Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has a longstanding interest in migration issues. Migratory flows find some of their root causes in rural poverty and food insecurity. The consequences of these flows, like accelerated urbanization and remittances, pose both challenges and opportunities for food security and sustainable agriculture and rural development. FAO works to address those challenges and seize the opportunities, inter alia by supporting countries in fostering rural-urban economic linkages, improving agricultural productivity, enhancing and diversifying rural employment opportunities, especially for women and youth; helping the poor better manage risks through social protection; and leveraging remittances for investments in agriculture and rural development. The ultimate goal is to enhance country-level capacities to address migration issues from a developmental perspective, and in so doing, mitigate distress migration and foster food security and rural poverty reduction.

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International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency of the United Nations and an international financial institution focused on eradicating rural poverty and food insecurity in developing countries through its investments. IFAD-supported projects build the capacity of small-scale farmers around the world to increase their productivity and improve their livelihoods. These projects aim to address many of the root causes of migration from rural areas, including poverty, food insecurity, precarious access to natural resources, instability and natural resource degradation.

Over the past four decades, IFAD has developed innovative approaches to building opportunities for poor rural populations, with specific attention to women and youth. In particular, IFAD implements programmes that invest in local economies and employment for rural people in their countries of origin. Specific initiatives include leveraging the impact of remittances on financial inclusion, promoting diaspora investment in their home communities, and supporting entrepreneurial activities for returnees. These programmes help maximize the migrants' enormous contribution to development by providing economic options for people who might otherwise see no alternative than to migrate abroad. IFAD-supported projects also address issues faced by both host and origin communities affected by migration, helping the former to cope, as well as reducing the push factors of forced migration by engaging rural people in sustained economic development and building vibrant communities for migrants to return to.

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International Labour Organization (ILO)

ILO, the UN specialized agency on labour issues, has been dealing with labour migration since 1919. It has pioneered international Conventions to specifically protect migrant workers and guide migration policy. All major sectors of ILO – standards, employment, social protection and social dialogue – work on labour migration within its overarching framework of 'decent work for all'. ILO adopts a rights-based approach to labour migration and promotes tripartite participation (governments, employers and workers) in migration policy. It provides advisory services to member states, promotes international standards, provides a tripartite forum for consultations, serves as a global knowledge base, and provides technical assistance and capacity-building to constituents. ILO has also developed a non-binding multilateral framework on labour migration to guide its constituents and other stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of labour migration policy.

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International Organization for Migration (IOM)

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is the global intergovernmental organization solely dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. In September 2016, IOM joined the United Nations system during the United Nations General Assembly high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants. Mandated by its membership, IOM acts with its partners to: uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants; enhance effective respect for the human rights of migrants; encourage social and economic development through migration; assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management; and advance understanding of migration issues. It does these by using its long experience and world-wide presence to provide a full range of services and advice to governments and migrants, from projects and practical solutions to policy and broad strategic approaches, from data collection, research and analysis to the provision of a forum for states, intergovernmental organizations and civil society to exchange views and experiences and promote cooperation and coordination of efforts on international migration issues.

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Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

OHCHR has prioritized the promotion and protection of the human rights of all migrants in its work. OHCHR seeks to raise public awareness of the human rights of migrants, including irregular migrants, through advocacy and statements of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and in its public information materials. The Office organizes expert seminars and workshops on migrants' rights issues, offers guidance and capacity-building to states and other stakeholders including non-governmental organisations, and provides technical assistance to states in order to ensure that migrants' concerns are included in national human rights plans and policies. OHCHR country and regional offices also play a key role in advocating for the human rights of migrants at the national and regional level. OHCHR supports the mandates of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants and services the Committee on Migrant Workers, the treaty body supervising compliance with the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and members of their Families.

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UN Regional Commissions

Despite its global character and increasing inter-regional flows, international migration is a phenomenon that exhibits regional specificities. The work of the 5 United Nations Regional Commissions is dedicated to fostering incorporation of the regional perspective in the analysis of international migration and in addressing the multidimensional aspects of migration, which entails the integration of this phenomenon with development goals. Their activities include monitoring the development of regional and subregional consultative processes focusing on migration, striving to move towards interregional convergence and regional integration initiatives. As a complement to these efforts, the regional commissions are actively engaged in analysing the countries' priorities and experiences regarding labour markets, training, exchanges of human capital and portability of pension and health benefits, as well as the role of civil society.

