ICMPD supports diasporas – because they matter

Be it in their countries of origin or destination, global efforts to support diasporas’ contributions to sustainable development are growing.

On the occasion of the first ever Global Diaspora Day on 23 June 2016, ICMPD has established this dedicated diaspora page and invites you to look into a selection of


They illustrate ICMPD’s work on promoting diaspora engagement, which is based on Agenda 2030, which calls on global leaders to recognise the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development. In today’s world, where 1 in 7 persons is a migrant, this global commitment is a significant milestone. ICMPD is pleased to support Global Diaspora Day for a more positive narrative on migration and promotion of diaspora and migrants’ contributions towards development in their countries of origin and residence.


ICMPD’s diaspora engagement approach and experiences

Promoting diaspora engagement is a major part of ICMPD’s work on the migration-development nexus. Since 2007, ICMPD has been working with governments and helped design better diaspora engagement policies and programmes; in 2015 alone, ICMPD worked with seven countries on three different continents. In Burundi, Ghana, Malawi, Paraguay, and Tajikistan ICMPD helped develop new diaspora strategies and action plans. In Lebanon, ICMPD has recently started working on a diaspora direct investment strategy, which will cater to one of the world’s biggest diaspora groups. Other countries and governments which ICMPD supported with diaspora programs include Georgia and Austria.

For the last five years ICMPD has also supported the set-up of ADEPT, a service delivery platform for African diaspora organisations in Europe engaged in the development of Africa.

Selected projects and initiatives

  • Strengthening the capacities of Jordan to more effectively reach out to and engage with its expatriate communities (JEMPAS, 2016-2018)
  • Supporting the development of a permanent platform of African diaspora organisations in Europe (ADEPT, 2011-2018), visit www.adept-platform.org
  • Diaspora engagement strategy support for the Georgian government (ENIGMMA, 2014-2017), including support to develop a high-profile diaspora engagement programme
  • MIEUX is an innovative and pioneering migration experts’ facility established in 2009, which provides capacity building and expertise to strengthen diaspora engagement policies and practices around the globe, for example supporting the development of a Diaspora Direct Investment strategy in Lebanon. This is a growing field of demand by governments (or joint-diaspora-government requests) and a main focus of many ongoing and new actions in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
  • Strengthening diaspora policies in Africa and the Middle East through mapping policies and practices, peer-to-peer and south-south exchanges, regional dialogue and networking (AMEDIP/MTM, 2011-2014)
  • Developing a diaspora and emigrant counselling programme for Georgia (ERGEM, 2012-2014)

#diaspora conversations – a series of interviews on diaspora and diaspora engagement

In May 2016, ICMPD produced a series of 14 interviews on diasporas and diaspora engagements; they involve experts, policy-makers and others from Burkina Faso, France, Jordan, Ireland, Lebanon, Morocco, and other countries

#diaspora conversations: How diasporas contribute to peace, growth and more

Diasporas: Lost Actors to National Assets - #diaspora conversation with Kingsley Aikins

2 cultures, 2 languages, and family in 2 parts of the world: Rawan Arar has a powerful message

Advancing diaspora engagement through peer-to-peer expertise

Naozad Hodiwala, Project Officer for the ICMPD-led MIgration EU eXpertise (MIEUX) initiative, tells us more about ICMPD’s ongoing support to the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon.

1. Naozad, what is MIEUX and how does it work?  
MIEUX is a peer-to-peer experts’ facility which supports partner countries all over the world to better manage migration and mobility. MIEUX offers short-term assistance through tailored activities which match the expertise required by the requesting partner country. We deploy mixed teams of migration experts, originating mostly from within but also outside EU member States. The beneficiaries choose MIEUX because of its features – it’s fast, targeted and with a minimum ‘red tape’.
Since 2009, more than 100 countries across the world have benefited from MIEUX capacity building activities delivered by almost 300 migration experts.
MIEUX is joint initiative funded by the EU and implemented by ICMPD. It provides expertise on legal migration, asylum, irregular migration, and migration and development.

2. So how exactly are you supporting the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL)?
MIEUX’s support to IDAL is a great illustration and representation of a growing trend in the Middle East and North African countries (with large emigrant populations) willing to actively engage and recognise the role, value, and potential contributions that their fellow citizens abroad have had, and continue to have, in the country’s overall development.
IDAL – given its mandate as the national investment promotion agency - is enthusiastic to open such channels of communication and creating investment as well as socio-economic growth opportunities for its diaspora back home. Political instability, an insecure geographical setting, bureaucratic hurdles, and a weak economy have all collectively negatively impacted diaspora perceptions of their homeland.

Within the first component of MIEUX, we jointly developed a set of diaspora mapping tools, established a national multi-sectoral diaspora committee, and delivered a three day workshop to its core members on identifying and developing the key components of a diaspora engagement strategy. These first steps will empower IDAL to strategically reach out to its diaspora, specifically high-achievers and associations in a select number of host countries, and ensure that their voices are heard.

