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New projects funded under NWO call on addressing mixed migration flows


NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development granted twelve projects for the call ‘Call for applied research on addressing mixed migration flows’. This call aims to strengthen the evidence-base of policies and/or programmes for Security & Rule of Law addressing the root causes, dynamics and consequences of mixed migration flows within/from Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings and to unlock this knowledge for practitioners organisations.

The proposals are awarded within the Applied Research Fund of the research programme Security & Rule of Law in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings. This call is executed by NWO-WOTRO, in close collaboration with the Platform.

The twelve projects cover a variety of relevant topics, from developing a toolkit on smuggling and trafficking, to building capacity for protection-sensitive border management in mixed migration settings, to providing insights on the impact of youth interventions on mixed migration.

The projects target a wide range of countries: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Turkey. The maximum budget for projects is 100,000 euros, with a runtime of six months. In addition, for each project co-funding in kind or cash will be provided by one or more of the consortium members. The total sum of co-funding is around 298,500 euros for all twelve projects.

Funded projects

The following projects will receive funding

The following projects will receive funding Drivers for onward migration: the case of Iraqi IDPS in the Kurdistan region leaving the country
Main applicant: Prof. D. Ala’Aldeen (Middle East Research Institute, Iraq)
Co-applicants: Mr A. Lawk (Qandil, Iraq); Mr M. Hoshang (Joint Crisis Coordination Centre, Iraq).

The Kurdistan region of Iraq presents a complex scenario in terms of displacement patterns. While it hosts a significant population of refugees from Syria and a considerable presence of Internally Displaced People (IDPs), estimated at around 1.5 million IDPs, the region is also an important point of departure for onward migration of IDPs wishing to leave Iraq. This collaborative project between MERI, Qandil and the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre seeks to uncover the extent to which and under what conditions internal displacement becomes onward migration outside the country. In particular, it aims at: a) assessing at what stage of the displacement process the decision to leave the country is made; b) determining which factors motivate the decision to leave the country, and c) identifying measures and sectors of intervention that can help address the challenges and issues faced by IDPs which contribute to their decision to leave. By adopting a mixed-methods approach with extensive on the ground data collection by means of a household survey and semi-structured interviews, the proposed analysis intends to provide the necessary evidence to better address displacement within and from fragile and conflict-affected settings and turn this evidence into policy recommendations for local and international policy-makers.

Drivers of mixed migration: analysing the determinants and the role of development and security policies in the MENA region with a special focus on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Eritrea and Syria 
Main applicant: Prof. T. Brück (International Security and Development Center, Germany)
Co-applicants: Dr E.E.M. Nillesen (The United Nations University (UNU-MERIT), The Netherlands); Mr T. Alami (ESCWA - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Lebanon); Mrs J. Vollebregt (SPARK, The Netherlands)

Analyses of mixed migration flows suffer from at least two limitations: the first limitation is grouping origins, destinations or both, into homogenous groups. This limits our understanding of the drivers of mixed migration flows, the role of country-specific factors (like development or security policies) and insights into why crises spike in the first place and, in turn, how they fade away. The second limitation refers to endogeneity issues (e.g. selection effects) inherent to studying migration but often inadequately dealt within the migration literature. This project will overcome these issues through the creation of a novel 3D panel data set where we measure annual bilateral movements for each origin-destination country pair. This helps to assess the impact of time-varying, policy-related “push” and “pull” factors that are specific to each pair (while controlling for country-pair factors that are constant over time). The project will focus on two episodes: the “Balkan” crisis and the current “European Migrant Crisis”. This will be the first project that applies 3D panel data to analyse mixed migration flows. In addition, the project will generate important policy recommendations on the impact of development programs, on policies in destination countries, and on how the current crisis could evolve.

