Migrants can be ‘transformative force’ for sustainable development

Published on 9 January 2024

Well-managed migration can enable migrants to boost sustainable development, new research shows.

Sustainable development means enhancing wellbeing in ways that equitably meet needs of present and future generations. Migration is often viewed as a threat to this – and to stability and security – while the benefits for migrants and host nations and regions are overlooked

The new research – a set of studies published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) – shows new policies are needed for managing migration to maximise sustainability, and to minimise involuntary displacement due to conflict or disasters. The studies are based on evidence from a variety of locations including Thailand, Pacific island nations, the world’s largest refugee camps, and European and American cities.

“Migrants can be a transformative force in their new locations, bringing energy and ideas that can boost economies – including the green transition,” said ACCESS Co-Investigator Professor Neil Adger, from the University of Exeter. “However, poorly managed migration can deepen inequality and increase environmental damage.”

Neil and several of the researchers involved in the new studies are working on the MISTY project, an international consortium led by the University of Exeter and funded by Belmont Forum.

The new studies are published in a PNAS special issue entitled: “Migration and sustainable development.”


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