MIEUX has helped to define the key components of the Lebanese Diaspora Direct Investment strategy, identify key success factors, develop synergies with the private sector, identify means for venture capital and use Lebanon for outsourcing partnerships in the region. The project now, during the second component, will conjointly translate the results of its mapping initiatives into a strategic framework.

3. What is it that you and the Lebanese partners hope to achieve?

Through a series of seven activities MIEUX is working alongside an international group of experts from the USA, Ireland, and Portugal to help IDAL staff identify and engage with their diaspora and respond to their needs in a more coherent and strategic manner. According to some estimates, there are more Lebanese living outside of Lebanon [8-14 million], than within [4 million]. By sharing best practices from Europe, and globally, the national committee and IDAL are offered a unique opportunity to not only learn several guiding principles but also avoid the common pitfalls of economically engaging with ones diaspora.
A comprehensive Diaspora Direct Investment strategy will build on the country’s perceived strengths targeting the increase of diaspora investment initiatives in key agriculture, tourism, IT and media sectors of growth. In so doing, we hope to contribute in some way to the return of capital flows to Lebanon, at a time when the country and its people need it the most.

Our most popular publications on diaspora

Here is a selection of our most popular publications on diaspora and diaspora engagement; more details are further below:

Diaspora entrepreneurs: the first movers, the fearless ones

In 2015, ICMPD organised an international symposium to discuss concrete ways that diaspora entrepreneurs can be better supported in bringing back new skills, technologies, and innovative business practices to their countries of origin. They are often the first movers, the fearless ones that bring investments into new markets, open new businesses and like this may act as catalysts for further investments. Diaspora entrepreneurs can also broker relations between buyers, sellers and suppliers, government officials, and other partners in their countries of origin. Unlike entrepreneurs without the emotional connection to another country, diaspora communities are inherently more inclined to venture into their home country’s markets, even if it means taking higher risks.

ICMPD’s Link Up! study shows that there are three main gaps within existing business-enabling structures linked to information, know-how and capital in order to fully unleash the potential of diaspora entrepreneurs.

Read the news article
Download the study

Read the Global Forum on Migration and Development background paper on public-private partnerships to support migrant and diaspora entrepreneurship and job creation, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises, which ICMPD helped draft for the 2015 Istanbul Summit

English | Français | Español

New modalities needed for better diaspora engagement policies

In this recent working paper, ICMPD analyses lessons learnt from eight years of projects, meetings and other initiatives to support diaspora engagement. One conclusion is that new modalities are needed to develop more effective diaspora engagement: diaspora issues cut across many themes and sectors and demand interaction between partners who have not necessarily cooperated before. Hence, finding the right interlocutors, raising awareness on diaspora issues, holding multi-stakeholder consultations, and strengthening inter-agency cooperation and coordination are key. A commonly missing element of diaspora engagement policies, perhaps because many of them are new, is monitoring, evaluation and frequent adjustments, which should form the backbone of diaspora institutions and strategies, in particular because of the dynamic and constantly evolving nature of diaspora communities and patterns of engagement. Many efforts appear to have placed significant resources at the front end while neglecting the feedback loop.

Download the Working Paper in English and French

Integration does not imply cutting ties to the country of origin

Is there a contradiction between activities of migrants in their country of origin and their successful integration in Austria? In this report, a case study focusing on Austria, examines various transnational activities of migrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, the Philippines and Ukraine and shows that there is no incompatibility with integration. The research team at ICMPD studied how migrants organise activities across national borders and one important outcome is that migrants often engage in a variety of ways and in several societies. However, to do so, they have to overcome many barriers. The study was prepared as part of the broader comparative research project ITHACA, coordinated by the European University Institute.

Read the news article
Download the report
More information on ITHACA  

Advancing diaspora engagement through peer-to-peer expertise

There is no doubt that migration and mobility can represent powerful positive forces for development, if appropriate policies are adopted and implemented. The MIEUX facility was established in 2009 as a pioneering demand-driven, short-term migration expert facility to enhance the capacities of authorities from EU partner countries. This publication looks back at achievements, lessons learnt and good practices. Among other thematic areas, it reflects on methods used and achievements in the field of diaspora engagement up until 2015, and lists all completed and ongoing actions in the annex.

Read the news article
Download the publication in English and French

Engaging your diaspora - A guide for governments

This user-friendly guide provides state officials who work on diaspora issues with a step-by-step tool on how to develop and implement a counselling programme for migrants and diaspora members in their destination countries, as well as how to monitor and evaluate its implementation. It is based on lessons learnt from piloting a programme with the Georgian government in the ERGEM project.

Download the Guide in English and Georgian

Enhancing diaspora engagement through South-South and triangular cooperation

These operational guidelines look specifically at how to design and develop a diaspora strategy and action plan, especially how to learn from the experience of others through South-South and triangular cooperation. It provides tips on how to analyse the national context and its implication for diaspora, as well as how to assess the diaspora. The reader will be guided through the development of a diaspora action plan, and examples are given on how to engage in South-South and triangular cooperation through partnership frameworks and knowledge sharing tools.

Download the Operational Guidelines in English, Arabic and French