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Policy and institutional coherence

Public policies play a key role in maximising the benefits and minimising the costs of migration, both in countries of origin and destination. Beyond designing policies directly aimed at regulating flows, integrating immigrants and optimising the impact of migration on development – for example, through channelling remittances towards productive investment, promoting brain circulation and mobilising diasporas – policy makers also need to consider the interactions between migration policies and other public policies. The purpose of the Thematic Working Group (TWG) on Policy and Institutional Coherence is to address the coherence of policies and actions oriented towards migration and development (M&D).

The topic of policy and institutional coherence has been an important part of the international discussion on migration and development, figuring prominently on the agenda of the Global Forum on Migration and Development. Nevertheless, coherence within the field of M&D is still an emerging field of research. Against this background, the overall objective of the Thematic Working Group on Policy and Institutional Coherence is to examine the benefits, as well as the costs, associated with enhancing the coherence of policies and institutions for migration and development. In particular, the working group seeks to establish a set of “coherence criteria” that will help identify good practices on how to manage conflicting interests, objectives and trade-offs in the realm of migration and development-related policy making.

Key Questions

  1. How can effective multi-stakeholder partnerships be fostered?
  2. What are some of the conflicting policy priorities that greater coherence could help address in both origin and destination countries?
  3. What are the drivers/incentives for greater policy and institutional coherence at all levels of governance?  What is the value added of policy coherence?
  4. Are there indicators that adequately measure policy and institutional coherence?
  5. How can bilateral partnerships and regional agreements facilitate greater policy coherence?  How can development organizations and UN agencies support policy coherence on migration?

Planned Activities (at three levels)


Within countries:

  • Identify obstacles to including all segments of society in debate and decision-making.
  • Assess the value added of multi-stakeholder partnerships.
  • Study the impact of incorporating migration into country and bilateral strategies, and develop related case studies.
  • Highlight the benefits of greater policy and institutional coherence.
  • Identify institutional structures that are conducive to policy coherence.
  • Map and prepare a typology of practices.

Between countries:

  • Prepare a study on the functioning of regional and bilateral cooperation agreements and how they have fostered coherence.
  • Develop a diagnostic tool to assess migration policies Commission a study on the impact of contradictory policies.
  • Estimate the cost of the study and prepare case studies.
  • Assess the applicability of policy coherence indicators developed in other fields to migration.
  • Review available data on policy coherence, focusing on progress made in improving coherence.

Across fields:

  • Highlight how migration issues cut across governance levels, especially in developing rights-based approaches, managing supply and demand, and promoting consultative processes.
  • Study the relationship between migration and high level processes, such as the post-2015 development agenda.