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Human Mobility Initiative

Hero image description: World graphic symbolising migration

People have always moved, and always will – human mobility is a fact of life. 

Moving within and between countries can help reduce poverty, provide safety and refuge, fulfil aspirations and improve outcomes for all. Given the many barriers to safe and regular human mobility that still exist, unlocking this potential is the greatest challenge – and opportunity – of the 21st century. This requires working together across countries, sectors and disciplines.

Hosted by ODI, in collaboration with the London School of Economics Institute of Global Affairs (LSE IGA) and the Center for Global Development (CGD), the Human Mobility Initiative is a platform for innovation and joint action to 'do migration differently.'

We aim to:

  • Identify concrete policy options and entry points to make the most of the reality of human mobility; from tackling climate change, to the future of work and securing health outcomes for all
  • Convene different people and ideas across disciplines to build coalitions for more effective action
  • Use global debates and frameworks to support local action in countries, regions and cities.

Our current work focuses on facilitating city-to-city collaboration on human mobility between Europe and Africa through the Africa-Europe Mayors' Dialogue, analysing the drivers and causes of contemporary narratives around migration and the role human mobility has played in the Covid-19 response.

Massacres in Melilla and Libya: nothing new on European borders

Despite increasing evidence of European states violating international law and employing violence against migrants at their borders, rather than a drawback, we are seeing their expansion.

Read more

The fence around the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

Hearts and minds: how Europeans think and feel about immigration

Explore our data visualisation analysing public and political narratives and attitudes towards refugees and other migrants in Europe.

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Capture hearts and minds.PNG

Migrants’ contribution to the Covid-19 response

Explore stories, reforms and actions around migrant workers and the Covid-19 response from across the world in our innovative data visualisation.

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Migrant Key Workers Data Visualisation Image

In the media

How mayors in Africa and Europe are working together to improve human mobility

Covid-19 will not stop the migration of people to cities. Marta Foresti explains how mayors in Africa and Europe are collaborating to improve the lives of their residents and make their cities more welcoming.

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Rai News: Mayors address the challenges faced by cities at meeting in London

New coverage of a public event in London on the Mayors' Dialogue by Italian news agency Rai News, detailing the key ideas and concepts behind the initiative.

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Rethinking migration post-pandemic

Can Covid-19 provide an opportunity to reimagine how we view migrants and migration policy? ODI's Amy Leach sheds light on public discourse in Europe and the US.

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Less gratitude, please. How Covid-19 reveals the need for migration reform

Marta Foresti makes the case for migration reform in the face of Covid-19.

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  1. Children on the move in Latin America and the Caribbean: Review of evidence

    Research reports

  2. How the war in Ukraine is impacting Africa-Europe relations and the migration dialogue

  3. Massacres in Melilla and Libya: nothing new on European borders

  4. The UK–Rwanda deal is a crisis of responsibility, not a crisis of migration

  5. As the world rapidly ages, we need more migrant care workers

  6. Migration and the future of care: supporting older people and care workers

    Research reports

  7. UK government's response to this refugee crisis is too little, too confused, too slow

  8. Staffing shortages in the UK’s care sector: a sign of things to come

  9. On lorry drivers and a warm welcome

  10. African and European cities, partners for the green transition


  11. Beyond gratitude: lessons learned from migrants’ contribution to the Covid-19 response

    Working papers

  12. Rapid evidence assessment: what works to protect children on the move?

    Research reports

  13. Innovation in Africa-Europe relations beyond Covid-19


  14. Migration and skills for the low‑carbon transition

    Working papers

  15. Migration as opportunity: innovation, policies and practice

    Working papers

  16. What drives reform? A political economy analysis of migration policy in Morocco

    Research reports

  17. The fiscal impact of immigration: a review of the evidence

    Working papers

  18. Financing livelihoods and inclusion in forced displacement contexts