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Guidance on Data Integration for Measuring Migration

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has published a guide on using data from different sources to better understand migration flows and characteristics. The publication has been issued in advance of migration policy discussions in New York, including a high-level UN General Assembly (UNGA) debate in February, and the July session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which is expected to review migration-related targets in the 2030 Agenda.

The publication titled, ‘Guidance on Data Integration for Measuring Migration,’ highlights the far-reaching influence of migration on societies, and emphasizes the need for accurate data on migrants to inform policy making. The guide aims to help policy makers, researchers and statisticians produce information on migration that is relevant to the changing needs of society. The authors note that building a complex picture of migration requires not only measuring numbers of people moving in and out of a country, but also how long they spend there, what they do while in the country, and other features of the migration experience.

The report underscores that multiple data sources are needed to understand the dynamics of migration, and therefore countries increasingly need to integrate data from different sources. Doing so might mean cooperating with other actors and countries as, for example, migration inflows might be inferred from emigration statistics of a neighboring country.

The international community adopted the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in December 2018, in Marrakech, Morocco. By the Marrakech Compact, governments agreed to hold consultations toward establishing an International Migration Review Forum that will discuss progress on implementing the Compact, “including as it relates to the 2030 Agenda,” and will also inform discussions of the HLPF. Bangladesh and Spain are leading consultations toward establishing this Forum.

This publication, developed by a task force of experts from national statistical offices and endorsed by the Conference of European Statisticians in June 2018, provides an overview of the ways that data integration is used to produce migration statistics, based on a survey of migration data providers in over 50 countries. Thirteen case studies provide more detail on data integration in various national contexts. The publication proposes principles of best practice for integrating data to measure migration.

The publication is designed to guide national statistical offices and other producers of migration statistics, while also offering users an insight into the production of the migration data they use.