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Social protection and migration

Synergies in action to improve resilience and reduce poverty in rural areas










FAO and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. 2021. Social protection and migration – Synergies in action to improve resilience and reduce poverty in rural. Rome, FAO.




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    Exploring the links between migration, agricultural and rural transformation processes is an area where FAO has a comparative advantage thanks to its strong technical expertise and close relationship with governments and relevant stakeholders. The project "Reducing distress migration through local value chain development", funded by the Italian Development Cooperation, aims to address the root causes of distress rural out-migration of youth, by creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities along food value chains and strengthening linkages with existing social protection programmes.
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    Migration is part of the development process and can contribute to achieving food and nutrition security, although tangible benefits and opportunities are maximized when adequate policies are in place and decent working conditions are ensured. The relation between migration, food security and nutrition is complex and very much context-specific. On the one hand, food and nutrition insecurity is among the root causes of migration out of rural areas, together with other socio-economic factors. On the other hand, migration can have different impacts – positive or negative – on the four dimensions of food security. Strengthening policy coherence is crucial to harness the development potential of migration for food security and nutrition. In particular, policy interventions need to both reduce the pressure to migrate, by addressing the root causes of migration, and ensure safe, orderly and regular movements of people. This guidance note illustrates policy changes that have proved successful in ensuring greater synergy between the rural migration and food security and nutrition policy agendas.

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    Rural migration in sub-Saharan Africa: patterns, drivers and relation to structural transformation
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    Sub-Saharan Africa has a long history of internal and international migratory movements. Migration patterns and dynamics from, to and between rural areas are profoundly differentiated across regions, and flows have considerably evolved over time. Yet, more recently, rural migration takes place in the unique situation of a major rural and urban demographic increase, which results in critical socio-economic and environmental challenges. In this context, intertwined migration drivers emerge and call for a better understanding of on-going dynamics. This working paper draws on a combination of literature review and data analysis, building on the results of the Atlas "Rural Africa in motion. Dynamics and drivers of migration South of the Sahara". This mixed approach is used to propose a conceptual framework based on past, current and future drivers of migration, then to examine observed patterns of rural migration and finally to discuss drivers’ characteristics and dynamics from case studies and existing datasets.

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