Eva Åkerman-Börje, Swedish Ambassador for the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)
Luigi Soreca, Head of International Affairs, Directorate-General for Home Affairs, European Commission
Frank Laczko, Head of Research and Publications, International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Santo Deng, President, Board of the Diaspora Forum for Development
Dovelyn Agunias, Policy and Research Analyst, Migration Policy Institute (MPI) & IOM
Kathleen Newland, Director, Migrants, Migration, and Development, MPI
Governments are increasingly aware of the significant socio-economic role that diasporas can and do play in the development of their homelands. Yet there remains confusion about how governments should best cooperate with these largely spontaneous engagements, and to what extent they should be involved. In its communication on the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM), the European Commission urges greater governmental support in expanding diasporas’ contribution to development, but concrete guidelines are lacking. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), in an initiative funded through grants from the governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland, developed a handbook entitled Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development that is designed to fill the gaps in the current discourse on diasporas’ role. The handbook serves as a practical, user-friendly guide on the state of the art in governmental diaspora initiatives, including many in Europe, and also provides a road map toward strategic and sustainable engagement. This launch of the handbook included a joint panel discussion that explored the opportunities and challenges that governments face when developing strategies to engage diaspora populations.