Updated: Jan 31, 2020
One of the principle aims of the MISTY project is to understand the transformative potential of migration and mobility on individuals and societies, and subsequently develop insight on sustainability strategies at local, national and international scales. It is therefore no great leap to suggest that the project’s goals and implications are firmly embedded within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But given that there is no overarching SDG dedicated to migration and mobility, how exactly do these variables interact with this global blueprint designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all?
It is this key question that prompted representatives from the University of Exeter, Utrecht University, Lund University, Clark University and the University of Amsterdam to descend on picturesque Dartington Hall – tucked away from sleepy Totnes in south-west England – for a two-day workshop funded by the Europe Network Fund. Specifically, we had the tasks of mapping the potential linkages between migration and the SDGs, and ultimately determine how the movement of people affects the implementation and attainment of these global targets.
Ahead of the meeting, several researchers undertook a scoping exercise to familiarise with the breadth of the SDGs, understand existing data and evidence on migration-SDG interactions, and conceptualise migration systems and types through modelling. The first day of the workshop was subsequently structured around these three themes, interspersed with ‘walkshops’ around the stunning grounds of this country estate. Participants from Utrecht, Lund and Exeter presented their findings and facilitated the sessions, connected by the red thread of how we take this knowledge forward in the context of the MISTY project. The outcomes were twofold and comprised the programme for the workshop’s second day. Firstly, to draft an agenda-setting paper that highlights how migration indeed transforms the conditions for the achievement of the SDGs, which has since been submitted as a commentary to The Lancet Planetary Health. Secondly, to design an expert elicitation study on migration-SDG linkages as an addendum to the founding three themes of the MISTY project, to be carried out either in the form of another work package or through funding for another researcher. A productive few days!
This article was written by George Neville, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies.