Switzerland - Over 500 delegates participated in IOM’s milestone Geneva Diaspora Ministerial Conference (DMC) on 18-19 June 2013, including 55 Ministers and high-level government officials.
The event invited governments and experts to share their experiences in order to identify better ways to engage, enable and empower diaspora communities, and promote them as development actors.
Diasporas were defined as “transnational communities” connected to more than one country, society or community. They include migrants and their descendants who share a common sense of identity and belonging to a community. They maintain networks that facilitate a more open flow of trade, investment, skills and knowledge, and act as “ambassadors” of their societies of origin, as well as facilitators of cultural exchange.
Conference participants recognized that diasporas can build bridges between states and societies and called for the development of local and global strategies designed to harness this potential.
Delegates admitted that there is a lack of information about diasporas and stressed the need for more communication and outreach in the design of policies to facilitate diaspora engagement. This will often require countries of origin to strengthen their embassies and consulates in countries hosting their largest diasporas.
Participants highlighted the importance of an enabling environment in both countries of origin and destination to maximize the potential of diaspora engagement. This will require, among other measures, more effective integration policies, social protection measures and access to dual citizenship.
Delegates also stressed the importance of strategic partnerships between States, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to create a framework for diaspora engagement that empowers them to share and transfer their resources to countries of origin.
The conference also recognized the role that diasporas can play during and following humanitarian crises. It recognized the need for appropriate frameworks to enhance diaspora engagement in supporting post-crisis recovery.
The outcomes of the meeting will be shared with the UN General Assembly’s High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development scheduled to take place in New York on 3rd- 4th October 2013.
For more information please visit http://diaspora.iom.int/ or contact
IOM’s IDM Secretariat
Tel: +41 22 717 93 89/ 59