HELVETAS Regional Workshop on M&D in South Asia

HELVETAS Regional Workshop on M&D in South Asia

​October 2016

Katrin Rosenberg, Claudia Paixão, Pascal Fendrich, Advisor in Migration and Development, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

HELVETAS used the context of the upcoming Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Dhaka in Bangladesh in December 2016, to mobilise its programmes and partners on the issue of Migration and Development (M&D). It took this opportunity to organise an internal workshop on M&D, with a focus on South Asian dynamics, in Kathmandu, Nepal in the first week of October 2016. The workshop gathered more than 25 participants of different HELVETAS country programmes (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and partner organisations from the regions, who are active at national and regional levels. The workshop combined three different objectives: first deepen the knowledge of the M&D nexus and build a common understanding. Second, discuss the linkages between migration, skills and development. A third part of the workshop focused on advocacy and regional policy dialogue.  

The first block of the workshop allowed participants to deepen their understanding of M&D concepts and operational approaches to promote the nexus. This first part also allowed participants to discuss different migration patterns that characterize their work contexts and share their already acquired experiences on integrating mobility into their respective projects/programs. This led participants to present their approaches to promote safe labour migration, to link skills with migration dynamics in the context of cross-border and internal migration and also to discuss in depth how mobility was considered in a programme focusing on gender and climate change.

Populated migration cycle

The second block proposed to deal with the linkages between skills, and migration and development, the former being identified as one possible key vector for promoting and harvesting the benefits of migration for development. This allowed to discuss in particular the approaches of SaMi Nepal (Safer Migration project funded by SDC) to provide skills trainings for safer and informed migration. The discussions also went beyond the concept of “skills for migration”, covering the issues of skills recycling and employability in the case of returns. Participants’ inputs also served to lay the ground for HELVETAS’ “Learning Expedition” (i.e. learning project) that is currently being conducted on the topic skills and migration.

Group discussion

The final block of the workshop concentrated on policy dialogue and advocacy. Gathering different categories of actors working in different locations and at different levels (including for instance the Government of Nepal), the workshop gave a great opportunity to exchange on how to bring the experiences assembled at local level to the regional discussions and promote increased national and regional collaborations for that purpose. Following an introduction of regional and international processes such as the Colombo Process, the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, SAARC or the GFMD, Migrant Forum Asia (MFA) introduced and facilitated thematic exchanges. Discussions underlined the need for securing spaces for civil society participation in regional frameworks but also the need for strengthened collaboration between CSOs for that purpose. Continued collaboration and “socialisation” between CSOs should maximize complementarities and regional synergies. Afterwards, group work allowed in this context to identify a number of common issues for regional exchanges.
The workshop constituted a great opportunity for developing a common understanding on M&D concepts and implications between country programmes and partners on its many implications for ongoing work. It also paved the way for further collaboration in the future. All actors look forward to coming exchanges which will, for some of them, take place in December 2016 in Dhaka on the occasion of the Peoples’ Global Action (PGA) and the GFMD civil society days.