T-STAN: Toolkit on Smuggling and Trafficking, and a security and rule of law approach to their possible Nexus - with a focus on the route from Libya to the EU 
Main applicant: Dr J.E.B. Coster van Voorhout (The Hague Institute for Global Justice, The Netherlands)
Co-applicant: Dr M. Shaw (Global initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, Switzerland)

This project aims to develop a new, evidence-based toolkit for Dutch, EU and UN policymakers focusing on preventing and responding to ‘mixed migration’ through countering the smuggling of migrants from FCAS to the EU. This toolkit will address the calls from ‘mixed migration’ policy-makers for greater precision regarding the use of terms for “those who move” (whether asylum seekers, refugees or migrants). Although ‘smuggling’ and ‘trafficking’ have two distinct legal regimes (e.g. separate Palermo Protocols), they are often still confused at the policy level. For a correct evidence base for policymaking, this project will: (1) analyse the definitions and practices surrounding smuggling and trafficking; (2) review the policy measures against both crimes; and (3) unlock (original) empirical and legal research data on (a) smuggling routes, (b) (increased) prices paid for smuggling services, especially after ‘securitization’/‘militarization’, (c) the continuum of smugglers involved ranging from persons who seek to help persons fleeing from war, persecution or instability to organized crime actors, (d) a potential smuggling-trafficking nexus, and (e) effectiveness of targeted policies that focus on the most damaging end of organized crime smugglers and traffickers. Through case studies of Libya and the Netherlands, this project will illustrate concrete pathways of policy successes and failures.

Ensuring that policy responds to the realities of trafficking and smuggling of mixed migrants from Eritrea and Ethiopia 
Main applicant: Dr L. Hovil (International Refugee Rights Initiative, United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: Dr L. Oette (Centre for Human Rights Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), United Kingdom); Ms H. Al-Karib (Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), Uganda)

In 2014, 37 States in Europe and Africa, along with the EU and AU, formed a policy framework (the “Khartoum Process”) to address trafficking and smuggling in the Horn of Africa (HoA). However, its design and implementation has neither been based on empirical evidence nor has its impact been evaluated empirically based on the experiences of refugees and migrants. This project will research causes of migration and the protection challenges faced by mixed migrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea, through conducting applied empirical research in three sites along a key migration route from the HoA towards Europe (Addis Ababa, eastern Sudan and Italy). The project will produce a detailed report with policy recommendations and two policy papers aimed at the EU and HoA respectively. Knowledge sharing events will ensure the dissemination of findings to all stakeholders working on migration in the region. The research will ask whether existing approaches have been successful, and whether they will continue to promote or undermine human rights standards in practice. This information will be used to influence policy-makers, practitioners, UN actors and academics in Europe and the region, and to engage states in developing/implementing national policies against smuggling and trafficking.

Everyday justice and security provision for displaced and residents in Bukavu, DRC 
Main applicant: Dr ir. C.I.M. Jacobs (Van Vollenhoven Institute, The Netherlands)
Co-applicant: Mr Mulengezi (Groupe Jérémie, Democratic Republic of the Congo)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country in which prolonged insecurity has caused long-term and cyclical displacement, especially in the east. Most Congolese flee to host communities within their own country. Bukavu is one of the cities in Congo that receives large numbers of displaced people; in some streets within the peripheral neighbourhoods, more than 50 per cent of the inhabitants are internally displaced. This research proposes to look at the consequences of migration in terms of the justice and security concerns in the host communities, both for newcomers and for longer-term residents. This project will further analyse already collected qualitative and quantitative data and build on these data. Secondly, it proposes to collect additional qualitative data on the justice and security concerns of longer-term residents. Findings will be used to set up stakeholder consultations with policy-makers and practitioners at local, national, and international levels. Justice and security analyses will be carried out with newcomers and residents jointly. On the longer term, this research aspires to contribute to more harmonious relationships between displaced and residents, and increased security and justice in the targeted urban neighbourhoods by promoting the dialogue between newcomers and longer-term residents.

