in: Thomas Fues / Jiang Ye (eds.), United Nations Post-2015 Agenda for global development: perspectives from China and Europe, Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), 311-322
Migration stands among the most politically contentious topics in the United Nations (UN) system. This is shown in the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which reflect an approach to human development that does not involve human mobility. Efforts made to promote discussion on the linkages between migration and development in the UN have – since the turn of the millennium – resulted in two UN High-Level Dialogue sessions, the last of which was held in September 2013. These were supported and informed by accompanying processes convening diplomats, experts and other key stakeholders.
Building on these efforts, the most recent UN General Assembly felt that migration should be “adequately considered” in the formulation of a post-2015 agenda on global development. Past policy discussions have, however, narrowed the topic of migration to its more functionalist dimensions. Such a functionalist view would involve a choice for particular non-contentious symptoms of migration (e.g. the cost of sending money overseas) and would fall short of adequately reflecting migration as a key element of sustainable development. In order to overcome functionalist perceptions on migration and development, post-2015 related discussions should also pay attention to the following migration aspects: migrants’ rights as well as living and working conditions, internal migration, environmental change and migration, low-skilled migration and circular migration.