Missing Ingredients in Diaspora Engagement in Development: Destination-Country Policies and Integration
Grunde Kreken Almeland, State Secretary for Education and Integration, Ministry of Education and Research, Norway
Kathleen Newland, Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
Marta Bivand Erdal, Research Director, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
Gibril Faal, Director of GK Partners; Visiting Professor in Practice, Institute of Global Affairs, London School of Economics; founding Director Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT)
Kristin Velure Strøm, Senior Advisor, Caritas Norway
The role of diasporas in the development of their countries of origin is now an accepted part of migration and development analysis. However, policy recommendations have centered mostly on how origin countries engage their diasporas in development efforts. More than 110 origin countries have created specialized units devoted to facilitating diaspora contributions to development.
While research and recommendations on country-of-origin policies have advanced in both quantity and quality, two important pieces have been left out of diaspora-and-development discussions: 1) the importance of integration to the capacity of diaspora communities to contribute to development and 2) the ways in which official development cooperation programs in destination countries support diaspora organizations and involve diasporas in official development cooperation.
Few of the countries where diaspora communities have settled, many of which are also major donor countries, have made sustained efforts to encourage diaspora populations to contribute to development in their homelands, despite broad acknowledgment of the important role that diasporas can play. Interest in diaspora engagement began to gather momentum in the early 2000s, with recognition that migrant remittances surpassed the volume of all other financial flows to developing countries with the exception of foreign direct investment. After this, policy attention to other ways in which diasporas contribute to the development of their homelands emerged. While several donor governments established forums, formed partnerships with diaspora organizations, or initiated pilot projects to support the implementation of diaspora-focused development projects, interest and activity waned around 2015 amid the changing politics of immigration and competing international priorities. Now, with adoption of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, where the role of diasporas in development is promoted, diaspora engagement seems to once again be on donor countries’ policy horizon.
There is also a growing realization of the connection between the development roles of diasporas and their integration in the countries where they have settled. However, just as integration and diaspora involvement in development are often addressed in different parts of destination-country bureaucracies, they also are often separate in immigrant and diaspora organizations—creating a challenge for policy coherence.
This webinar examines what roles diasporas play in the development cooperation programs of countries of destination, as well as the potential challenges and opportunities for policy design. Speakers explore how integration in destination countries influences diasporas’ ability to contribute to development in their homelands. The discussion includes examples from the diaspora engagement actions and policies of western donor governments and lessons about effectiveness and sustainability, including from Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and United States. The event includes a special focus on Norway, where policy development is looking into how to strengthen civil-society engagement in the field of integration, and exploring the connections to diasporas engagement in development cooperation. Reports discussed include: Integration and Development: Need for Dialogue and Diaspora, Development and Integration: A Review of Policies and Practice.