Developing capacity for protection-sensitive border management in mixed migration settlings: Lessons from the Border Region Mali-Niger 
Main applicant: Dr K. Kinzelbach (Global Public Policy Institute, Germany)
Co-applicant: Mr Saint Esteben (Danish Refugee Council, Denmark)

Mixed migration in the border region of Mali and Niger constitutes an important phenomenon for The region and beyond. From a research design perspective, the region sticks out as a case of intrinsic importance in respect of donor engagement, political investment, and mixed migration figures. However, weak institutions and capacities in the volatile context create unfavourable settings. Technical cooperation efforts are underway to develop better capacities for protection-sensitive border management. Meanwhile, there has been relatively scant publicly available analysis in academic and practitioner literature of the scope, relevance and effectiveness of such endeavors. This project seeks to fill a knowledge gap by enquiring how donor-funded security and rule of law capacity development measures contribute to protection-sensitive border management in fragile mixed migration settings. The project will: i) systematically review and document existing knowledge; ii) generate new evidence on the relevance and effectiveness of capacity development measures for protection-sensitive border management in a case of intrinsic importance; iii) translate this knowledge into targeted recommendations and advice for policymakers and practitioners; and iv) strengthen linkages to peer researchers and practitioners by creating opportunities for collaborative research and the joint discussion of findings through a proactive outreach strategy.

Comparative study on the impact of youth interventions on mixed migration in Afghanistan and Somalia 
Main applicant: Mr J. Kurtz (Mercy Corps, United States of America)
Co-applicant: Mr Nicolle (Samuel Hall, Kenya)

Afghanistan and Somalia are characterised by a growing youth population and high unemployment Rates – 40 per cent in Afghanistan and 67 per cent in Somalia –, leading to a “youth exodus” through dangerous irregular routes. Since 1986 in Afghanistan, and since 2005 in Somalia, Mercy Corps has worked to develop programmes to help the most vulnerable youth build sustainable livelihoods and be better equipped to play a role in their home society. Without directly streamlining migration choices and outcomes in its programming, its work has had a yet-to-be-measured impact on potential migrants, actual migrants and returnees. This project aims to bridge this gap by addressing existing conceptual and operational gaps related to the youth-migration-employment nexus. Using databases collected by Samuel Hall and Mercy Corps over the past five years, this research will answer the following question: How can youth interventions influence migration decisions and rootedness in home societies? This analysis will be determined by six components: economic prospects, social inclusion, political voice, aspirations, conflict and gender equality. This project will result in key insights that will inform Mercy Corps’ approach, including future programs focused on the youth-employment-migration nexus, to be disseminated with local and international partners.

Evidence-based assessment of migration deals: the case of Turkey 
Main applicant: Dr I.C. van Liempt (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
Co-applicants: Dr J. Alpes (Amnesty Netherlands, The Netherlands); Mr Ulusoy (Borderline Europe, Germany)

This research project provides a critical assessment of collaborations on mixed migration flows between Europe and migrant sending countries. In the context of increasing asylum and migration flows we observe an important policy move towards partnerships between EU countries and sending countries. The focus of this project is on readmission agreements with Turkey, but with new deals in the making the results of this project will be of wider use and value for European policymakers. At its core, the EU Turkey deals aim to reduce irregular migration, decrease smuggling and human right violations and migrant deaths. In exchange, EU Member States promised to increase resettlement of Syrian refugees residing in Turkey, accelerate visa liberalization for Turkish nationals, and boost existing financial support for Turkey’s refugee population. This project will focus on the effects of the deals. How did the deal transform mixed migration flows and people’s reliance on human smugglers therein? What has been the impact of the deal on resettlement from Turkey to Europe? Field research (document analysis and interviews with forced returnees and migrants on the move) will be conducted to come up with evidence based insights on the implementation and the effects of the deal.

Wellbeing of Urban Refugees: Syrians and Hosts in Jordan and Lebanon (WURSHIJL) 
Main applicant: Dr D.J.H. te Lintelo (Institute of Development Studies)
Co-applicants: Mr Brett (IMPACT Initiatives, Switzerland); Ms Ford (ACTED Lebanon, Lebanon)

