At the structural level, focus should be on ensuring that reintegration is embedded in national migration and development strategies and relevant sectoral policies in the country of origin. This is done through the revision and upgrade of policy frameworks or through the development of reintegration-friendly policies. This is specifically relevant for countries of origin who have a significant number of returning migrants.
Supporting sustainable reintegration requires a whole-of-government approach and should be reflected throughout national and local legislation, policies and programmes. Ideally, reintegration is a component of a national migration mainstreaming process (see box below). However, even without a larger migration mainstreaming process, reintegration can be integrated into relevant sectoral frameworks, policies and strategies (see Table 4.8) at the national and local level.
Embedding reintegration within relevant policy processes aims to:
- Adopt a more comprehensive approach towards migration planning, because return migration, reintegration and development affect each other;
- Harness the benefits of sustainable reintegration for development of individuals and societies in a systematic manner, especially when there are high numbers of returnees;
- Allocate resources more efficiently to meet nationally defined priorities, including reintegration;
- Facilitate coordination among national and local actors around return and reintegration activities; and
- Implement coordinated policies and actions.
Migration mainstreaming is “the process of assessing the implications of migration on any action (or goals) planned in a development and poverty reduction strategy.” (IOM, 2010, p. 16).
This process should include mainstreaming return and reintegration into legislation, policies and programmes at all levels. It means integrating reintegration concerns into all stages of development planning, including design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
The United Nations Joint Programme on Mainstreaming Migration into National Development Strategies has developed online training material on Mainstreaming Migration into Policy Development that provides more information on this process.
Whenever possible, strategies for migration mainstreaming should be developed in partnership with key stakeholders. This can improve commitment and clarity for all involved and improve cost-efficiency via potential cost-sharing arrangements. Similarly, it is important for governments of countries of origin and for reintegration organizations to include reintegration programmes in development frameworks and strategies. Examples of these would be national development strategies or United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks, national employment policies and strategies, poverty reduction strategies and comprehensive migration policies. International organizations with expertise and experience in mainstreaming migration into national or international frameworks are often well-placed to support governments in this process. The effort requires in-depth understanding of objectives and priorities of various line ministries and knowledge of sectoral policies and how they intersect with reintegration and migration management.
Successfully mainstreaming return and reintegration into national and local migration and development strategies and other relevant policies requires certain preconditions to be in place in the country of origin (see Table 4.7 below).
Table 4.7: Preconditions for successfully mainstreaming return and reintegration into policy frameworks
|Strong high-level political support
|High-level political actors should be motivated to make mainstreaming return and reintegration into the country’s agenda a priority. This will assist in securing active participation by relevant national and local-level actors and sustaining the process.
|National and local ownership
|The government in the country of origin must be the lead actor in the mainstreaming process, so that its priorities are accounted for and the outcomes are sustainable over the long term. Whenever possible all levels of government should be involved.
|Inclusive participation based on clear roles
|Key stakeholders such as groups of returnees, migrant community groups, diaspora groups, civil society, academics, employers’ associations and development partners need to become partners in the mainstreaming process to bring in different perspectives, new information and data, political and social support and funding. Broad participation supports a process that is not driven by a single government institution or a few individuals. Inclusive participation requires the respective roles and responsibilities of different actors to be clearly specified.
|Developing a shared understanding of objectives helps avoid divergent agendas being pursued. To establish and maintain a coherent agenda, promote a clear vision, transparency and regular dialogue between stakeholders.
|Define and follow feasible time frames
|Providing sufficient time for reflection, gathering of evidence and consensusbuilding will avoid unrealistic expectations and allow for flexibility and learning throughout the process.
In most contexts, all the above conditions will not be perfectly met. However, some can be advanced through the advocacy, technical expertise and capacity-building that is provided by the lead reintegration organization and its partners.
Mainstreaming efforts at the national and local levels should always follow a structured approach. Figure 4.5 below depicts a process flow for the design, implementation and monitoring of a mainstreaming plan. It can be used in contexts where return and reintegration is integrated into existing policies and strategies or in contexts where governments are currently planning (or may in the future) the development of a strategy or policy.
Figure 4.5: Step-by-step process for mainstreaming return and reintegration into migration and development strategies and policies
|2. Scoping exercise
|3. Goal setting
|4. Action planning
Potential opportunities for reintegration mainstreaming
Mainstreaming reintegration and return should not be limited to migration and development strategies but can be applied to all sectoral policies and strategies that could be relevant for national governance of return and reintegration. A selection of the key sectoral policies and their potential relevance for mainstreaming efforts is provided below:
Table 4.8: Potential mainstreaming opportunities in different sectoral policies and strategies
|Potential mainstreaming opportunities
|Education and training
|Health and wellbeing
|Gender and LGBTI
|Environment and climate change adaptation
|Business and Finance