Changing the future of migration by investing in food security and rural development

Leaving home should be a choice

14 Jun 2017

Migration has always existed. It has been a means to reunite with family, to find better jobs, to have a new experience or to start a better life. In 2015, the number of people migrating was up to 1 out of every 7 people in the world.  

When it is a choice, migration can be a good way to spread new knowledge, skills or labour that can help boost economic growth in different regions of a country or in a new country altogether. The point is that migration should be a choice.  Yet, migration also happens when people feel like their only option for survival or for a better life is to leave their homes. 

FAO is working to give people choices and to address some of these root causes of migration, such as hunger, poverty, and the impacts of climate change. Together with FAO’s assistance to people displaced by conflict and to the communities that host them, these actions support families and their livelihoods so that they can make their own decisions about leaving home.  

To better understand the issues surrounding migration, check out FAO’s latest activity book on this year’s World Food Day theme: Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.

Who are migrants?

Migrants can be either people moving from one part of the country to another or moving across national borders. People who are forced to move to a different part of their own country due to conflict, lack of resources or other problems are called internally displaced people. People who have to leave their own country and go to a new one because of these types of issues are called refugees.

Why do people leave?

Humans have always moved around the world looking for something different or better. Some people leave their home for a different experience, a better job or to reunite with family. However, some feel like they have no choice because they do not have enough food, cannot make enough money to support themselves and their families or have lost everything. When migration is not a choice, it is often the result of hunger, poverty, impacts of climate change or conflict. 

How is FAO helping?

FAO is addressing these root causes of migration by helping people build or rebuild livelihoods. FAO does this in many ways: giving farmers the right tools, teaching them techniques to produce more with what they have, helping rural people access money to start profitable activities and providing rural youth with other income-generating opportunities. 

FAO also helps protect people and their livelihoods by working with partners to set up early warning systems. However, when natural disasters or conflicts cannot be avoided, FAO helps farmers get back on their feet by supplying the tools and seeds to start planting again. This is also true in helping farmers respond to climate change impacts, like unforeseen droughts or floods. In the long term, FAO also helps farmers adopt climate smart agricultural techniques, like drought resistant crops and stormproof ponds, that help them both adapt to climate change and reduce the causes of climate change.

We can all help

You probably have friends or co-workers who are migrants. Perhaps you come from a family of migrants or maybe you are a migrant yourself. One of the most famous geniuses of all time, Albert Einstein, pop singer Shakira, and Olympic athlete Yusra Mardini, are just a few examples of the many well-known scientist, celebrity and athlete migrants. Migrants enrich cultures and bring new talents to our countries. We need to stand together in solidarity against acts of discrimination and call on leaders to make migration safe and properly regulated. 

No matter who or where they are, migrants deserve protection, respect, safety and dignity. 


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