Unlocking the Power Of Diaspora: New Partnerships For Development



Organized by the Governments of Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Morocco and Serbia

Co-hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

July 24, 13.15-14.45, Conference Room 11, UN Headquarters, New York, USA

Download: Invitation |  Concept Note  |  iDiaspora Forum flyer


There is a wide recognition of the contributions transnational communities make to the development of their countries of origin and destination. Diaspora engagement is a key component of national development strategies in many countries. Governments have designed and set up dedicated policies and institutional structures to achieve tighter bonds with their citizens abroad to enable them to contribute to local and national development.

While pursuing this goal, greater emphasis has been placed on the financial and economic contribution of diaspora to development via remittances or investment. There has been less focus on the potential of the diaspora for transferring knowledge and skills, as well as acting as bridge builders between cultures. These crucial dimensions remain on the margins of development policies but they are essential components for building joint prosperity through migration and contributing to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. How to effectively and efficiently harness the human and professional capital of diaspora to contribute to a country’s national and local development deserves more targeted attention.

This side event will bring together representatives of governments, civil society and diaspora leaders to discuss innovative approaches to engaging with the diaspora for social change. The event will be an informal discussion to exchange experiences and share best practice on effective partnerships to maximize the human and professional capital of diaspora for development at local, national and international levels.

It will be held within the framework of the Global Joint Programme on Mainstreaming Migration into National Development Strategies funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The side event will be co-hosted by the Government of Kyrgyzstan (Ministry of Migration), the Government of Moldova (Bureau for Diaspora Relations), the Government of Morocco (Ministry in Charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs and Ministry of Finance) and the Government of Serbia (Ministry of Youth and Sports). Diaspora representatives from Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Morocco and Serbia will be associated with the event. It will also include UN representatives to showcase the contribution of global programmes and initiatives towards enhancing development outcomes of migration (the UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative and the Programme on Migration Mainstreaming in National Policies).



A 90-minute session followed by a moderated discussion.

  1. Welcome and introduction by IOM
  2. Opening remarks by Ms. Louise Arbour, Special Representative for international migration (tbc)
  3. Panel: (40 mins)
  • Promoting skill and knowledge transfer for local development in the Kyrgyz Republic (Diaspora Volunteer Programme)                                                                                                     
    Mr. Almaz Asanbaev, Deputy Chairperson of the State Migration Service of the Kyrgyz Republic and Ms. Dogturkul Kinderbaeva – Executive Director of the International Public Foundation “Roza Otunbaeva’s Initiative”
  • Diaspora Excellence Groups: pilot program of Diaspora Engagement Hub to support national reforms in social protection, economy, environmental and rural development, justice and civil society in Moldova                                                          
    lga Coptu, Director of the Bureau for Diaspora Relations and Mr. Dorin Dusciac, President of the Association of Migrants’ Integration in France
  • Exploring the potential of diaspora for crowdfunding development in Morocco 
    Representative of the Treasury and External Finances Department of the Ministry of Finance and Mr. Hassan Aladlouni, General Director of the “Association Amal Pour Les Arts Culinaires”, Marrakech (TBC)
  • Promoting Youth Mobility in Serbia (Youth and Diaspora Initiative)                                                          
    Ms. Smiljka Živanović, Advisor for Analytical Affairs in Sector for Youth, Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Serbia and Mr. Aleksandar Jakovljević, President of the Organization of Serbian students abroad
  1. Moderated discussion: formulating recommendations for engaging diaspora for social change and development (30 mins)

Moderator: Dr. Kathleen Newland, Migration Policy Institute

  1. Closing remarks by: Ms. Sarah Poole. UNDP Deputy Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support. (5 mins)

The following questions will frame/guide presentations and discussion:

  1. How traditional forms and methods of engaging, empowering and enabling diaspora have changed in recent years? What are the new avenues for cooperation building on modern communication tools and social networks?
  2. What are the practical examples and good practices set by countries of origin to partner with diaspora for development that could be replicated at local and national levels? 
  3. What could be the role of the international community to support governments in developing effective partnerships with diaspora? How can the potential of international cooperation be utilized?
  4. What actionable recommendations could be included in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to maximize the contribution of migrants and diaspora to development?

Additional activities on the margins of thematic session 4

  1. iDiaspora forum stand: an interactive stand to highlight the iDiaspora online forum. IOM will launch this formally with refreshments at a time TBC.
  2. A live discussion in the format of a World On The Move in cooperation with IOM Media and Communication Division, with a stand for taking interviews from the participants of the consultations. Questions for the interviews will be taken from the list of the questions for panel discussion.
  3. An information booth to present the Migration Mainstreaming Programme website and to broadcast a collection of video materials to showcase countries’ experience on contributions of migrants and diaspora to development. This will be done in synergy with the UN Together Campaign and I’m a Migrant campaign.

RSVP to Abdirahman Olow aolow@iom.int


Event Date: 
Monday, July 24, 2017 - 13:15 to 14:45
Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York