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Migration can be a key development enabler for both source and destination countries – but the potential benefits depend upon the realisation of migrants’ capabilities and rights. This was the starting point for a two-day conference hosted by CARE International UK and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London on Women Migration and Development: Investing in the Future on the 18th and 19th July, 2014.

Among a group of global experts, including UN Women, the ILO and the World Bank, IOM panellists highlighted how integrating migration in the post-2015 agenda, and improving migrant health, can help leverage the positive development outcomes of migration. Addressing participants, Barbara Rijks from the IOM Migration Health Division outlined the importance of health to enhance migrants’ personal well-being, that of their families, and communities of origin and destination. “Addressing migration related health challenges, including ensuring migrants’ equitable access to health services, are important priorities in reaching global socio-economic development goals,” noted Rijks.

Discussing the health risks migrants face while working and living in hazardous environments, which are often characterized by discrimination and insecurity, Rijks commented that direct health costs for migrants remain high.

Ensuring that migration is a core part of the future international development agenda was one of the key priorities for debate during the conference. Additional priorities included the need for regional approaches to migration that seek to ensure both source and destination countries reap the benefits. This was highlighted through CARE’s EMPHASIS project that helped build linkages between India, Nepal and Bangladesh to improve migrant healthcare services (including anti-retroviral treatment) and financial flows across borders. The conference participants also focused on the need for states to ratify and implement relevant international and regional standards to protect migrants. This was considered particularly important in sectors dominated by women migrants such as ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers.

Jill Helke, IOM’s Head of International Cooperation and Partnerships, in her keynote speech, reiterated the importance of focusing on migration issues post-2015 and ensuring that it is viewed as a cross-cutting theme. Concluding her speech, she highlighted that one in seven people today are on the move, in what is one of the oldest survival strategies.

For further information, please contact Jenniffer Dew at IOM UK, Tel: +44 207 811 6035