The nexus between food and nutrition security, and migration: Clarifying the debate and charting a way forward
This discussion paper (PDF) by ECDMP clarifies the characteristics of the nexus between food security and migration, frames the debate and provides recommendations for further work around agriculture and rural development (ARD) and migration interventions. The paper comes with three key messages. First is that politicians often have a simplistic interpretation of the nexus between food security and migration assuming that investment in ARD will automatically curb migration. This is not the case. A new narrative is needed on the development benefits of migration for food and nutrition security (FNS); a more nuanced understanding of ‘drivers of migration’, and a knowledge agenda to provide more evidence on the nexus. Second, adapting a development approach means increasing the options available to individuals to allow them to pursue better agricultural, rural or urban livelihood opportunities, with safe and regular migration as one of those options. Complex migration dynamics should be mainstreamed into food and nutrition security strategies and initiatives. Donors should support transformative actions around the FNS-migration nexus in Africa, with a particular focus on women, nutrition, climate change and environmental sustainability. Third, priority should be given to policies and actions that acknowledge human mobility as a pillar of sustainable food systems and inclusive territorial development. Special attention should be given to: smallholder farmers and small service providers; support for mobility of all food system players along better integrated urban-rural territories and (regional) food economies; large investments in infrastructure, especially digital and financial; inclusive governance arrangements centred on local authorities and organisations. Despite the complexities involved, African governments and other stakeholders, including the donorcommunity, must not and should not give up on the opportunity to deal with the nexus more maturely and effectively than is currently the case.