Mapping the migration landscape across the MENA region

People have always moved, and the MENA region, more than any other, has a long history of migration related to trade, tribal pastoralism, war, conflict and the growth of Islam. Migration has made MENA what it is today. 

In 2021, we were commissioned by the implementation arm of a prominent European Family to conduct a stakeholder mapping of the migration landscape in the MENA region, with a focus on Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia. Our goal was to increase the client’s understanding of the migration-stakeholder landscape and broaden and diversify their partnership network.

Using a team spread throughout the region we established a longlist of 250+ organisations, conducted initial consultations, shortlisted ten potential partners per country, and provided conclusions to guide the growth of the client’s migration portfolio.

Trends we identified that informed our work, included:

  • Grafted onto the region’s history of migration are a number of refugee crises that impact migration responses. Numerically, refugees dominate the migration agenda.
  • ‘Mixed migration’ has become a key feature of the migration in the region, giving rise to a lack of definitional clarity and a no man’s land whereby migrants don’t benefit from humanitarian assistance in the short term or a supportive state in the long term.
  • With both forced and voluntary migration in and from the region well established, the MENA region has increasingly become a bottle-neck for migration.
  • Many migrants have become ‘stuck’ in the MENA region as a result, and this has had a major impact on the migration landscape. There is an increased focus on controlling mobility by criminalising rather than facilitating safe movement.
  • There are decreased options for onward movement, but few countries want to be a destination country for migration. 
  • As it is, the current migration landscape leaves many migrants caught between remaining in a precarious economic and legal situation within the region and risking the dangers and financial cost of irregular movement out of the region.