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The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, hereafter UN Environment) was established in 1972, following the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. As the leading global environmental authority in the UN system, UN Environment sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the UN system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. UN Environment has worked on the environmental causes and implications of migration and forced displacement for many years. Environmental degradation can help to drive migration and trigger mass displacement, with implications in transit and recipient countries as well. The ultimate aim of UN Environment’s work is to support good environmental management around the world at all scales to build resilience in vulnerable areas, to reduce environmental threats to health and ecosystems and to enable sustainable development for current and future generations. 

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United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF, guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, works to realize the rights of all children, adolescents, youth and women in the context of migration. A longstanding advocate for children's rights and gender equality and empowerment, UNICEF works with governments and civil society partners to promote legislative and policy reform and to find practical solutions that address the vulnerabilities of children affected by migration, including unaccompanied or separated migrant children, and help them benefit from its development potential. UNICEF takes a human rights-based approach to help build capacity and promote public policies that protect children affected by migration, in countries of origin, transit and destination, regardless of migration status. Major concerns include: the economic and social impacts of migration and remittances on children; social inclusion; access to education, health care and other basic services including social protection; HIV/AIDS; sustainable development; and climate change. UNICEF upholds the right of children in the context of migration to participation in decisions affecting them and to protection from violence, exploitation, abuse, discrimination, xenophobia and human trafficking. UNICEF, in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, produces estimates of the number of migrant children and charts migration trends.

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United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD, the UN focal point for the integrated treatment of trade and development, aims, inter alia, to make migration work for development and the achievement of the MDGs. Under its three pillars (research and analysis, technical assistance and inter-governmental consensus-building), UNCTAD actively promotes coherence and global understanding by offering strategic policy analysis and practical solutions on the nexus between migration, trade and development as well as the impact of remittances on poverty in developing countries. In addition to key publications and holding related expert meetings, UNCTAD undertakes analytical work and provides advice and technical assistance to policy makers, trade negotiators, regulators and other stakeholders.

Specifically mandated areas are the contribution of migrants to development; the potential benefits and opportunities of trade, investment and developmental links between countries of origin of migrants and their communities abroad; maximizing the development gains of remittances, channeling migrant remittances to productive sectors of the economy and financial inclusion of migrants. UNCTAD also contributes to developing the knowledge base on migration, trade and development issues and trends through surveys, collecting migration-related data and information including on temporary and circular migration; gender-related migration; impact of economic crisis on migration and remittances, brain-drain and brain circulation. Specifically in the area of trade in services and its links to migration, UNCTAD's work also focuses on market access and regulatory issues, institutional frameworks to facilitate the temporary movement of natural persons at the multilateral (GATS Mode 4), regional and bilateral levels, as well as trade in labour intensive services and fostering skills development and recognition of qualifications. UNCTAD participates in the interagency Task Force on Statistics of International Trade in Services.

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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA)

UNDESA is the primary source of information on matters related to international migration and development for the General Assembly, ECOSOC and its functional commissions. UNDESA's activities in this area are part of its overall responsibilities for the analysis of development prospects globally, and aim at providing the foundation for the policy debate on maximizing the benefits of international migration for development. They include providing objective analyses of the causes and consequences of international migration; compiling, analyzing and disseminating statistics on international migration; working to improve the availability and comparability of those statistics; preparing the official United Nations estimates on global migration and, in collaboration with the Regional Commissions, monitoring national and regional policies on international migration.

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Thank you for your interest in the Global Migration Group.

Please be advised that following extensive system-wide consultations and the proposal by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration, the UN Secretary-General decided, at a meeting of the Executive Committee on 23 May 2018, to establish a UN Network on Migration, as a successor to the Global Migration Group, to ensure effective, coordinated system-wide support to the implementation of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.


The UN Network on Migration can be contacted via its Secretariat at