There are several direct references to migration in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), including Target 10.7 which calls for countries to “facilitate orderly, safe and regular migration through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies”, Target 4b on student mobility, Target 8.7 on migrant labour rights and many more. Meanwhile, migration is considered a cross-cutting that can be linked to most Goals, and its motto to “leave no one behind” is a clear call for sustainable development to be inclusive, including for migrant groups.

While the inclusion of migration in the 2030 Agenda is a key opportunity, it also presents countries with a series of new data challenges and reporting requirements. One specific challenge is the need to disaggregate indicators by migratory status. Target 17.18 calls for greater support to developing countries to increase significantly the availability of “high-quality, timely and reliable data, disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, and migratory status”[1]. This means disaggregating several SDG indicators relating to poverty, education, employment, health and other topics by migratory status. Given the paucity of data on migration in many developing countries, this type of disaggregation presents a formidable challenge to NSOs. Many countries have made efforts to monitor and report on the SDG IAEG indicators. However, to date most indicators reported do not disaggregate by migratory status.

Disaggregating data by migratory status is key for tracking inclusive sustainable development outcomes. It helps policy makers see beyond statistical averages in SDG data to understand migrants’ characteristics such as their health, education, employment and income status. With disaggregation, policy makers can use a strong evidence base to learn where interventions may need to more proactively target migrants so that truly “nobody is left behind”. Further, disaggregating data across sectors helps unpack migration-development linkages, through specific topics from affordable housing to access to clean energy, enabling policymakers to consider migration as a cross-cutting theme when designing policies in these sectors.

Thanks to support from Statistics Sweden, IOM’s GMDAC will develop practical guidance on how to disaggregate SDG indicators by migratory status, aiming to improve countries’ capacity to do this and start identifying migrants in development data. Measuring the linkages between migration and development is challenging. This project will contribute a concrete solution to at least one important component of this, which is to measure development outcomes on migrants themselves, across topics included in the 2030 Agenda.

For more information please contact Elisa Mosler Vidal:

Read more: Leave No Migrant Behind: The 2030 Agenda and Data Disaggregation

[1] Promoting greater data disaggregation is also a key goal of the New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees, and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (in particular, Objective 1).