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 further fund the JMDI to 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 JMDI

  • 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.

Identifying locally-led M&D initiatives to be scaled up


A mapping exercise was carried out to identity locally-led M&D initiatives and to recommend those that had the potential to be up-scaled to enhance their impact and development potential.

Upon completion of this mapping exercise, the JMDI, together with its donors the EC and SDC, came to a consensus on which countries to target: Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Nepal and the Philippines.

A further identification process of locally-led M&D initiatives was then carried out and finally a selection process held where all the identified and interested initiatives were analysed

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 favoured;
  • 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.

On going JMDI Projects

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 Committeetwo projects were selected in each country.

The below table outlines the projects that the JMDI is now currently supporting. 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. For a more detailed summary of each of the projects, click here.



Project title

Main objective(s)

Partner organization


JMDI Funding

Costa Rica


Canton of Upala: Migration as a facilitator for inclusive human development

Contribute to the improvement of quality of life of the populations that live on the border, particularly transnational workers, youth and women, by strengthening the capacities of social actors in the area in order to enhance their development actions.

Municipality of Upala

22 Months

USD 230,000.00

Integrating migration as a factor for inclusive development in the Los Santos region

Promote integration and respect of migrants’ rights in the sub-region of Los Santos through the improvement of their employment conditions, enhanced assistance, their participation in public policy dialogue and the promotion of social cohesion.

Municipality of Leon Cortes

21 Months

USD 162,000.00


Facilitating human mobility by reinforcing the capacities of the Decentralized Autonomous Governments of Northern Ecuador

Contribute to the creation of synergies and institutional capacity for the Decentralized Autonomous Governments in Northern Ecuador that promote and enhance the impact of the implementation of the Regional development plan for the prevention, assistance and restitution of the rights of migrants.

Provincial Government of Imbabura

21 Months

USD 230,000.00

Pichincha, an inclusive approach to the integration of people experiencing human mobility

Contribute to the promoting the realisation of the rights of refugees and returnees in Pichincha by strengthening their social, productive and cultural capacities through an integral human development approach.

Provincial Government of Pichinca

18 Months

USD 230,000.00

El Salvador

Supporting youth entrepreneurship in 7 municipalities of Morazan to mitigate emigration and support local development

Contribute to reducing migration and social risks of youth through the generation of self-employment and taking advantage of the endogenous potential of the 7 municipalities of Morazán.

Foundation: Agency for Local Economic Development of Morazan

18 Months

USD 230,000.00

Creating alternatives to migration by fostering economic development in the department of La Unión

Promote local economic development in the municipalities of Conchagua, Intipucá and El Carmen by strengthening the value chains in the tourism and artisanal fishing industries through the support of Salvadorian diaspora.

Association: Agency for Local Economic Development for the Department of La Unión

20 Months

USD 230,000.00


Preserving the Figuig Palm for local economic development with the support of the Moroccan diaspora

Enhancing productivity of the Figuig palm fields in order to enhance local economic development through the reinforcement of the capacities of the diaspora and local development actors

Association of Agricultural Cooperatives of Figuig, Association Migration and Development

21 Months

USD 230,000.00


Connecting territories through migration and development

To reinforce the capacities and the role of migrants in the local development of Morocco, in partnership with other local actors.

Association Migration and Development

21 Months

USD 230,000.00



Safer remittances and improved livelihoods project (SRIL)

To enhance the livelihoods status of seasonal migrant families and their communities

Oxfam Nepal

21 Months

USD 230,000.00

Local responsiveness on Migration

To develop and sustain local migration and governance coordination structures and foster the migrant communities’ contribution to development through income generating activities.

Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee

20 Months

USD 230,000.00

The Philippines

Mainstreaming migration and development into the governance of local authorities in the Bicol Region

To localize, mainstream and actualize migration and development issues and projects among key provinces, cities and municipalities in the Bicol Region.

City Government of Naga

21 Months

USD 250,000.00

Strengthening, upscaling and mainstreaming International Migration and Development (SUMMID)

To strengthen, upscale and mainstream migration and development at the local level through inclusive and sustainable programmes that will minimized social cost and maximize gains of overseas migration.


Regional Development Council for Region 4A

21 Months

USD 230,000.00


Linking migrants, local authorities, investors and economic actors for local development

Consolidate and disseminate support tools to the economic projects under the STEP initiative in order to enhance their local development impact in Djourbel

Regional Agency for Development of Djourbel, Committee of Women Entrepreneurs of Venice, Italy

21 Months

USD 230,000.00

Supporting co-development initiatives for local economic development in the Sedhiou region

Promote the development of local migration and development policies and subsequent co-development projects though a gender based approach

Regional Agency for Development of Sedhiou

18 Months

USD 230,000.00


Health for all: Shared governance of a social health system between Italy and Tunisia

Improve the social and health conditions in the marginalized zones of Tunisia through the support of the Tunisian diaspora in Tuscany

Red Crescent Tunisia, Cooperation for Development in Emerging Countries (COSPE), Italy

21 Months

USD 230,000.00

Improving the livelihoods of rural women in Jilma, Sidi Bouzid, with the support of the Tunisian diaspora in France

Promote agricultural activity in marginalized areas through support from the Tunisian diaspora

Association Tunisiens des Deux Rives Tunisie

21 Months

USD 46,000.00



The selected initiatives are being monitored to ensure successful delivery and collection of lessons learned and then disseminated at international level. Throughout the programme, the JMDI is ensuring 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 identified capacity building needs for both local governments and civil society and is currently designing 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.

Connecting you through the M4D Net

This website puts at your disposal aMigration for Development Network (M4D-Net) where you can become an active member and interact with other local actors, 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 JMDI’s focus on the local level, a new section was added 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, and publications and is a space where our M4D-Net members can promote their initiatives or share information.