The UK’s aid response to irregular migration in the central Mediterranean

UK aid interventions designed to address irregular migration through the central Mediterranean are currently some distance from making a measurable impact.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 10 March 2017
  3. Type: Rapid review
  4. Subject: Cross-government aid spend, Migration, UK aid funds
  5. Assessment: Unrated
  6. Location: Ethiopia, Libya, Nigeria
  7. Lead commissioner: Alison Evans


In recent years, global migration has emerged as an increasingly important issue for UK aid. The large-scale movement of refugees and other irregular migrants into the European Union (EU) in 2015 and 2016 and the continuing humanitarian crisis of deaths in the Mediterranean Sea have made migration a focus of intense political and public attention. The UK government has pledged that UK aid will be restructured to tackle the “root causes of mass migration”, among other global challenges, including through increased spending in Syria and other fragile and conflict-affected states.

Through the UK aid strategy and National Security Council strategies, aid-spending departments have been mandated to increase their focus on migration, with a particular focus on reducing irregular migration into Europe and ensuring protection to those who need it. This review assesses what progress they have made in developing a relevant and effective aid response.

As a rapid review, it is not scored but it does make three recommendations for the government to take forward.



Published 6 October 2016

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 10 March 2017

Government response

Published 19 April 2017

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 18 October 2017

ICAI follow-up

Published 29 June 2018