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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 the Overseas Development Institute (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 Mayors Dialogue on Growth and Solidarity, analysing the drivers and causes of contemporary narratives around migration and the role human mobility has played in the Covid-19 response.

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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Our team

View all
  1. On lorry drivers and a warm welcome

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

    Event

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

    Working papers

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

    Research reports

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

    Event

  6. Migration and skills for the low‑carbon transition

    Working papers

  7. Migration as opportunity: innovation, policies and practice

    Working papers

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

    Research reports

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

    Working papers

  10. Financing livelihoods and inclusion in forced displacement contexts

    Event

  11. Moving and learning: rethinking education and skills for global migration

    Event

  12. Migration: a driver of development

    Event

  13. Journeys on hold: how policy influences the migration decisions of Eritreans in Ethiopia

    Working papers

  14. Europe’s refugees and migrants: hidden flows, tightened borders and spiralling costs

    Research reports

  15. Closing borders: the ripple effects of Australian and European refugee policy. Case studies from Indonesia, Kenya and Jordan

    Research reports

  16. Journeys to Europe: the role of policy in migrant decision-making

    Research reports

  17. Why people move: understanding the drivers and trends of migration to Europe

    Research reports