UK’s aid response to the migration crisis in the central Mediterranean

The global migration crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing the international community today.

The UK Government has pledged to address the root causes of irregular migration and to facilitate the adoption of safe, responsible policies and solutions for migrants. The UK Aid Strategy recognises that violence and conflict in Africa and the Middle East are causing unprecedented migration flows to Europe and sets out intentions to build stability and tackle the root causes of conflict.

This review will consider the relevance of the UK’s aid response to the migration crisis in the central Mediterranean. It will explore whether the UK has a credible and coherent approach to respond to the migration crisis in the central Mediterranean and if aid programmes are fit for purpose given the scale and nature of the crisis.

As this is a new area of activity for the UK aid programme, it is too early to review its impact. We can, however, review the relevance of the UK aid response, given what is currently known about the nature and scale of the crisis, and the likelihood that this response will have a positive impact in the near future.

The UK aid response to the migration crisis has a number of elements, including programming by DFID in countries of origin to reduce pressures for irregular migration, efforts by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) to counter people smuggling and trafficking, search and rescue operations on the Mediterranean.

The UK is also a contributor to an EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, established in November 2015 with commitments of €1.8 billion to tackle people trafficking and the drivers of irregular migration. So far, the Trust Fund has allocated €40 million for projects in the Horn of Africa. DFID has also funded a range of migration-related research, including a £1 million ‘Urgency Grant’ through the Economic and Social Research Council in September 2015.

Because conditions on the ground are changing quickly and there is a need, from insights and lessons to emerge in real time, we will be conducting the review over a shorter time frame than our standard reviews.

More information on our methodology and approach are available in the approach paper.