United NationsDépartement des Affaires Économiques et Sociales Développement Durable

MigraCidades: Enhancing Local Migration Governance in Brazil

International Organization for Migration (

    In Brazil, cities and states have the power to create law and policy. Over 1.5 million international migrants currently live in the country, but most local governments miss proper migration policy. To face the challenges and unlock the positive potential of migration to accelerate development outcomes, the MigraCidades platform offers a comprehensive set of tools to promote 10 key dimensions: 1.Institutional Structure of Governance 2.Public Employees Training 3.Social and Cultural Participation of Migrants 4.Transparency and Access to Information 5.Institutional Partnerships 6.Access to Health 7.Access to Education 8.Access to Social Protection 9.Access to Labour 10.Gender and LGBTI+ Protection

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    MigraCidades aligns training and certification processes to enhance migration policy at the local level. The project begun in 2019 with a study to develop a set of 10 dimensions of migration governance, as well as indicators for each of them, building from the experience of the global IOM’s Migration Governance Indicators (MGI). IOM engaged 13 local governments in this phase. Following this, the content for an online training was developed in partnership with the National School of Public Administration (Enap). More than 900 people already completed the training available at ENAP’s virtual school. To promote the certification process IOM liaised with the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). UFRGS managed the collection and processing of data for the certification process. As part of the sustainability strategy UFRGS allocated dedicate scholarships for undergrad students to work with MigraCidades. The certification process includes five steps: 1) Application; 2) Diagnosis; 3) Prioritization; 4) Certification; and 5) Monitoring. An open call selected 27 local governments for the project first edition. Each government appointed a focal point responsible to lead the process locally. After successfully completing the diagnosis and prioritization process and participating in the mandatory training, the government receives the annual MigraCidades seal to acknowledge its efforts to improve migration policies. Finally, the government receives support with monitoring tools and reports on the challenges and achievements related to priority actions in the last phase of the cycle. MigraCidades was developed with the support of a seed funding of USD 200,000 from IOM Development Fund, and implemented by IOM staff, consultants, and several professionals from UFRGS and ENAP.


    MigraCidades platform offers capacity-building through a series of information materials, publications and an online course. More than 940 people already completed the online training. In the certification process first edition, 27 local governments were certified. In a follow-up assessment conducted 8 months after the beginning of the process, 14 of the 21 governments that responded reported having increased coordination amongst different local departments for migration issues, including through the creation of local committees or WGs (5 governments) and the development of local migration policy plans (2). Even those governments with well-established governance structures have reported that the process improved the intra-governmental dialogue. Governments also reported having established valuable peer-to-peer exchanges (6), promoted trainings (6), developed protocols for migrant assistance (3) and produced informational materials (3) as a result of participating in the process.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    MigraCidades was supported with seed funding from the IOM Development Fund. Partnerships with UFRGS and ENAP allowed the practice to benefit from both institutions’ networks, technology resources and most of all human resources, including professionals with recognized expertise in the fields of migration and public policies. The practice aimed to reach local governments and public servants in all regions of continental-size Brazil with a relatively low budget, a challenge it was able to overcome by providing tailored methodologies, using existing structures and online tools, and promoting government’s ownership of the certification process.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The MigraCidades is built to promote whole-of-government engagement and ownership through capacity-building and the creation of institutional structures for migration governance, supporting rights-based sustainable policies. The sustainability of the platform is also supported by solid partnerships built with well-recognized public institutions – UFRGS and ENAP. In 2021, the platform will be expanded to include additional trainings and peer-to-peer exchange opportunities, as well as increase the number of participating governments. In addition, in the future we envision creating optional dimensions to address specific thematic concerns. The framework of the practice can be transposed to any country with a similar governmental structure, with a few adjustments, as well as adapted to respond to different national contexts. Other countries have already manifested interest in the practice – for instance IOM Argentina has secured funding to replicate a similar certification process in 2022.

    Other sources of information

    Website: www.ufrgs.br/migracidades/ This website includes a tab with published media articles and news stories: www.ufrgs.br/migracidades/na-midia/ Social media: 1) Youtube channel: https://bit.ly/3kB84Gg (contains videos both in Portuguese and with English subtitles) 2) Instagram: www.instagram.com/migracidades/ 3) Facebook: www.facebook.com/MigraCidades/ MigraCidades certification event videos transmitted in IOM Brazil’s Youtube: 1) https://bit.ly/3uJQrZD 2) https://bit.ly/3q6Dxl2 3) https://bit.ly/3kEAZsY

    COVID-19 Impact

    Originally most of the project activities were in person. The pandemic lead to a switch to online tools, including a virtual training, digital forum and the production of informative videos. As a positive unexpected outcome those efforts allowed broader engagement and replicability as non-participant governments could also benefit from the practices using the online and multimedia tools. The process was also presented as a tool to support the inclusion of migrants in public policies related to building-back from COVID-19, including in the fields of education, health and economic development. In 2021, specific indicators measuring COVID-19 related policies will be added.

    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 2019 (start date)
    01 July 2022 (date of completion)
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