About the JMDI

The Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) reflects the acceptance of and growing interest in the strong links between Migration and Development (M&D) and aims to support M&D actors to effectively harness the potential of migration for development. The programme is implemented by UNDP and five agencies IOMILOUNHCRUNFPA and UN Women contribute to the programme with their institutional knowledge, expertise and extensive networks to ensure its success.

From 2008 to 2012, the JMDI sought to provide policy-makers and practitioners with evidence-based recommendations in the field of M&D. These recommendations were based on the practical experiences drawn from small scale actors having received financial and technical support through the JMDI. To consult the 51 projects implemented in 16 countries, please click here. The lessons learned and experiences were fed into policy-making and helped shaping the M&D agenda.

The JMDI has found that the effectiveness of interventions in this field largely depends on the identification and establishment of strategic partnerships between civil society organizations and governments at decentralised levels. The most successful and sustainable M&D interventions identified by the JMDI are those with strong anchorage with the local governments in countries of origin and destination, in line with the essential local-to-local dimension of the M&D nexus. When local authorities share a common vision with civil society partners, they develop a sense of ownership over projects that lead them to commit time, energy and resources, which effectively contribute to the success and sustainability of an M&D initiative. For these reasons, the drivers and impact of migration are often most strongly felt at the local level, be it in terms of effects on the local labour market, the size and demographic of the local population, or the need for public service provision. This is why provinces and local authorities are strategic levels of governments to be involved, making consultations and agreement with sub-national levels of governments particularly important for the civil society.

However, in general terms, local governments have not received the same level of attention as other stakeholders, while their involvement and potential impact on the connections between migration and development is crucial.

Against this background and building on the accomplishments and lessons learned, the European Commission and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation expressed their interest to fund a new programme that would focus on the role and needs of local authorities to effectively link migration and development. As a consequence, the JMDI started implementing new activities as of December 2012 with a view to strengthening the contribution of migration to development by reinforcing its local dimension. 

Expected outcomes of the new JMDI programme 

-  To move from isolated and individual approaches towards more structured forms of interventions through the identification of promising initiatives from local authorities in partnership with civil society organizations in selected countries that will be scaled up to maximise impact on local development.

-  To reinforce the capacities of selected local administrations to effectively link migration and development, with a specific focus on facilitating increased coordination within local authorities’ administration in order to maximise their ability to grasp the potential of migration for development;

-  To connect local authorities globally with each other and with other stakeholders and facilitate partnerships (between local authorities in countries of origin and destination of migration, migrant and refugee associations, the private sector, the social partners etc.) to reinforce local authorities’ potential to become active players in the field of migration and development.

Technical and financial support to local M&D initiatives through the JMDI 

In each of the eight countries targeted by the new phase of the programme (Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Nepal and the Philippines), the JMDI is supporting already on-going initiatives linking migration and development promoted by local authorities or involving them as partners along with civil society organizations. The objective is that selected initiatives reach larger impact and sustainability with financial and technical support from the JMDI. This includes expanding the geographical coverage of an on-going initiative or on the contrary deepening within the same geographical area of intervention a set of activities which are more promising or with a higher potential for sustainability. The intention is to reach a ‘tipping point’ whereby the results are owned by the stakeholders and innovation becomes institutionalized.

The initiatives were selected following a competitive process, whereby each initiative submitted to the JMDI was assessed on its own merit and on the expected development impact at local level. The initiatives had to meet (some or all of) the following criteria:

-Initiatives that are part of local strategic plans and in compliance with nationals policies;
-Initiatives in regions with high emigration rates, and/or large immigrant populations or transitory migrant flows;
-Initiatives using innovative methodologies with a potential for being replicated in a structured context;
-Initiatives implemented by meaningful consortia made of civil society organizations and local authorities. Specific attention will be brought to initiatives which include social partners and the private sector who have a crucial role to play in development processes;
-On-going initiatives implemented by consortia of local authorities in countries of origin and destination of migration;
-Initiatives which are supported by strong commitment of local authorities;
-South-South partnerships will be specifically favored;
-Initiatives that have been shown to meaningfully include gender aspects of migration and involve women’s organizations as well as focus on young men and women.


Following the decision of the National Selection Committees set up in the eight target countries of the JMDI and the validation by the Programme Steering Committee, two projects were selected in each country (please click here for a brief overview of the selected projects across the eight JMDI target countries).

The selected initiatives will be monitored to ensure successful delivery and collection of lessons learned and then disseminated at international level. Throughout the programme, the JMDI will ensure that governments – both at national and local level – feel ownership over the activities and that a stronger dialogue and cooperation with the civil society is established, thereby maximising the impact and sustainability of the JMDI-funded projects.

The JMDI has also started to identify capacity building needs for both local governments and civil society and will design a state of the art training material for interested local actors based on these. This training tool will be adjusted to a global audience and specific modules will be made available through the M4D Net.

About the M4D website  

This website puts at your disposal a Migration for Development Network (M4D-Net) where you can become an active member and interact with other professionals and academics, share knowledge and good practices and find contacts and information on essential M&D issues. The JMDI warmly encourages you to join the network by registering as an individual or an organization here. The featured projectsknowledge products and documents, news, and the e-learning tool, are useful resources that can support your M&D initiatives.

In line with the objectives of the new phase, the JMDI has added a new section to the website, M4D Goes Local which explores the local dimensions of migration and development. The website aims to stimulate dialogue, facilitate the exchange of ideas about current M&D debates through regular e-discussions  and blogs.

The JMDI Facebook page also provides you with day to day snippets of news, articles, publications and is a space where our M4D-Net members can promote their initiatives or share information.