Remittances sent home by migrant workers have become a vital source of income in recent years in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, supplementing the limited ways to earn a living locally and providing a source of income detached from the weaknesses of the local economy. Though the practice is centuries old, the scale of migration has intensified dramatically over the past decade. Thirty million citizens from ICIMOD’s regional member countries now live outside their homeland, 15 percent of the world’s total migrant population.
Internal and external migration is a risk minimizing strategy that provides families with a buffer against the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change as well as serving as an economic safety net. Migrants typically seek to harness their earnings to improve the futures of their families, and these remittance funds, as well as the social awareness that can accompany migration, has a huge potential to contribute to sustainable development and diversification of mountain livelihoods.
ICIMOD works to understand labour movement trends and patterns, uncover how remittances are used, assess the impacts of migration on mountain people, contribute to informed decisions on labour migration policies and rights, and foster the harnessing of social and financial remittances for a sustainable future.