Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), hosted the first Annual Diaspora Forum initiated by the Parliamentary Network on Diaspora Policies at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland on 18 May. The forum was dedicated to Diasporas as Partners for Development in the Globalized World.
The Forum focused on the economic and development contributions of transnational communities in countries of origin and destination, and addressed the importance of a global approach to migration governance. It shed light on ongoing discussions on diaspora within the Global Compact for Migration, which is expected to be adopted on 10 and 11 December 2018 in Morocco.
This year’s Annual Diaspora Forum brought together parliamentarians, businesses, diaspora associations, governments and international organizations to discuss the complex intersection between diaspora, migration, and development and its implications for countries of origin and destination.
The Forum began with opening addresses from William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General and Tomáš Boček, Special Representative on Migration and Refugees of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
“Knowing and understanding transnational communities is crucial to engaging them effectively, and developing the appropriate outreach strategies towards diaspora communities. That is why IOM regularly maps and surveys diaspora communities,” said DG Swing. “IOM has conducted some 150 surveys to assess the socioeconomic profile of diasporas and their willingness to contribute to the development of their countries of origin,” he added.
“The creation of the Parliamentary Network on Diaspora Policies represents a quantum leap in the way the Assembly approaches the question of how best to involve diasporas when seeking to improve the contribution of migrants to both countries of residence and of origin,” said Boček.
IOM implements a wide-range of diaspora engagement programmes, many of which are funded through the IOM Development Fund (IDF) at the request of Member States with large diaspora communities abroad. One example is the iDiaspora, a global engagement and knowledge exchange hub for diaspora communities and those looking to engage with them. It provides comprehensive, regularly updated data and analysis relevant to diaspora communities, policy makers, NGO actors, and showcases successful diaspora actions and partnerships.