The idea of alleviating migration pressure by means of humanitarian aid and development cooperation is long-standing. It has received renewed attention since the surge in migration across the Mediterranean in 2015. The establishment of the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is a prominent reflection of the renewed interest in addressing the root causes of migration. This report extracts insights from the research literature about the nature of root causes and the mechanisms that lead to migration outcomes. It reviews experiences from attempts to address the root causes of migration through development policy and outlines implications for humanitarian efforts and development cooperation today.