How can policy makers best support people’s livelihoods in the context of migration? What policies can enhance social protection in the context of transnational networks? How can policy makers link migration and development to both reduce push factors as well as support the use of migrant remittances for social development?
This report analyses migration in Ecuador where historically, and due to more recent financial crises, huge waves of migrants have left for other countries. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2004 alone 1.5 million Ecuadorians migrated to Europe. This is a significant trend in Ecuador which is the second smallest Latin American country, with a population of about 12.1 million. Weakness in the Ecuadorian agricultural sector and limited social development in rural areas are identified as principle push factors in migration.
The paper identifies four key areas of intervention that link sustainable livelihoods, migration and development:
- promotion of rural development and creation of jobs in SMEs;
- protection of migrants’ household members, migrants and immigrants;
- enhance and promote collective utilisation of remittances;
- reinforce the institutional capacity of the government in dealing with migration issues.
The report considers co-development between various stakeholders in the following ways:
- current and potential cooperation with the European Commission in areas such as the support of SMEs, micro-credit schemes and improving the education system in rural areas;
- co-development between Ecuadorian civil society and INGOs; developing programmes that encourage the use of remittances for social purposes, especially the potential of collective remittances;
- developing the role of the church;
- the growing awareness by local authorities of the role of migration for development;
- need for coherent governance between NGOs, local authorities and central government as well as the need to strengthen local ownership of projects;
- current co-development projects between Ecuador and Spain in the context of transnational networks;
- urban co-development projects which provide legal and psychological support to household members left behind, especially youth, and which provide support to migrant’s families for starting micro enterprises.
Popular education radio is presented as case study for best practice for stakeholder co-operation in linking migration and development. The report advocates a human rights approach to integrated co-development; whereby development should not be viewed as an instrument to make migrants return home or as a tool to promote migration. Migration flows must be improved to protect both those that remain and those that are left behind. Co-development should therefore be based on an equal participation of both European and local NGOs and have an integrated approach.