1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development, Transformative Social Policy

South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub

  • Project from: 2019 to 2023

The UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub addresses the complex and currently intractable problem of how to ensure that South-South migration reduces inequalities and contributes to delivery of the SDGs, especially SDGs 1 (poverty), 5 (gender inequality), 8 (decent work) and 10 (inequalities).

The Research Issue in Context

Migration between the countries of the Global South, also referred to as South-South migration, accounts for nearly half of all international migration, nearly 70% in some places. South-South migration has great potential to contribute to development and delivery of the SDGs. Yet this potential remains unrealized, largely due to existing inequalities at the global, national and local levels; inequalities which determine who is (and is not) able to migrate, where to, and under which terms and conditions. These multidimensional inequalities are associated with a lack of rights for migrants and their families; difficult, expensive and sometimes dangerous journeys; and limited opportunities to access services and protection, which can, in turn, exacerbate inequalities. This research hub explores how and why multidimensional inequalities create and constrain the opportunities and benefits of South-South migration.

Research Objective

The Hub's overarching objective is to establish an interdisciplinary, evidence-based understanding of the multidimensional relationships between South-South migration, inequality and development. This will ensure that policy makers, international organizations, donors and local communities are able to implement policies which harness the development potential associated with South-South migration for individuals, households and countries in the Global South.

Methodology and Approach

The Hub consists of a network of research and delivery partners from 12 ODA-recipient countries that constitute six South-South migration "corridors" between which there are significant flows of people, skills, resources and knowledge:
  • Burkina Faso-Côte d’Ivoire
  • China-Ghana
  • Egypt-Jordan
  • Ethiopia-South Africa
  • Haiti-Brazil
  • Nepal-Malaysia.

Each has markedly different inequality patterns and forms, a range of development challenges and diverse policy approaches enabling a rich comparative analysis of the complex and multifaceted relationships between South-South migration, inequality and development in origin and destination countries. The Hub explores horizontal and vertical inequalities from an intersectional perspective, examining how and why multidimensional inequalities create and constrain the opportunities and benefits of South-South migration.

Research Team and Project Partners

The project team comprises researchers from the 12 countries in the migration corridors being studied, 13 UK researchers and 10 project partners from civil society and the international development community, including UNRISD. For a full list, please see the project page hosted by Coventry University, UK, the lead research institution for the Hub.

Research Beneficiaries and Impact

The Hub will contribute to efforts to ensure that individuals, households, communities and countries in the Global South benefit fully and equitably from South-South migration and that its benefits are properly harnessed to support delivery of the SDGs. The Hub's impact work in countries at both ends of the migration corridors focuses on three main policy areas: reducing income inequalities caused or exacerbated by South-South migration; closing gaps in education, health and other outcomes for migrants and their families; and tackling migration-related prejudice, discrimination and exclusion.

The Hub will also contribute to capacity and capability strengthening of research institutions in the Global South by working across, rather than just within, the countries that make up the migration corridors and connecting these teams with leading migration scholars, development policy analysts and communicators.

UNRISD Inputs and Activities

As a partner organization, UNRISD brings its expertise in policy-relevant research on on South-south migration, migration governance, inequality and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to the Hub in three ways.

1. Contribution to research excellence
    UNRISD will contribute to research excellence by
    • being a member of the Hub's Advisory Group
    • drafting a synthesis report on Programme 1, which addresses intersectional inequalities
    • providing feedback and inputs into Work Packages in Programme 1, in particular WP 1 on gender inequalities, WP 2 on inequalities related to childhood, WP 3 poverty and income inequalities

    The synthesis report of Programme 1 will highlight the interlinkages and overarching findings on the theme of intersectional inequalities. It will apply an interdisciplinary and integrated conceptual lens in the report that reflects the holistic vision of the 2030 Agenda for achieving transformative change for migrants, their host and origin countries, and for enhancing equality within and between countries.

2. Strengthening the research-policy nexus
    UNRISD's institutional location within the UN system provides a unique space to undertake independent research and ensures a neutral ground for open debate, combined with access to channels of policy influence. UNRISD has many collaborative ties within the UN system that maximize synergies between research, policy and operations, and serve as channels for research uptake. UNRISD will use these various channels to feed research findings into relevant UN processes, in particular related to migration and SDG implementation (such as the annual High-Level Political Forum which oversees implementation of the SDGs) and other policy processes at regional or national levels.

3. Enhancing impact



The funding for this project is provided by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) via the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Please see the project page hosted by Coventry University, UK, or the MIDEQ (Migration for Development and Equality) website, for a fuller description of the Hub.