BD4M - Big Data for Migration Alliance
Global alliance on big data for migration

Big Data for Migration Alliance

Harnessing new data sources and innovative methodologies for migration

What We Do and Who We Are

The BD4M seeks to accelerate the responsible and ethical use of new data sources and innovative methodologies to inform migration policies and programmes.

The BD4M facilitates new forms of public-private partnerships among the business, policy, non-profit and scientific communities, supports peer-to-peer learning, shares good practices and builds capacity on migration data innovation.

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The Challenge

Most of the data that could inform migration today are generated by private companies or international agencies.

  • Our Background
  • Launch Event
  • Workshop
  • Migration has risen as one of the most challenging issues confronting policymakers around the world.

    The growing complexity of internal and cross-border human mobility, as well as the urgency to respond often in real-time, highlights the need for reliable and timely data to inform humanitarian assistance and policy responses. We need not only to innovate how we respond to migration, we also need to innovate how we develop our responses leveraging new data sources and methodologies. Most of the data that could inform migration today are generated by private companies or international agencies. However, several challenges render these assets largely untapped.

    The BD4M is the first-ever dedicated network of stakeholders seeking to facilitate responsible data innovation and collaboration to improve the evidence base on migration and human mobility and its use for policy making.

    How We Work

    Building the knowledge base on and case for data innovation and collaboration

    Despite the progress made by national statistical offices, international organizations and other actors on migration data globally, one of the issues preventing more systematic use of new data sources is the lack of evidence on the realized and potential value of data innovation. By bringing together existing knowledge, the BD4M aims to identify what innovations are more or less likely to work in different contexts.

    To unlock the potential of data innovation, developing new ways of arriving at the most important migration challenges is needed.

    By sourcing the formulation and prioritization of questions for The GovLab’s 100 Questions Initiative, answers to high-impact problems about migration can be provided by demand-driven data sources. BD4M will move this forward by addressing the ten top questions about migration and human mobility as defined by a global cohort of experts and validated through an open public campaign.

    10 Migration Questions Initiative

    As part of NYU GovLab’s 100 Questions Initiative, the 10 Migration Questions Initiative mapped the most pressing questions on migration that could be answered if relevant datasets were generated or made available. The 10 questions were sourced from a group of 80 “migration bilinguals” – individuals with migration and data expertise – and curated by the EC Joint Research Centre, The GovLab and IOM. The project stems from the recognition that identifying clear questions is critical to unlock effective data collaborations between the private and public sectors.

    The public has been asked to vote on where they would like to see more public-private collaboration on data innovation and use. You can see the voting results here and the next steps include operationalizing data collaboratives, a new form of collaboration, beyond the public-private partnership model, in which participants from different sectors — in particular companies -  exchange their data to create public value.

    Building data innovation capacities

    Working with partners and within the UN Innovation Network (UNIN), the BD4M seeks to create capacities for data innovation in various regions around the world. Access to new data sources and the development of institutional data capacities can be particularly valuable in countries with limited resources for statistical activities and other data-driven efforts. The BD4M aims to support countries interested in using big data sources to understand migration by developing dedicated training activities and providing ad-hoc technical assistance.

    Research and knowledge management

    The BD4M aims to advance the understanding and use of innovative data through research and information sharing. To this end, web pages such as GMDAC’s Migration Data Portal and the European Commission’s KCMD Dynamic Data Hub provide readers with relevant information on the challenges and opportunities of innovative data sources and use, as well as statistics, articles and other resources.

    Connecting key stakeholders - including data users, providers and policymakers

    Building relationships between governments, international organizations, and civil society to engage in migration policymaking will be key to effectively harnessing data innovation for migration policy. In order to accelerate the creation of new partnerships — data collaboratives — a set of guiding data responsibility principles must be agreed upon and implemented. The BD4M aims to actively address both the need to scale data collaboration and address the ethical challenges associated with using new data sources for migration.

    Private sector dialogue series

    The BD4M has prepared a series of events for representatives from the private sector and policymakers to discuss ways for setting up the collaborative frameworks to make use of new data sources for migration. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the first event is expected to occur in 2021. Next steps are setting up a network of “data stewards” across private institutions to foster the efficient and responsible use of data.

    Promoting the use of data innovation to address the demand for policy-relevant analysis

    The Data Innovation Directory (DID) includes projects and applications of innovative data in relation to migration and mobility around the world. However, further leveraging experimentation and dedicated investments in applications of data innovation for the analysis of migration are needed. The BD4M aims to facilitate such investments and create incentives toward the development of cooperative arrangements between public and private bodies for data exchange and collaborations.

    Data Innovation Directory (DID)

    The Directory facilitates access to information about innovative projects implemented by a variety of actors, including international and non-gov­ernmental organizations, national statistical offices, research institutes and private entities. By consolidating and sharing examples of uses of new data sources and methodologies in the field of migration and human mobility, the DID aims to facilitate further applications that can provide useful insights for policy and programming in these areas.

    Join the Alliance

    BD4M is open to representatives from international organizations and NGOs, the private sector, researchers and individual experts interested in contributing in various capacities to the mission of the Alliance. When you become a member of the Alliance, you will be able to:

    • Share your data innovation project with relevant stakeholders
    • Learn and benefit from others’ experiences and practices
    • Offer or request services and expertise in the area of data innovation for migration
    • Find and connect with collaboration partners in different sectors
    • Contribute to improving policy making on migration through data
    • Get the latest news on the Alliance’s work and events and the opportunity to shape its agenda

    Join the Big Data for Migration Alliance

    Join

    Key Actors

    Marzia Rango

    Marzia Rango

    International Organization for Migration | GMDAC
    Michele Vespe

    Michele Vespe

    European Commission | KCMD
    Stefaan Verhulst

    Stefaan Verhulst

    The Govlab

    Partner Organizations

    While the website has been made possible with funding from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) Switzerland, its content does not necessarily reflect its official policy or position.