The contribution of different diaspora to their countries and regions of origin, as well as global development cannot be overemphasized. Diasporas are instrumental in socio-economic buildout efforts; the very reason that issues of engagement and inclusion must be given the needed attention.
The European Union Global Diaspora Facility (EUDiF) was established as a pilot project running from June 2019 till the end of 2022. The project is being implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), and funded by the European Union’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) under the Development Cooperation instrument.
Diaspora organisations are important because they are mainly community based, and so are able to zoom in on specific needs and also act as agents for development. Their roles are strategic; hence policy makers and other stakeholders benefit from collaborating with them.
The aim of EUDiF is to enhance development collaboration between EU-based diaspora organisations, countries of origin and the EU itself.
Diasporas are made up of different communities dispersed from their original homeland, and so using a multi-stakeholder and participatory approach EUDiF focuses on transforming ideas into sustainable action through the following activities:
Consolidating Knowledge from practices, policies and research through the process of global mapping of countries to provide findings that will enable identification of opportunities for dialogue and cooperation.
Building Capacities by providing opportunities for diaspora organisations in EU and DEVCO partner countries to enhance engagement for development.
Exchange & Partnerships through effective diaspora dialogue.
Promoting Diaspora Development Expertise by mobilizing agents for sustainable development via diaspora engagement partners for development.
According to the EUDiF website, the European Union Global Diaspora Facility “has been created by the European Union in response to calls from diaspora for a coordinated, formalised way to contribute to development dialogue at European level and in recognition of the active contribution many diaspora communities make to development.” It defines a diaspora as “emigrants and descendants of emigrants who actively maintain links with their country of origin/heritage and are willing to contribute to its development.”
Even though EUDiF is EU funded, it has a global perspective on engagement in the diaspora-development ecosystem. Its objective is to consolidate diaspora engagement for development by understanding the needs of its stakeholders, promoting exchange, empowering its partners and linking knowledge and expertise for sustainable action.
According to Senior Project Manager, Dr Aurélie Sgro, “We have just celebrated the first year of the EUDiF project, a year which has seen a huge amount of research and various stakeholder consultations. Based on these building blocks we are excited to soon launch our capacity development and diaspora expertise mechanism. The next phase will focus on activities that seek to tangibly maximise the potential of diaspora engagement for development, from enhancing relationships between the different actors to creating enabling environments.”
Since its establishment, EUDiF has engaged in different Diaspora Consultations and Meetings which has seen participation from relevant stakeholders. In November 2019, it held its inaugural Diaspora Consultation in Lisbon, with participation from fourteen diaspora based organisations in Portugal and Spain. On the agenda were discussions on creating interest, needs, challenges opportunities for development in their countries and regions of origin.
Due to travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, a second Diaspora Consultation was held online with twenty-three diaspora organisations across Western Europe. Amongst the development issues discussed, the participants from seven countries also talked about the impact of COVID-19 on their activities. Before the end of 2022, there is expected to be three more Consultations to cover all of Europe’s diaspora development ecosystem. In addition to these, there will be Regional Thematic Meetings in DG DEVCO operating regions globally. An annual stakeholder’s forum is also scheduled tentatively for autumn 2020 to discuss and celebrate progress on diaspora engagement for development.
Based at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development’s office in Brussels-Belgium, the EUDiF team is open to collaborations from people and organisations who can connect with its aims in consolidating knowledge and action for development through diaspora engagement. For more information on the European Union Global Diaspora Facility (EUDiF), please visit: https://diasporafordevelopment.eu
By: Theresa R. Fianko
Image Credits: The European Union Global Diaspora Facility (EUDiF)