Before the turn of the century, international migration had an extremely low profile on the global development agenda. Since 2000, however, international migration has moved to the top of the global governance agenda and a whole range of partnerships have taken shape. In the space of a decade, how and why has migration shifted from being an issue that was of marginal interest on the international development agenda to one that is increasingly at its centre? How has one of the most contentious North-South issues of the 1990s become the focus of so much dialogue and cooperation between them? This paper provides a possible answer to these questions, which provides a context for understanding the nature of cooperation between the EU and ACP Group of States on international migration governance.