Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy

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Your contribution makes it possible for the Center’s researchers to devise practical, evidence-based solutions for today’s most pressing development challenges.

We work to maximize the benefits of migration to destination and origin countries, expand the opportunities available to forcibly displaced people, and reform the humanitarian system to better serve the needs of those affected by conflict and crisis. We recognize that human mobility can have positive and negative effects, depending on policy choices. We therefore collaborate with policymakers around the world to create sustainable, pragmatic, and evidence-based policies for everyone on the move.

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Program Goals

The MDHP program works towards three primary goals: Maximize benefits of migration to destination and origin countries; expand the opportunities available to forcibly displaced people; and reform the humanitarian system to better serve affected people.

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Refugee workers baking in a kitchen
Expand the opportunities available to forcibly displaced people

We aim to change policy instruments and programming to better facilitate decent work for refugees.

01
Four construction workers at work
Maximize the benefits of migration to destination and origin countries

We aim to foster policy innovations that maximize the benefits of international migration, while shaping the conversation on the links between migration and development.

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UN Women at work in a small village; Source: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Reform the humanitarian system to better serve affected people

We aim to make the humanitarian system more responsive to the needs of people affected by conflict and crisis by investigating and shifting incentives within the system.

Program Goals

The MDHP program works towards three primary goals: Maximize benefits of migration to destination and origin countries; expand the opportunities available to forcibly displaced people; and reform the humanitarian system to better serve affected people.

01
Four construction workers at work
Maximize the benefits of migration to destination and origin countries

We aim to foster policy innovations that maximize the benefits of international migration, while shaping the conversation on the links between migration and development.

02
Refugee workers baking in a kitchen
Expand the opportunities available to forcibly displaced people

We aim to change policy instruments and programming to better facilitate decent work for refugees.

03
UN Women at work in a small village; Source: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Reform the humanitarian system to better serve affected people

We aim to make the humanitarian system more responsive to the needs of people affected by conflict and crisis by investigating and shifting incentives within the system.

A series of arrows pointing upward, teal and gold gradient background

Results and Impact

The research and outreach produced by CGD’s MDHP program has had a profound impact on the way that high-income countries support migrants, refugees, and displaced people around the world. We consistently work with partners and policymakers to see our recommendations put into practice.

In 2012, we developed the Global Skill Partnership model, which was specifically endorsed by 152 countries at the United Nations and is now being used to connect migrants with job opportunities in pilots around the world. The Talent Partnerships approach, recently announced by the European Union, also closely follows this model.

Our efforts to expand opportunities for people from Central America led to the US opening the door to Haitians following their earthquake, and ring-fencing thousands of H-2B visas in 2021. Influential papers have shifted the policy debate, such as our work on the impact of migration on local wages, the impact of development on migration, and the need to move towards an area-based humanitarian coordination model.