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Migration and Development in ECA Region

During the last three years crisis and post-crisis the Bank has been undertaking the challenge in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) to help countries with limited resources and migration policy improvement. Migration as an important phenomenon for the region has becoming more pronounced in the last decade with its significant contribution to foreign exchange earnings, economic growth and poverty reduction. This pattern is very distinct in many ECA countries, with a special attention to Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Increasingly, a large share of the labor force in many CIS countries is residing abroad. This could be as little as 5 percent or as large as one-third.

Many countries in the ECA region have experienced increasing inflows from migrant worker remittances over the past several years. Economic growth and poverty reduction achievements in most countries have been intertwined with migration and remittance trends.

The economic contractions in Russia and Kazakhstan have become the major source of concern to CIS countries. These Governments are seeking ways to cushion their economies from potential adverse effects. Among the issues that could negatively affect the current account position is a large-scale return of migrants and a decrease in remittance flows.

Understanding international agreements on migration, examining the signals that predict trends plus developing innovative approaches to migration management are among the topics that will be guiding ECA work on the issue. The migration program in ECA region is trying to help countries respond to policy, institutional and program challenges of migration and remittances in the quest for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. For this purpose was launched MiRPAL Program for development of a network in ECA region.

MIRPAL in ECA is to:
Take stock of what has been already done and what is being done now in migration area OR take stock of past and current activities in migration area. Learn lessons from initial activities of 2009-2011 (what has worked and what did not, good/bad practices). Develop strategic planning for migration work for ECA Region and Find human and financial resources to continue active engagement.

What is RMP and MIRPAL
Regional Migration Program is a 3-year (2010-2013) DFID-funded program that involves IOM, UN Women and the World Bank as implementers. Program frame and rationale was designed based on extensive DFID-funded regional review of Labor Migration (LM) issues, conducted by the Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and relied on initial experience of the World Bank in this area through the initial activities funded under the South-South Trust Funds and Innovation Grants. It is expected that the World Bank learns lessons from implementation of this Program and develops a clear view on how best to incorporate LM issues into the overall mandate of the World Bank’s work.

The WB will primarily deal with the first two components (with other implementing agencies also covering the other three). The World Bank plans to utilize the following 4 key areas of involvement in order to reach set objectives: Technical assistance; Analytical work; Knowledge management; and Advocacy and outreach.

Why Do We Need MiRPAL Network?
The Migration and Remittances Peer-Assisted Learning (MIRPAL)* Network is a community of migration and remittance practitioners and experts (government and non-government) and one of the tools/elements of the Bank’s program within RMP. MIRPAL builds on one of most successful method of knowledge transfer – creating a Community of Practice. In a nut-shell, MIRPAL is a peer-assisted learning network for migration practitioners in CIS countries and is set up to collect, analyze, deepen, create and share knowledge on migration issues as well as provide a forum for cross-country collaboration as a means to refine and harmonize approaches in order to initiate and guide CIS migration policies and practices. It also serves as a platform for South-South learning and exchange program.

Initiated in response to the global economic crisis of 2008, MIRPAL was launched in nine ECA countries belonging to “CIS country group”— Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — but could be extended to other countries of the ECA Region based on the lessons learned. It is planned to apply same pattern of work to other countries and sub-regions of ECA Region (e.g. Western Balkans and EU-10 countries).

Overall objectives
Apply the World Bank’s research and analytical capacity, cross-disciplinary expertise, and body of project work, which can constitute a laboratory for analyzing how migration process empowerment impacts poor people’s lives, to: Demonstrate how managed and regulated Migration process can contribute to economic and social development. Offer advice to countries on how to manage Migration process in their counties. Within the Bank build and share knowledge on Migration which would be applied to other parts of the world.

MIRPAL network has identified five key areas of interest including remittances as people migrate mainly to earn and send money to home country which is an important aspect of migration: Improving remittance and migration data collection in the CIS region; Introducing better regulation and new technologies in remittances; Increasing impact of migration and remittances on the poverty reduction; Maximizing macroeconomic benefits of migration and remittances; and Promoting Diasporas’ engagement as a source of economic development of migrant sending countries.

For more information please contact Sudharshan Canagarajah and Helena Makarenko

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