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World Food Day, 16 October 2017

Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.

The world is on the move. More people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since the Second World War due to increased conflict and political instability. But hunger, poverty, and an increase in extreme weather events linked to climate change are other important factors contributing to the migration challenge.

Large movements of people today are presenting complex challenges, which call for global action. Many migrants arrive in developing countries, creating tensions where resources are already scarce, but the majority, about 763 million, move within their own countries rather than abroad.

Three-quarters of the extreme poor base their livelihoods on agriculture or other rural activities. Creating conditions that allow rural people, especially youth, to stay at home when they feel it is safe to do so, and to have more resilient livelihoods, is a crucial component of any plan to tackle the migration challenge.

Rural development can address factors that compel people to move by creating business opportunities and jobs for young people that are not only crop-based (such as small dairy or poultry production, food processing or horticulture enterprises). It can also lead to increased food security, more resilient livelihoods, better access to social protection, reduced conflict over natural resources and solutions to environmental degradation and climate change.  

By investing in rural development, the international community can also harness migration’s potential to support development and build the resilience of displaced and host communities, thereby laying the ground for long-term recovery and inclusive and sustainable growth.


What FAO is doing

FAO is working with governments, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and local communities, to generate evidence on migration patterns and is building countries’ capacities to address migration through rural development policies. We support governments and partners as they explore the developmental potential of migration, especially in terms of food security and poverty reduction.

Find out more about FAO’s work on migration here.


Migration and the Sustainable Development Goals

Migration is part of the process of development as economies undergo structural transformation and people search for better employment opportunities within and across countries. The challenge is to address the structural drivers of large movements of people to make migration safe, orderly and regular. In this way, migration can contribute to economic growth and improve food security and rural livelihoods, thus advancing countries’ progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Read more about how FAO is working with countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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