Capacity Development Initiatives in Migration Data

National Statistical Offices (NSOs)
IOM recognizes that to inform effective migration management and good governance, timely, quality, disaggregated and harmonized migration data are required. The Regional Data Hub (RDH), in close support with the missions and IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), has launched multiple capacity building development initiatives to strengthen the capacity of governments and National Statistical Offices (NSOs) to collect, analyse and disseminate migration statistics and knowledge and therefore support evidence-based migration policies. Support was provided to establish Technical Working Groups (TWGs) on migration data to facilitate the harmonization, comparability and accessibility of migration statistics among key institutions and their NSOs. These TWGs are meant to facilitate the establishment of a national migration data governance framework and data sharing protocols across agencies. In particular, these initiatives were achieved through several workshops and technical meetings, the secondment of migration experts and the upgrading of technical equipment.

Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD)
At the regional level, IOM is highly engaged in providing technical support to the IGAD to enhance the production, harmonization and comparability of migration data among Member States. In 2012, IGAD was the first regional organization to agree on a policy framework for migration and displacement issues that would guide regional priorities in migration management programmes. This Regional Migration Policy Framework makes specific references to migration data collection and analysis, as well as on exchange of data at the regional level. Furthermore, in 2015 IGAD launched an Action Plan on Migration, whose strategic priority 7 focuses on capacity building, to ensure that the formulation of policies and actions is evidence-based by building national data systems on migration.

In August 2019, IGAD jointly with IOM organized a high-level regional workshop on migration data harmonization in Kampala, Uganda. IGAD Member States acknowledged that the existing migration data is fragmented across many government agencies and is rarely collected for statistical purposes. This agreement led to the commitment to establish a regional TWG to facilitate the harmonization, comparability and accessibility of migration data building on existing good practices from other regions in the continent and intra-Regional Economic Communities cooperation in the Eastern Africa region. This TWG will facilitate capacity development interventions on data collection and the analysis of broader mobility issues, mainstream migration into development plans and national data collection efforts, and enable migration data exchange in the region. Based on this commitment and notwithstanding the challenges posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with the support of its partners, IGAD designed virtual consultations with Member States to keep up the momentum and dialogue during June and July 2020.

IGAD’s next interventions will include the organization of a virtual workshop to formalize the establishment of the regional TWG on migration data, develop guidelines for the harmonization efforts of migration data management in the region, define a list of priority indicators of regional migration, consolidate IGAD’s strategic priorities for migration data through a five-year strategy and produce a statistical yearbook on the state of migration in the region.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted planned training workshops with national statistical offices. The RDH is currently deploying, in collaboration with IOM's GMDAC and IOM's E-Campus platform, an online course to continue to engage NSOs and migration data stakeholders at a distance, an opportunity for stakeholders to learn about the challenges and opportunities of migration data.


As part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, technical interventions have also been launched to improve the information management capacity of governmental counterparts involved in assisting returning migrants alongside IOM. These operations generally entail the creation of software applications to systematically record information on returning migrants or facilitate referrals and service provision.

Ethiopia – National Return and Reintegration Database
The EU-IOM Joint Initiative is supporting the development and deployment of a National Return and Reintegration Database for Ethiopia, an initiative led by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs. The database and its related case management applications will increase the government involvement in return and reintegration operations, while informing and facilitating the implementation of related federal policies.

Returning Migrant Registration System
The RDH has created a registration and certification application for the National Displacement and Refugee Agency in Somalia, which is currently in use. The Agency is now able to issue registration certificates to returning migrants, and these can be used to access services provided by the government.

Digitalization Registration and Screening Process  
Technical support to the Secretariat of Sudanese Working Abroad is currently being provided to digitalize registration and screening processes involving Sudanese returning migrants.