MIEUX and diaspora engagement
Over the years, MIEUX has been the recipient of several requests from partners who wished to embark on a process of engagement and outreach with their diaspora populations, either through a targeted Action or as part of a wider Migration and Development strategy. Thirteen Actions overall, of which six in Africa, testify to MIEUX and ICMPD’s acquired expertise in this field. Each of these Actions has its own objectives and specific goals, but what links them is the potential that each one represents to tap into the new communication channels, avenues for development and inflow of new skills that diaspora members can bring to their countries of origin.
Among the most recent Actions, MIEUX is currently supporting the Governments of Ghana and of Madagascar in developing closer links with their citizens abroad and with countries of destination, contributing to creating an enabling environment and encouraging effective partnerships for sustainable development, as detailed in Agenda 2030 target 17.17.
MIEUX’s support to the development of what has now become the Diaspora Engagement Policy began in 2014 with an Action that created a group of representatives of all ministries/institutions involved in migration and diaspora topics, organising a consultation in Brussels in late 2014 with representatives of umbrella associations of the Ghanaian diaspora in Europe. Cooperation was revitalised earlier this year, when the Office of the President’s Diaspora Affairs Unit requested support from MIEUX to enhance the participation of the diaspora in the finalisation of the policy. Activities, including an online survey and two face-to-face consultations with Ghanaian diaspora organisations in the United Kingdom and Germany, were held in the run-up to the Ghana Diaspora Celebration & Homecoming Summit 2019, part of the ongoing activities during the Year of Return 2019.
In 2017, MIEUX launched an Action to support the Directorate of Diaspora under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in formulating an inclusive and sustainable diaspora engagement policy as part of a national five-year national development plan. The Action is now nearing completion, and during the second week of July, MIEUX travelled together with the delegates from Madagascar to Paris to visit several governmental and non-governmental institutions and engage in a round-table with the Malagasy diaspora to present the objectives behind the new policy and collect their input.
IOM estimated in 2015 that over 100 000 Malagasy migrants reside in France, the first destination for nationals of the small island nation. Labour exploitation in both Europe and the Middle East is an important problem, with many Malagasy domestic workers falling victim to smuggling and trafficking. This realisation helped the government to create measures for the protection of the Malagasy diaspora employed in low-skilled jobs and domestic work. In this interview from 2017 Ms. Lanto Rahajarizafy, Director General of Development Partnership Coordination for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MIEUX focal point, explains in detail the circumstances that led to the request to MIEUX and the Government’s objectives behind the formulation of the policy.
ICMPD and diaspora engagement
Promoting diaspora engagement is a key part of ICMPD’s work in the area of Migration and Development. Since 2007, ICMPD has been working with governments and contributed to formulating many diaspora engagement strategies through dedicated projects, comprehensive facilities or by supporting the set-up of the Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT), a service-delivery platform for African diaspora organisations in Europe engaged in the development of Africa. The working paper “Promoting Diaspora Engagement: what have we learnt?” (2015) collects ICMPD’s learnings on this topic. In the second half of 2019, after years of cumulative experience, ICMPD will embark on a new EU-funded Global Diaspora Facility that will empower diaspora organisations based in Europe and governments all over the world to engage in a more meaningful way.