International Conference on ‘Mainstreaming Migration to the Development Agenda: The South Asian Experience

International Conference on ‘Mainstreaming Migration to the Development Agenda: The South Asian Experience’ was organized by IPS together with FES (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung), during 13-14 June, 2013.

Following the launch of the Sri Lanka Migration Profile earlier this year, this international conference was organized to explore the feasibility of mainstreaming migration policies in to the broader development agendas of the region.

The two day event saw delegates and migration experts from South Asia gathering to examine evidence from the region to make a feasible case for the mainstreaming of migration to the development agendas. Delivering the welcome address at the event, Ambassador for Germany in Sri Lanka, Dr. Jürgen Morhard, stated that the creation of a South Asian road map to better deal with migration is essential for the future. Reiterating these sentiments, Chief Guest at the event, Hon. Dr. Sarath Amunugama – Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation, pressed upon the fact that a balanced review of migration was essential if we are to improve upon the quantities and quality of workers going overseas for employment.

Dr. Humayun Kabir, Vice President of the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), and Guest of Honourat the event, added that in light of the Millennium Development Goals and the organization and planning surrounding the post-2015 development agendas in South Asia, discussions regarding the marrying of migration policy with that of development couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment. He added that Bangladesh has indeed included migration in to its post-2015 development agenda.

Executive Director of the IPS, Dr. Saman Kelegama, stated that as a major labour exporting region, South Asia is guilty of having addressed the linkages between migration and development in piecemeal actions rather than as part of a broader strategy. Dr. Kelegama stated that this has, in the past, been fuelled by a lack of data regarding migration and because the management of migration was fragmented across various ministries and authorities. He welcomed this international conference as a step towards the integration migration and development, and as a way forward for the region to capitalize on the benefits while mitigating the negative impacts of migration.

Ambassador Nihal Rodrigo, former SAARC Secretary-General, also spoke at the inception of the event and asked the participants to consider the human aspect of migration, one that sees many fragmented families, exploitation, and abuse. A proper regulatory framework that looks as at migration and development from a wide perspective will be essential if we are to prevent the social fall-out of increased out-migration.

The International Conference on the ‘Mainstreaming Migration to the Development Agenda: the South Asian Experience’ also saw the presentation of country studies from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Afghanistan; as well as a look at the overall South Asian situation.


Highlights in the Media

Daily Mirror, 17th June 2013

Daily Island, 17th June, 2013

Daily FT, 15th June, 2013