The workshop on "Enhancing the Role of Return Migration in Fostering Development" was held in the framework of IOM's International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) which in 2008 had an overall theme of "Return Migration: Challenges and Opportunities".

The IDM was launched in 2001 to provide an informal forum for IOM Member and Observer States as well as international and non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders for the exchange of perspectives and experiences on migration matters with a view to identifying practical solutions and fostering greater interstate cooperation.


The role of return migration as a development tool has increasingly been attracting the attention of policymakers and others in both the migration and development domains.  It is now widely recognized that the return of migrants possessing different skills can contribute substantially to home-country development through their considerable human, financial and other resources, regardless of whether the return is permanent, temporary, circular or virtual in nature.  Policymakers in countries of origin, transit and destination stand to gain from exploring ways to facilitate development-friendly return migration in each of its different forms and to enhance its role in fostering development.  Promising approaches to this end include intra-state and inter-state partnerships and partnerships between States and other important stakeholders such as diasporas, migrants' associations, trade unions and employers, to name just a few.

The main objectives of the workshop were:

  • To bring together governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to stimulate discussion on existing practices intended to maximize the positive development impact of return migration, highlighting the diverse and yet complementary perspectives of countries of origin, transit and destination with a view to helping to reconcile and balance the varied interests of all migration and development stakeholders.
  • To provide the IOM membership with the opportunity to discuss the linkages between return migration and development and to identify effective means for and successful approaches to managing return in a safe, dignified and sustainable manner while furthering development objectives.
  • To bring forward and highlight possibilities for and benefits of multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary cooperation to enhance the role of return migration in fostering development.
7 July 2008 - Day I
09:00 - 10:00 Registration
10:00 - 10:15

Welcome Remarks

  • Brunson McKinley, Director General, International Organization for Migration (Bio / Speech)
10:15 - 11:00 Setting the Scene
  • Michele Klein Solomon, Director, Migration Policy, Research and Communications, IOM (Bio / Presentation)

General Discussion

11:00 - 13:00 Session I: Exploring the Return-Development Nexus - Case Studies

Moderator: Jean-Christophe Dumont, Principal Administrator, Non- Member Economies and International Migration, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


  • Michel Sho-Sawyer, Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Sierra Leone (Bio / Presentation)
  • Han-Maurits Schaapveld, Director, Migration and Aliens Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands (Bio / Presentation / Speech)
  • Fernando Alzate Donoso, Director of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia (Bio / Presentation)

General Discussion

13:00 - 15:00 Afternoon Break
15:00 - 18:00

Session II: Tools and Measures for Return

Moderator: Meera Sethi, Regional Adviser Sub-Sahara Africa, IOM (Bio)


  • Rafael Álvarez, Director General for Migration and External Affairs, General Office of Migration and External Affairs , Ministry of Security, El Salvador (Bio / Presentation)
  • Devi Chand Rye Seewooruthun, Principal Assistant Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, Mauritius (Bio / Presentation)
  • Jacqueline Owens, Immigration Manager for Europe, Africa, and the Americas, Department of Labour, New Zealand (Bio / Presentation)
  • Mohammed Bassam Al-Nasiri, Iraqis Rebuilding Iraq (IRI)/IOM Project Coordinator, IOM Baghdad (Bio / Presentation)

General Discussion

8 July 2008 - Day II
10:00 - 10:30 Migrant's Voice: Return – Integration Reintegration

Abdou Mbengue Sene, Architect, RIBA London, Dakar, Senegal (Presentation)

General Discussion

10:30 - 13:00

Session III: Enhancing the Development Potential of Return Migration – Practical Approaches

Moderator: Carlos Eladio Segura Vicente, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva (Bio)


  • Sergiu Sainciuc, Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade, Moldova (Bio) / Ghenadie Cretu, Labour Migration Programme Coordinator, IOM Chisinau (Bio / Joint Presentation)
  • Álvaro Apolo da Luz Pereira, President, Institute of the Communities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities, Cape Verde (Presentation)
  • Dinh Pham Van, Senior Official, Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam (Bio / Presentation)

General Discussion

13:00 - 15:00 Afternoon Break
15:00 - 17:50

Session IV: Making Return Work for Development – Multi-stakeholder Partnerships

Moderator: Eugene Owusu, Senior Advisor for Africa, United Nations / United Nations Development Programme, Brussels


  • Nikolai Alisov, General Director, Foundation for Development of International Relations and Social Systems, Russian Federation (Bio / Speech / Programme Structure)
  • Abdesslam El Ftouh, Director of Economic Promotion Department, Hassan II Foundation, Morocco (Bio / Presentation)
  • Basco Tomas A. Fernandez, Vice-President for External Affairs, Damayan Habagat Foundation, The Netherlands (Bio / Presentation)
  • Jim Ilunga, Deputy Medical Director, Cliniques de l’Europe, Brussels (Bio / Presentation)

General Discussion

17:50 - 18:00 Wrap-up and Closing Remarks

End of the Workshop

Related documents

Selected IOM Publications

Selected Migration Magazine Articles

Event documents