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Transatlantic dialogues on migration and development issues: Lessons from the Mexico-US and Morocco-EU experiences

The International Migration Institute has been awarded a grant by The German Marshall Fund of the United States to facilitate a transatlantic dialogue among policy makers and scholars, based on a systematic comparison of US – Mexico and EU – Morocco migration and development experiences.

Mexico and Morocco share many migratory features as they are both located on the world’s main South-North migration corridors and are the focus of policy concerns on how migration can be mobilized for the development of countries of origin. Policy makers in both sending and receiving countries continue to struggle to get to grips with issues around management of (irregular) migration and how best to mobilise migration and remittances for national development. Policies aiming at migration management and exploiting the development potentials of migration (commonly seen as a means to reduce migration) often fail because they are based on a one-sided ‘Northern’ understanding of the complex inter-linkages between migration and development and a limited exposure of policy makers to migration realities on the ground.

This project will establish a unique transatlantic / South-North dialogue on migration and development issues. This will be achieved by organising a workshop and simultaneously a programmed study tour in Mexico in March 2009. The study tour will include visits to two migrant sending regions in Mexico. The workshop and study tour will involve key policy makers, civil society actors and scholars from Morocco, Mexico, the US and the EU. Subject to future funding, a similar workshop and study tour is planned for Morocco in 2010.

By bringing together perspectives from North and South, and by comparing South-North migration and development experiences across the Atlantic, the field trips and discussions with local stakeholders will serve to improve understanding of the realities of issues around migration management and the impact of migration on development in countries and regions of origin. A report and policy briefs in English, Spanish and French will be disseminated throughout the year to ensure a continuous dialogue with relevant stakeholders and target populations.

The project will benefit from the collaboration with the Unidad Académica en Estudios del Desarrollo (UAED), or Development Studies Academic Unit, at the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico, and the Department of Geography of the Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco. Their involvement will greatly contribute to the successful outcome of the project as both partners are leading research centres committed to the generation of academic knowledge on migration and development and to the exploration of the migration patterns between Mexico and Morocco, respectively, and the countries to the North.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States is an American institution that stimulates the exchange of ideas and promotes cooperation between the United States and Europe in the spirit of the postwar Marshall Plan.