The key proposition of this project is that 'modalities of reception' are critical for shaping wellbeing outcomes for refugee and host communities in urban areas of Jordan and Lebanon, in terms of material and relational outcomes, and people’s subjective valuation of these. Such ‘modalities’ comprise (formal and informal) arrangements, policies, programmes and implementation practices to constitute more or less enabling environments for refugee and host communities. There is currently little comprehensive evidence that tells us how and why modalities of reception shape wellbeing outcomes, and how to improve reception environments and reception modalities. The project will ensure that such evidence will be at the fingertips of policymakers, local authorities, practitioner organisations and donors, allowing them to offer best possible support for refugees and host communities, and efficiently use scarce resources. This is critical because urban authorities are challenged daily to meet increasing requests of their constituents with scarce resources, while simultaneously supporting Syrian refugees, within highly strained municipal systems with limited capacity. This project will synthesise evidence for new insights into how donor-supported Security & Rule of Law policies and/or programmes, and security measures can more effectively/sustainably address causes, dynamics and consequences of mixed migration flows.

Irregular migration economies in northern Niger: the lasting economic, governance and social implications of a booming industry 
Main applicant: Ms M.A. Price (The Netherlands Institute for International Relations Clingendael, The Netherlands)
Co-applicants: Dr M. Idrissa (Economie Politique et Gouvernance Autonome (EPGA), Niger); Mr Loprete (International Organization for Migration, Niger)

The socio-political impact of mixed-migration flows is not just limited to destination regions, but also manifests in transit countries. Migration policies that fail to appreciate the effect of mixed migration on these countries may inadvertently leave unaddressed or exacerbate conflict lines in the short term and may thereby contribute to a spill-over of migratory root causes in the longer term. The extent to which the migration economy contributes to stability and/or instability in the transition region, through its contribution to local livelihoods and the empowerment of authority figures, therefore requires further attention. Through a comprehensive case study investigation in Niger applying a mixed-methods approach, this project will explore the relationship between the migration economy and underlying causes of conflict and patterns of in-/exclusion in the Sahel. It applies a multidisciplinary lens to explore the social, political, and economic implications of migration and thereby outlines how mixed migration alters regional (in)stability dynamics. These evidence-based insights are translated into concrete programmatic and policy input in donor-supported security and rule of law initiatives, including those related to social and economic reconstruction, to mitigate mixed migration’s negative effects while maintaining or increasing its contribution to human security in the transit region.

Causes and dynamics of mixed unskilled migrants trafficked within the Horn region. A study including Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan
Main applicant: Prof. M.E.H. van Reisen (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)
Co-applicant: Mr E.J. Pierik (ZOA, The Netherlands)

The research proposed addresses causes and dynamics of mixed migration flows, particularly that of unskilled migrants trafficked within the Horn region (Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan). It builds on case studies providing insights on the modus operandi of traffickers in the region and the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in enhancing resilience of those prone to being trafficked through "Youth on the Move" and "Selam" programmes. This include (1) increasing awareness of dangers of trafficking through targeted communication on smartphones; (2) increasing possibilities to enter (mental) health support through ICTs; and, (3) enhancing opportunities for economic integration in the Horn region. The research targets unaccompanied minor migrants and women (with/without children) migrating without male companion as units of study.

Syrian refugees and conflict in Lebanon: local resilience for long-term peace
Main applicant: Mr T.J.W. Wheeler (Saferworld, United Kingdom)
Co-applicant: Mr Atallah (Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS), Lebanon)

Focusing on how donor programs can more effectively address the consequences of Syrian refugee flows into the fragile state of Lebanon, this project will develop new insights on promoting long-term support for local actors to address tensions and reduce conflict risks. Large numbers of Syrian refugees have crossed into Lebanon in what is becoming a protracted situation. The evidence suggests that the flow and long-term presence of refugees increases the likelihood of conflict, especially in fragile contexts like Lebanon. However, Lebanon has not yet fallen into large-scale conflict. In contrast to existing research at the national level, this research focuses on the role of local actors – mainly municipalities and civil society - who have been on the front-line of Lebanon’s response to refugee flows. Building on previous research, Saferworld and LCPS will examine whether and why local level initiatives to reduce tensions in three comparative case study areas have been successful and sustainable. Recommendations will be made for how donors can better support local actors to reduce conflict risks, especially as they adjust programming to a protracted crisis. The project members will also engage in global policy debates on managing conflict risks due to large and protected inflows of refugees.