Migration for Development Virtual Fair

01 Jan 2010

“Migration can be a positive and empowering experience for migrants themselves, and for both the home and host societies” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, on his message addressing International Migrants day, commemorated on 18 December, 2009.

New Horizons - Drawing positive links between migration and development, the first Migration for Development Virtual Fair, also known as M4D Virtual Fair, took place from November 2-3, 2009. Unlike the conventional ‘fair’, this took place in a cyber setting in which people from all over the globe were able to participate. The fair was organized by the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) which is a strategic partnership between United Nations and European Commission, and provides an online platform for virtual tourists to view online exhibitions and post questions to key figures from international organizations and civil societies.

The virtual fair provides its tourists with an exhibition consisting of over 50 civil society led initiatives about the constructive influences of migration on development that are taking place in 60 different countries. The virtual exhibition also enables users to directly share their own migration and development (M&D) initiatives by allowing them to post their projects as a part of the exhibition. Through this, a global platform is created in which global projects on M&D are shared, by providing real examples of the positive relation between migration and development. There is also a ‘resources’ section at the virtual fair which allows users to access and share various resources about migration and development including presentations, conference notes and reports. Interaction is further promoted through M4D TV, a daily blog and a quiz. Participants are able to use M4D TV to watch videos of key figures from international organizations and civil societies as well as post questions directly to them. The daily blog is also a site for interaction as users are allowed to post comments, discussions and debates relating to migration and development may take place.

The Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) is the organizer of the Migration for Development Virtual Fair. JMDI is a 3-year programme implemented by UNDP, UNHCR, UNFPA, ILO and IOM with a budget of €15 million to support civil society organizations and local authorities seeking to contribute to linking migration and development. The JMDI aims to do this through three main exercises: setting up and reinforcing networks of actors working on migration and development; identifying good practice in this field and sharing information on what actually works at the local and international level; supporting policy-making on migration and development. Under this framework, the Migration for Development Virtual Fair acts as a site for the effective exercising of these aims.

The full potential of migration as an avenue for human development is also quintessential to UNDP’s 2009 Global Human Development Report. 'Overcoming barriers: human mobility and development' argues that migration can benefit all concerned—from the migrant families to source and destination communities. The report thus, lays out a core package of reforms, six ‘pillars’ that call for opening existing entry channels for more workers, ensuring basic human rights for migrants, lowering the transaction costs of migration, finding collaborative solutions that benefit both destination communities and migrants, easing restrictions on internal migration, and finally, adding migration as a component for origin countries’ development strategies.

For more information about the Migration for Development Virtual Fair click here.
For more information about UNDP’s 2009 Global Human Development report, please click here.