of local governments has been more fully recognized during the 2005
revision of the Cotonou Agreement. In the 2011 Agenda for Change, the EU aims "to work more closely with
the private sector, foundations, civil society and local and regional authorities as their role in development
. In addition, the Committee of the Regions adopted the opinion "Migration and mobility: a
global approach", which calls for regional and local authorities to be fully taken into account in the
Douglas Saunders, “Arrival Cities: How the largest migration in history is shaping our world”, 2011.
JMDI, “Mapping local authorities’ practices in the field of migration and development: a territorial approach to local strategies, initiatives and
The Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) is a three year programme (2012-2015) financed by the European Commission and the
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented by UNDP in collaboration with IOM, ILO, UNHCR, UN WOMEN and UNFPA. The
first JMDI programme (2008-2012) has shown that initiatives undertaken by migrants have a more positive impact on development when they are
implemented in partnership with local authorities and other entities that have a stake in local development. The new programme thus aims at
combining the actions of both local authorities and migrants in order to achieve positive results at the local development and reinforce the
capacities of local authorities to harness the potential of migration for development.
By adopting a co-development approach to migration and development issues and by launching a programme that sustains projects “here” and
“there” that run by migrants in partnership with NGOs, the experience of the City of Milan further demonstrates that such forms of cooperation can
strengthen the voluntary participation of migrants in to development cooperation, in addition to promoting migrants’ integration. However, the
session will also explore other forms of cooperation frameworks and discuss which type of mechanisms (for instance Call for Proposals) are the best
positioned to combine local authorities’ initiatives with those of the migrant groups’.
See the communication from the European Commission Increasing the Impact of EU Development Policy: an Agenda for Change. COM (2001). See
also European Commission (2008), Changing the World… Locally. 25 success stories of development cooperation at local level.
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implementation of the EU’s Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM), by building on existing
decentralised cooperation projects and structured bodies.
Local administrations thus indeed represent valuable “institutional corridors” which allow for and are a
guarantee for the sustainability of interventions in the field of migration and development, but there are
also several challenges related to their capacities to effectively plan and implement concrete actions.
Among them is the availability of funding, as well as their facto competence to be the main drivers in
migration-related issues and to link those with local development strategies as the topic of migration is
mainly dealt with at the national level. Another challenge for both local administrations of origin and
destination countries is the mobilization of diaspora groups in co-development programmes and to ensure
that migrants’ contributions are a) sustainable; and b) in line with local development needs and priorities.
Despite the fact that European cities and regions are extensively engaged in decentralized cooperation
frameworks, migration and development is still an area that has not yet received the same attention than
other development-related topics. There is thus a need to better define on how local authorities can engage
in co-development and link integration initiatives with development-orientated goals and moreover foster
solid mechanisms for transferring knowledge between sending and receiving territories.
The session thus brings together policy-makers and practitioners, who will through their concrete
experiences in both receiving and sending countries, draw on the type of cooperation mechanisms and
partnerships that can maximise the development impact of migration/integration programmes at the local
The session will expose the participants to the possibilities of cities to engage in migration and
development and the available funding mechanisms and cooperation frameworks for such initiatives.
Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges that local authorities face in fostering co-
development initiatives and be able to identify the appropriate tools and the type of partnerships that can
increase both the transfer of knowledge between local authorities themselves, with their respective
national governments and with their migrant population. The concrete examples will help local
administrations to link migration and development–related actions into existing decentralized cooperation
frameworks and/ or twinning initiatives. Moreover, the session aims at providing a platform for policy-
makers and practitioners from receiving and sending countries to network among each other and initiative
During the session, the panelists and participants are expected to share forms to accommodate to growing
mobility of people worldwide and how they promote the contributions of migrants in their city/region.
Particular emphasis will be placed on networks of cities and urban regions on these issues, as well as on the
type of partnerships that can act as enablers for migrants to fully develop their potentials. The challenge for
cities/regions in formulating policies that take into account the increasingly complex global population
movements (i.e. long / short term, highly-skilled/unskilled) will be discussed and recommendations on how
to include migration as a cross-cutting issue in territorial development planning will be elaborated.
After the session, participants will be asked to engage in the drafting of a joint policy paper of Cities which
will be shared with the European Commission. The content of this paper will also draw on the
establishment of a common framework for measuring and evaluating the impact of co-development
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- Setting the Scene
Ms. Cécile Riallant, Programme Manager of the Joint Migration and Development Initiative,
‘The local dimension of migration and development’
- Concrete practices I
Ms. Caterina Sarfatti, City of Milan, ‘Engaging diaspora for co- development – a perspective from
the Global North’
- Concrete practices II
Ms. Imelda Nicolas, Cabinet-rank Secretary Commission on Filipinos Overseas Office of the
President of the Philippines, ‘Importance of Local Actors in the success of development of migration
and development programs and policies – a perspective from the Global South’
Key points of discussion / questions
- How can cities/regions of origin and destination cooperate with each other in order to adopt integrated policy approaches
that link migration to labour mobility, development cooperation, trade and investment (i.e. pre-departure information,
job matching schemes)? How can these frame into multilevel governance for M&D whereby policy coherence for
development is achieved at all levels?
- In the absence of concrete national frameworks on decentralised cooperation in the field of migration and development,
what can local administrations do to engage in migration and development initiatives? How can they expand their legal
competences in the field of migration and development?
- How can home and host local administrations better transfer their respective migration management knowledge and
create / maintain networks that foster regular dialogue and information sharing? What mechanisms and tools can be used
to share best practices horizontally with various stakeholders and vertically with authorities at the upper level?
- What type of co-development programmes – in times of financial restraints in international development cooperation -
are sustainable for local authorities (for instance Call for Proposals may be less viable than the transfer of competences)?
- How can cities/ local authorities approach their migrant communities (through targeted outreach and communication
strategies) in order to: a) assess the needs of their migrant communities, e.g. service provision); and b) to raise migrants’
interest in participating in co-development initiatives and/or decentralized cooperation?
- How can local authorities in the destination country support migrants to reinforce, activate and sustain networks with the
local authorities in the country of origin?
- How can migration be included as a cross cutting issue in territorial development planning and what are the related
challenges? How can local authorities better engage their migrant communities in local development planning with a
view to maximize the development impact of migration and migrants’ contributions in their territories?
- What can local administrations do in order to provide their migrant communities with an enabling environment in terms
of entrepreneurial opportunities? Who are the key stakeholders to involve in this process? Under which conditions can
private and public partnerships be fostered?
- What type of co-development projects (welfare, business and transnational entrepreneurship, culture, responsible
tourism, Diaspora involvement) have the most impact on development?
- What evidence is available regarding how integration policies and services in countries of destination positively impact the
development processes in the countries of origin?
- In which ways are migrant organisations prepared to guarantee/demonstrate the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of
their contributions in development?
- What are the expected results/visions in fostering partnerships between migrant associations and NGOS in co-