Case Study #9: The key role of academia in supporting the mainstreaming of migration into local development planning
This case study forms part of a series of case studies on good practices, lessons learnt and recommendations extracted from the projects supported by the UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) to enhance migration management for local development. The experience of the JMDI shows that the most effective initiatives are anchored with local or regional authorities and carried out in a multi-stakeholder and participatory approach, including migrants and migrants’ associations or diaspora. This is increasingly important given global trends of increasing decentralization and urbanization with urban areas being the destination of choice for most migrants and displaced persons. Thus the series aims to provide local actors with tools and ideas to take on this role as many can lack the means, human and financial resources, know-how or necessary support to tap into the local development potential of migration.
This case study looks at how schools, education centres and universities can support local and regional authorities integrate migration into the education and research sector as part of a broader process of mainstreaming migration into local development planning. This is particularly crucial in areas where ‘culture’ of emigration has become the norm and planning to work or live overseas starts at an early age. Mainstreaming migration and local development issues into school programmes and academic activities can enhance understanding and awareness of both the negative and positive aspects of migration and better prepare prospective migrants in order to enhance the development potential of their chosen migratory paths. Finally, this can also enhance the awareness and capacities of academia on the importance of research in this area that will feed into enhanced local and national policy making in migration and development in general. While local governments are key actors in managing migration for development at the local level given that they are the direct providers of services related to the needs of migrants and prospective migrants, establishing a multi-stakeholder partnership with other strategic actors mobilizes more capacities, resources, expertise and knowledge. This case study highlights the strategic role that the academia can play in this regard.