• Virginia Negro | Programme Support Officer, IOM Kosovo
Beneficiary of Community Stablisation Programme in Obilic, Kosovo

Migration holds the power to drive sustainable development and uplift the well-being of migrants and their communities. Recognizing this transformative potential, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Kosovo[1], with the support of the Embassy of Sweden, is organizing a groundbreaking conference on mobility's critical role in development. This initiative aligns with the priorities of the Swedish presidency of the European Union, emphasizing the importance of migration for a safe and prosperous Europe. It also reflects the collective determination of stakeholders, including the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), to address the complex challenges at hand.

This event seeks to devise comprehensive, sustainable, and pragmatic strategies for improving labor mobility management within Kosovo1, aligning with the broader discussions at the Sarajevo Migration Dialogue. Maximizing migration's benefits involves addressing its root causes, such as poverty, inequality, and inadequate access to services and opportunities. These can be achieved by fostering formal economies, promoting legal migration pathways, addressing skill mismatches, enhancing access to education and job training, and reinforcing social protection systems.


Kosovo’s1 Diaspora: A Developmental Pillar

Kosovo1 experiences all facets of migration as a place of origin, transit, and destination. It has one of the region's highest emigration rates, with 22% of its population. According to OECD, emigration to Europe, tripled between 2011 and 2019 only to decline by 30% because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. According to World Bank Indicators, Kosovo1 received an equivalent of 18.6% and 18.1% of its GDP in remittances in 2021 and 2022, respectively: the highest among the economies of the Western Balkans.

Despite its inherent challenges, migration carries immense potential for Kosovo’s1 development: one example among others is the diaspora's robust commitment which transcends remittances and transforms them into agents of crisis resolution, entrepreneurship, trade, and innovation (See video).


Circular Migration and Brain Circulation: Pathways to Kosovo’s1 Progress

Circular migration, the process of people temporarily moving from one place to another to access economic opportunities and then returning home are essential in ensuring that migration contributes to Kosovo’s1 development. A goal without a plan is just a wish, said Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer and pilot, so, “Promoting circular migration requires a combination of development policies that combine labor and education policies. It also requires international cooperation and collaboration between places of origin and destination, such as skills mobility partnerships (SMPs) and an efficient labor recruitment framework”, explains Fabio Jimenez, Migration Governance Specialist for IOM in Geneva.


IOM Conference: A Gateway to Sustainable Migration

This event, along with the Sarajevo Migration Dialogue, marks a crucial juncture in the ongoing conversations around migration and development. They both provide platforms to set targets and enhance the understanding of how well-managed migration can lead to societal harmony and integration. IOM wants to enhance this positive potential and this event offers an opportunity to focus on practical, beneficial outcomes of migration that contribute to better and more cohesive societies and, ultimately, peacebuilding.

By focusing on the potential benefits of migration and working to address its challenges, we can begin to see migration not as a problem to be solved but as a powerful tool for sustainable development.


[1] “References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).”

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities