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The UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in October 2013 will consider what role – actual and potential – migrants and diasporas play in development, and in the global development framework. Key trends in thinking and policy-making on migration and development are examined

Migration is not only a fact of human life: it is arguably part of the human condition. Our history as a species has been driven and shaped by migration, as our ancestors moved out of Africa to all parts of the globe. But migration is not static or constant, and ebbs and flows in response to different environmental, social, and economic forces, and poverty enforcing humanitarian crisis With advances in transportation and communications, and the advent of mass travel, the last century saw the greatest ever period of human movement and migration, voluntary and involuntary. The challenge for societies and governments, therefore, is more than ever now one of how best to harness and maximise the benefits of migration and mitigate its ill effects.

Given the pivotal role it has played, and continues to play in human history, it is perhaps surprising that migration has not been accorded greater importance in the way we think about development and the root causes of development needs This is starting to change though, and development practitioners and policymakers alike are increasingly recognising the contributions of migrants and diasporas to development, in countries of residence and of origin. Migration and its links to, and impact on, development now feature in a number of international policy agendas, from the UN High Level Dialogue (HLD) to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), the Rio+20, the follow up to the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development in 2014, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) post-2015 development framework.


At this point it is worth defining briefly the terms being adopted here. The term diaspora has come to be used, in addition to and distinct from the term ‘migrant’, as a result of the large, settled communities of migrant origin found in the North, usually as a result of (post)colonial patterns of migration to countries like France, the Netherlands, and the UK. Originally used to refer to historical forced migrations of Jewish communities, it has come to describe any community originally of migrant origin who have settled in another country. Where you have third – or even fourth – generation residents, it becomes nonsensical to describe these as ‘migrants’; and in our increasingly connected, globalised world this sense of belonging to ‘here and there’ transcends traditional boundaries of nation and nationality. The term is not an uncontested one, but has become a useful analytical category for examining the roles and impacts of migrants and settled communities of migrant origin.

Similarly, the term development is used to mean different things in different contexts. It usually refers to Official Development Assistance (ODA) from governments, but could also include a range of inputs from, and activities by, different institutions and actors, from philanthropy and charitable giving to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by the private sector. [1] Moreover, the concept has evolved from meaning the advancement of economic wealth to include the broader, more holistic notion of human development. Finally, the terms ‘country of origin’, and ‘country of heritage’ are used to describe the relationship of diaspora and migrant communities with sending countries; while ‘country of residence’ and ‘country of destination’ are used to describe this relationship with receiving countries. This is inelegant perhaps but preferable to terms like ‘host country’.


The subject of migration and development focuses on the connections and intersections between migration and development, and has evolved as a policy area, an area of study, and (more controversially) has been posited as a development paradigm. Again, it is a concept that is both and contested and changing, but underpinning it has been the idea that migration to the developed world could (or should) play a role in development of poorer countries. This is not a new idea in policy or research, but previously the debate tended to view migration as separate to development, or even that migration is a result of development done badly. However, since the 2000s, this debate has come to emphasise the positive contributions of migrants and migration to development, especially in terms of resource flows, skills transfer, and diaspora development.

Significantly for our purposes here, though, migration is not an issue that has been included in the global development framework, in particular that established with the UN Millennium Development Goals in 2000. To a large extent this is attributable to the legacy of this rather visceral separation between migration and development on a conceptual level, as well as the somewhat problematic nature of the concepts themselves. Migration is a sensitive topic politically, and in political discourse is often conflated with immigration (especially in destination countries of the North); ‘(im)migration’ is therefore a problem to be solved for the benefit of countries of destination, transit, and origin. Indeed, one of the critiques of ‘migration and development’ as a paradigm is that it has given cover to northern countries for their own immigration policies – essentially, the idea that improving development in poorer countries will reduce migratory flows to the North. Another weakness of this model is that it presupposes that poverty and underdevelopment are always the drivers of migration, when they are not. Moreover, it ignores the fact that globally the highest levels of migration are within and between the countries of the South, or indeed patterns of migration from rural to urban areas.

Migration and development has also been criticised for its narrow focus on a limited number of contributions and impacts of migration. For example, the focus on remittances and migrant resource flows – ‘following the money’, as it were – has arguably skewed discussion away from the other contributions made by migrants and diasporas to development in countries of origin or heritage and of residence. These include intellectual capital and skills transfer, as well as social capital, and access to transnational networks.


Nevertheless, despite (and perhaps because of) its relative newness as a policy area, and the conceptual and analytical challenges inherent in it, migration and development has become increasingly central both to academic discourse and policy discussions. Starting with the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development, which stressed the need to maximise the benefits of migration, and ‘increase the likelihood that migration has positive consequences for development”, there have been a number of international policy fora focusing on the link between migration and development: the 2001 Swiss-led Berne agreement; the 2003 ‘Doyle Report’, which proposed an independent commission on governance of migration; the first UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in 2006; and the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) which emerged from this. ICMPD/ECDPM (2013) have produced a useful and authoritative overview of the migration and development policy initiatives but it is worth noting their point that “dialogue and cooperation on migration initially developed at the regional or inter-regional level in the framework of a series of state-led, non binding, regional migration dialogues or consultative processes”, largely because of political considerations in destination countries. [2]

If the Cairo Conference on Population and Development first put migration and development on the policy radar internationally, then the UN High level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in 2006 placed the topic centre stage in terms of international policy-making, being the first time all UN member states came together to debate migration and development. Following the last UNHLD in 2006, and a subsequent Informal General Assembly Debate in 2011, the General Assembly adopted resolution 65/170 on Migration and Development. This called on all Member States to: cooperate more closely on migration issues; respect international law and especially human rights in relation to migration policies; and encourage initiatives to support the integration of migrants. [3]

There have also been a number of regional initiatives focusing on the migration and development nexus. At the EU level, the 2005 Global Approach to Migration (GAM) sought to embed these issues into an overarching framework for the EU policy on external migration, aligning policies on development, foreign policy, immigration, and labour markets. The GAM was re-launched in 2011 as the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, and includes both a migrant-centred approach and issues such as South-South migration.

Similarly, the ‘Euro-African Conference on Migration and Development in 2006’ (the ‘Rabat process’) focused on migration and development issues related to the “West-African migration route” including migration to Europe from northern, central and western Africa, and there are several programmes established within regional groupings such as ECOWAS, the East African Community (EAC), and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Migration and development also featured in the Cotonou Agreement (2000) between the EC and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) regions, which promoted economic integration of these as well as sustainable partnerships for development. Other examples include the South American Conference on Migration, or the Ministerial Consultations on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labour for Countries of Origin and Destination in Asia (the ‘Abu Dhabi Dialogue’). [4]

Other intergovernmental fora of relevance here include (GFMD), which was founded in 2007 as a result of the first HLD, and is an annual initiative of UN member states to address the linkages between migration and development in practical and action-oriented ways. Again, it is a state-led, voluntary, and non-binding process, but it does reflect an acknowledgement that there are limits to purely national approaches to migration, and also includes civil society and diaspora representatives in recognition of the crucial role played by these in development. The EU-UN Joint Development Migration Initiative (JDMI) aims to support migration and development actors to effectively harness the potential of migration for development by providing policy-makers and practitioners with evidence-based recommendations; since 2012 it has also focused on the role of local authorities and civil society in this regard. [5]

As this brief overview has shown, there are a myriad of initiatives at the international and regional levels for considering the impact of migration and development and making policy recommendations in this regard. However, the global development framework (as exemplified by the MDGs), and indeed many nations’ development strategies, have yet to incorporate migration and development meaningfully and coherently.


At this juncture it is worth evaluating the role of migrant and diaspora actors as stakeholders in migration and development, and as development actors. Diaspora and development (sometimes called ‘diaspora development’) is a relatively new paradigm in development studies, dating from the mid-1990s, but what it seeks to describe is not a new phenomenon: the contributions of migrants and diasporas to development in countries of origin and residence (even if the scale and scope of these contributions has accelerated over the last thirty years). [6] This activity certainly requires further research to quantify and qualify its development impact but that there is an impact is evinced by both by the scale of migrant resource flows as well as specific examples, such as India and China.

The Indian and Chinese diaspora (in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as well as the West) played a role in critical points of the economic take-off of both countries (as well as countries of residence) in the late 1970s, 80s and 90s, providing massive investment, knowledge, skills and other know-how. [7] These diasporas were harnessed to support a strong structural transformation agenda. A key part of that agenda was also the up skilling and integration of women, especially in China, into the development agenda. [8] This latter case also shows the pivotal role that can be played by female migrants, which is of increasing relevance given the growing feminisation of migration.

Diaspora capital in these two cases has been a factor – among several – in enabling the economies of China and India to grow over the last thirty years, a phenomenon which has arguably lifted more people out of poverty than the MDGs. All too often, though, migration has been side-lined in debates on development policy within the security/border nexus of issues. In order to understand, therefore, how migrants and especially the diaspora are important stakeholders in development, it is necessary to focus briefly on what their role in development is, what types of intervention they make, and what the impact of these is. Broadly speaking, migrant and diaspora development activities are often conceptualised as falling within three areas: financial capital, intellectual capital and skills transfer, and social capital.


The bulk of the research and other literature on diaspora and migrant financial capital have focused on remittances, and the levels of resource involved are impressive: $50 bn was formally remitted to Africa alone in 2012 from the African diaspora worldwide. Despite this immense contribution which acts as an ‘invisible safety net’ in many countries, the impact of remittances is an area that is frequently marginalised and contested in development discourses. For instance, they have wrongly and inaccurately been dismissed as ‘unreliable, cannot be formalised, directed towards specific objectives or made accountable...’ [9]

Certainly care should be taken that remittances are not seen as a panacea to the problems of development. While they contribute to economies in the developing world, they also can drive economic inequalities in countries for those who do not have access to diaspora capital. [10] They have also been criticised for being inadequately socialised and operating on an individual-to-individual or family-to-family basis. [11] Furthermore, diaspora remittances are also used to fund civil wars and insurgencies in the developing world. For all of these reasons, there has been resistance from development practitioners and academics to considering remittances as a form of development assistance. [12]

Countries of origin are increasingly alert to the potential offered by diaspora financial capital, and have set in place a number of schemes to encourage diaspora investment. Some examples focus on labour and tax incentives for the diaspora, such as India’s Non-Resident Indian (NRI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) schemes; others include the diaspora bond schemes developed by governments in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda, or sovereign wealth funds such as Rwanda’s ‘Agaciro’ fund, which aims to attract diaspora investment. [13]

The challenge for development policy-makers is how to maximise the opportunities and development impact of diaspora capital such as remittances while mitigating their negative impacts, and a number of schemes have been proposed to this end, including reducing transfer costs, tax relief on remittances, and allocation of a proportion of the money remitted to local development trusts or funds to support development activities.


The diaspora’s intellectual capital and the process of skills transfer is another major area of diaspora contribution to development in countries of origin, as well as of residence. [14] Intellectual capital of the diaspora has in the past been viewed through the prism of ‘brain drain’, as highly skilled migrants take their skills out of developing countries. Indeed, a number of EU states (inc. France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK) have implemented policies designed to mitigate or minimise the impact of recruitment of foreign nationals in specific sectors such as healthcare.

Increasingly, though, there is recognition of the concept of ‘brain gain’, whereby returning migrants or diaspora use their skills to contribute to countries of origin or heritage. [15] This may be on a permanent or a temporary basis, which has led to the concept of ‘brain circulation’ as part of circular migration; and governments in countries of heritage and residence have introduced policies and schemes to facilitate diaspora skills transfer. [16] Examples of this include a number of diaspora volunteering initiatives, as well as incentives to encourage return or retention of highly skilled workers within health, education, engineering, and other strategic sectors. [17]

Diaspora intellectual capital and skills gained or honed in countries of residence are also used by diaspora and migrant entrepreneurs to set up businesses in countries of origin and heritage. These businesses, usually in the form of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), are an important engine for economic growth and development and also poverty reduction, as the impact on job creation through SMEs is relatively speaking far greater than that of larger infrastructure or commercial projects, where advanced (Northern) expatriate skills are needed to make these work. [18]

One final impact of diaspora intellectual capital can be seen through ethnic networks, which help overcome market information problems. [19] Migrant and diaspora entrepreneurs abroad can leverage on their knowledge of markets in origin and destination countries by importing goods from the former and selling them in the latter. On the other hand, countries of origin benefit from new business opportunities abroad and enhanced reputation from these entrepreneurs. [20] The most successful networks have been those of China and India; in the latter case, the Indian diaspora have created advantages in the information technology industry, while the Chinese diaspora have significantly boosted trade with China. [21]


This is arguably the most difficult form of diaspora capital to assess, not least because of the fact that it means different things to different people, as well as overlapping in many instances with diaspora intellectual capital as set out above. De Haas (2012) draws attention to migrant networks as an example of social capital, to which one might add cultural and informational capital. [22] For example, migrant and diaspora networks are multi-national, multi-cultural, and usually multi-lingual. In addition to advantages to accessing accurate (market) information, this can provide other benefits – raising awareness of global issues, improved knowledge of local conditions, ability to communicate with local people, increased tolerance and better understanding of the role of culture in a given context, all of which can make development interventions more efficient and effective. Through their involvement in politics in countries of origin and residence they can also have an impact on policy, ‘here’ and ‘there’. A number of diaspora and migrant networks and platforms with a development focus have been set up; one good example is the EC-funded ‘Africa-Europe Platform’ project, which brings together African diaspora development practitioners from across the EU, Norway, and Switzerland. [23]

Another factor which is not often considered when considering diaspora contributions is time. Many migrants and diaspora members, building on networks already established, give significant amounts of time on a voluntary basis to activities that constitute development interventions. [24] These can include volunteering on or in-kind contributions to development projects delivered by diaspora organisations in countries of origin, or in community development activities in countries of residence. More research is required to examine the scale of this activity, and its potential to be monetised. [25]

Social capital here also helps shape the organisational structures used by diaspora and migrant communities for their development activities. Migrant and diaspora groups, associations, or platforms can start informally and then decide to adopt a more formalised structure, with a view to registering themselves as legal entities. Such organisations may deliver services in countries of residence as well as in countries of origin, and operate effectively as migrant and diaspora NGOs, albeit usually on a smaller scale and with smaller capacity. The resource and policy environment, and the need to operate within legal and institutional frameworks in countries of residence, make this an increasing necessity for many diaspora and migrant groups. This has been a double-edged sword, inasmuch as it has encouraged organisational development and professionalization in the migrant and diaspora sector, but has tended to exclude the role of individuals as development actors, in particular the role of diaspora entrepreneurs.


Migrant and diaspora groups and individuals draw on all these forms of capital to ‘do’ development, and are active in a broad range of development activities in countries of origin and heritage. To what extent, though, have they been involved in migration and development policy processes? And indeed, what is the rationale for doing so? It is necessary to draw a distinction here between process (how migration and development policy is formulated and agreed, and diaspora and migrant involvement in this), and outcomes (what the policies are, their priorities, and how these will be implemented). Migrant and diaspora engagement with both of these issues is important, but in both cases the focus needs to be firmly on outcomes – on concrete migration and development policies that support development, and maximise the benefits of migration. [26]

As we have seen, while migration and development perspectives were not included explicitly within the global MDG framework, there has been a proliferation of meetings, processes, and frameworks discussing migration and development. This is partly in response to calls for greater Policy Coherence in Development (PCD), and a growing awareness that disjointed policy initiatives risk development and migration failures. It is also in response to the lobbying and advocacy efforts by civil society, and diaspora and migrant organisations in particular, for better integration of migration and development perspectives in policy-making. The recognition of the diaspora voice is also enhanced when migrants come together as part of wider networks.

Nevertheless, most international policy processes in this area are, invariably perhaps, state-led, multilateral initiatives, and the scope for migrant and diaspora participation in these is usually limited.

The last HLD was criticised for its limited involvement of civil society voices; in the words of John Bingham, Coordinator of the GFMD Civil Society Activities, ‘eating in the kitchen is not enough.’ [27] Indeed, Civil Society should also decide and have a say on what the menu is going to be. Theoretically, the views of migrant and diaspora groups on migration and development issues are to feed into these policy-making processes through governments’ own national consultation frameworks on policy issues.

However, the interstitial nature of diaspora and migrant communities begs the question of whether this should be in destination countries, countries of origin, or both. The potential for migrant and diaspora voices to be marginalised remains a real issue. A number of EU governments do involve migrant and diaspora groups in discussions on migration and development policy – for example, the Netherlands conducts consultations with migrant groups twice a year, while the French and UK governments consult with certain diaspora communities on specific issues (such as Mali or Pakistan) – but this is generally conducted on an ad-hoc or piecemeal basis. [28"> Moreover, there can be structural or capacity issues that prevent representatives of migrant and diaspora groups from participating in policy-making processes. [29">

The other principal route into policy-making processes on migration and development is through civil society channels. On the face of it, this appears straightforward as migrant and diaspora groups are indeed part of civil society, and working in partnership with other civil society groups, networks, and platforms should enable more effective policy advocacy. Civil society groups are able to access fora for influencing policy-making at governmental and intergovernmental levels in a way that migrant and diaspora groups are generally not, or are better able to create opportunities for this. [30"> Diaspora networks thus need to be supported in the creation of partnerships with civil society for enhanced cooperation.

However, this does not always take into account structural inequalities within civil society itself, whereby larger civil society bodies and INGOs dominate policy development on issues pertaining to development and migration. It presupposes that the interests and priorities of the migrant and diaspora sector are the same as that of broader civil society, and raises questions of representation and legitimacy. The challenge, then, is to find common ground and look at ways of ensuring that migrant and diaspora voices and concerns are adequately represented in civil society advocacy. To this end, the focus on supporting diaspora network building should shift from seeking a representative diaspora voice to a representation of shared commonalities of working in national and international development.

The rationale for involving migrant and diaspora voices in these migration and development policy processes can be divided into three main arguments: a practical argument, and intellectual argument, and a moral argument. On a practical level, migrant and diaspora groups and individuals can bring extensive experience of the development needs of their countries of origin or heritage. They also contribute considerable amounts of time and resources to development in countries of origin and of residence. The various forms of capital they deploy are resources that can be harnessed to achieve development gains and balance the positive and negative impacts of migration. On an intellectual level, the knowledge, information, and evidence base they bring through their development activities can be used to shape and inform sound policy-making. Finally, a participatory approach is integral to concepts of human development, and on a moral level, there is a strong ethical case for including migrants and diaspora as subjects, rather than objects, of migration and development policy.


On 3-4 October 2013, all the Member States of the UN will come together – for the second time in the history of the General Assembly – to debate international migration and development, in the HLD 2013. This is significant in itself, but the HLD is not an isolated event. It comes at a critical time as the international community is renegotiating the global development framework: with the MDGs approaching their deadline in 2015, preparations have already started to come up with a successor agenda for development. Whether this agenda takes the form of “MDGs plus”, “sustainable development goals” or something else remains open. The HLD is likely to consider some important issues, including what the governance of international migration look like in the future, the role migration in sustainable development, and the role of UN and member states in managing migratory flows. It also offers an opportunity to reach more of a consensus outcome, rather than remaining split along North-South, origin-destination lines, as in the past.


The role of civil society in general and diaspora organisations in particular is also at stake for the 2013 HLD. A one-day informal interactive hearing with representatives of NGOs, civil society organisations and the private sector is foreseen prior to the HLD itself, in order to allow more time for members states and observers to give their views. [31"> This interactive hearing will consist of four roundtable discussions on the following topics: 1) leveraging diaspora contributions for development; 2) Promoting legal and orderly migration, while protecting migrant rights; 3) mainstreaming migration into the development agenda; and 4) strengthening partnerships and cooperation on international migration at all levels. As this cannot do justice to the wealth of knowledge of a diverse and heterogeneous civil society sector, efforts are currently being made, especially in Geneva and New York by IOM, UNDESA, UNFPA and others, to engage as many civil society actors as possible in the run-up to the HLD. In particular, the UN with the support of the International Catholic Migrant Commission (ICMC) is organising an informal hearing of civil society views on migration and development and the HLD due to be held in New York on 15th July 2013, the aim of which is to feed civil society – and migrant and diaspora – input into the HLD.


Indeed, discussions at the HLD will invariably be framed in light of discussions on the broader development agenda. The UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda delivered its report on the proposed outline of this framework in late May 2013, setting out 5 key over-arching themes: 1) ending extreme poverty; 2) sustainable development and the environment; 3) economic transformation for jobs and sustainable growth; 4) building peace and security and accountable and transparent institutions; and 5) forging a new partnership for global development. [32"> The report does mention migration explicitly, recognising both the human rights of migrants as well as the economic contributions of migrants and diaspora to countries of destination and origin alike. [32">

However a Diaspora Ministerial Conference held in Geneva on June 18, urged the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons, to include, global diasporas alongside national governments, local authorities, international institutions, businesses, civil society associations, foundations, philanthropists, social investors, scientists, and academics under their fifth point of ‘Forging a New Global Partnership’, alongside.

Also of relevance to us here is the Rio +20 agreement, which aimed to reconcile demands for economic growth with the need to preserve the environment. [33"> The outcome document of Rio 20+, a working paper entitled ‘The Future We Want’, also included the need to mitigate the impact of environmental change on migration (Clause 144) and also called for states to “protect effectively the human rights and fundamental freedom of all migrants regardless of the migration status, especially those of women and children, and to address international migration through international, regional or bilateral cooperation and dialogue and for a comprehensive and balanced approach...and avoiding approaches that might aggravate their vulnerability (157). [34">

Similarly, the European Commission Communication “Maximising the Development Impact of Migration”, released in late May 2013, outlines the basis of the EU position at the HLD. In this it calls on all relevant actors to capitalise on opportunities and tackle challenges associated with international migration, inter alia and ensure that development strategies recognise migration and mobility as 'enabling factors' for development. It also proposes a more ambitious approach to migration and development policies, in particular through the GAMM and EU development policy, promotion of governance and development impacts of migration between developing countries, and support for migration and development initiatives.


All of these interrelated and interlocking policy discussions and processes present opportunities and challenges for migrant and diaspora stakeholders to influence migration and development policy, first at the HLD and subsequently the GFMD 2014, both of which will focus on the Post 2015 Development Framework. As has been seen, these challenges are quite great, not least because civil society participation in the HLD itself is limited to the four interactive roundtable events, and the inherent structural inequalities between the diaspora and broader civil society. Nevertheless, this increases the urgency of the diaspora and migrant sector to engage with broader civil society efforts to influence the outcomes of these processes.

As has been seen, diaspora and migrant organisations are active in a diverse range of development activities, and draw on the various forms of capital – financial, social, and cultural - they have to achieve this. Migrant and diaspora actors have been marginalised to date in policy-making processes on migration and development. In part this results from a failure of traditional development models to consider them as integral partners in development; in part also it results from the sometimes informal nature of diaspora contributions to development, a lack of clarity on their impact on development, and the capacity for scaling up their development interventions.

Nevertheless, policy-makers and practitioners alike have come to recognise not only the value of diaspora and migrant contributions, but also the value in adopting a strategic approach to migration and development policy. This can be seen in the growth of migration and development – and indeed diaspora and development – as a policy area and an area of research. The range of different migration and development fora that have arisen in the last decade is a testimony to this.

Migrant and diaspora development actors and policy-makers both need to adopt a realistic view of the impact – potential and actual – of their contributions to development. More, and more thorough research needs to be conducted to provide factual evidence of diaspora engagement impact on development Migration and development is not a panacea to the development challenges facing the world in the 21st century, but offers a more integrated approach that balances the needs and priorities of countries of origin and destination alike offers to deliver real development gains. The diaspora have a crucial role to play in this, and there are real opportunities for integrating them into the global development framework to help them better achieve their potential in this regard, and improve development gains ‘here and there’.


1. This is particularly relevant given the attention being paid to resource flows from migrant and diaspora communities, who in 2012 formally remitted over $400 billion to developing countries, far outstripping ODA (World Bank, Migration and Development Brief 20 ; available at
2. ICMPD/ECMPD, ‘Migration and Development Policies and Practices: A mapping study of eleven European countries and the European Commission’, 2013:20, forthcoming.
3. Full text available at
4. A comprehensive overview of these is provided in ‘Migration Initiatives in Support of Development 2013, IOM (available at:
5. For more information see the JDMI website:
6. Newland, K. ed.(2010),Diasporas: New Partners in Global Development Policy (Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute, 2010).
7. See, inter alia, Bhagwati, N. Jagdish, India’s Rise: The Role of the Diaspora, (; Beng Tan (ed) 2012, Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora, Routledge, London; Zweig, D. (2005a). “Redefining the Brain Drain: China’s ‘Diaspora Option’,” CCTR Working Papers; Chandrashekhar Bhat and K. Laxmi Narayan (2010), ‘Indian Diaspora, Globalization and Transnational Networks:The South African Context’, J. Soc. Sci. 25:1-2-3: 13-23.
8. Beng Tan (ed) 2012, Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora, Routledge, London
9. Beyond 2015 Submission to the EC Public Consultation: ‘Towards a post-2015 development framework’, P.18.
10. Adams, R. H., Page, J., ‘Do international migration and remittances reduce poverty in developing countries?’World Development, 2005, 33 (10): 1645-69.
11. Newland, K. , Patrick, E., Beyond remittances: the role of Diaspora in poverty reduction in their countries of origin. A Scoping Study by the Migration Policy Institute for the Department of International Development,Washington DC, 2004 (available at:
12. However, recent research by CASS Business School has shown both that they operate in many ways like a form of philanthropy, and that levels of charitable giving (above and beyond remittances) may be higher among communities that remit (see Prof Cathy Pharoah and Tom McKenzie, (2013),Giving back to communities of residence and of origin: An analysis of remittances and charitable donations in the UK, London – CASS Business School). Furthermore, diaspora remittances can be seen as a stabilising factor in terms of international aid resource flows: “remittance inflows to developing countries are not countered by outflows characteristic of typical ODA and FDI financing schemes [such as"> interest, debt and dividend payments; retention and repatriation of funds to pay for donor country expatriates and professionals as well as product and service suppliers” (Gibril Faal, Faal, 'Introduction to RemitAid – Remittance Tax Relief for International Development', available at:
13. For more information on Agaciro, see
14. This latter is often ignored or undervalued in this context, but diaspora and migrant professionals make significant contributions to development in their countries of residence as well as of origin. One example is the world-famous Egyptian heart surgeon Magdi Ya’aqoub, who has not only carried out pioneering work on cardiovascular surgery in the UK health system, but also regularly travels back to Egypt to train medical staff there.
15. Faini, R. (2004). “Does the Brain Drain Boost Growth?,” Universita di Roma Tor Vergata; Docquier, F., O. Lohest, and A. Marfouk (2007); "Brain Drain in Developing Countries." UCL Discussion Paper Series.
16. Stark, O. (2005). “The New Economics of Brain Drain.” World Economics 6(2): 137-140; EC, Circular migration and mobility partnerships between the European Union and third countries’countries. COM(2007) 248 final, 2007a, (available at:
17. Frankenhaeuser et al. (2013) provide a number of examples of this in different EU states; For a discussion of China, see Zweig, D. (2005b).“Learning to compete: China´s Strategy to create a reverse brain drain.” CCTR Discussion Papers.
18. Indeed, one of the issues facing the developing world is that of labour mobility, and just as governments in lesser developed countries can do much to facilitate labour mobility at a regional level by reducing barriers to mobility, governments and companies in the developed world could encourage recruitment of migrant and diaspora professionals to fill such roles.
19. Luckanachai and Rieger 2010.
20. Kapur, D. (2001) “Diasporas and Technology Transfer,” Journal of Human Development 2(2): 265-286
21. Rauch, J.E., and V. Trindade (2002), “Ethnic Chinese Networks in International Trade.” Review of Economics and Statistics 84(1): 116-130
22. De Haas 2012:22
23. Barré et al.(2003), Scientific Diasporas: how can developing countries benefit from their expatriate scientists and engineers? ,Paris: IRD Edition. For more information on the Africa-Europe Platform Project see‎

24. Faith networks are another example of migrant and diaspora social capital; and these are also important enablers of development. Migrant and diaspora faith networks are responsible for moving significant informal resources to countries of origin, whether through Church collections, alms-giving to Mosques, or Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist traditions of philanthropy and volunteerism. In addition, they support infrastructure projects for schools and clinics as well as places of worship, and provide other resources such as books, furniture, IT equipment, or other supplies, often collected on a grass-roots basis from local community members.
25. CASS Business School and AFFORD, a UK-based African diaspora organisation, are currently conducting research on young people in the diaspora’s non-financial forms of philanthropy and ways in which this could be monetised (Personal communication, Onyekachi Wambu).
26. Examples of this could include greater flexibility in policies on temporary migration to address labour market shortages; the inclusion of migrants and diasporas as ‘global partners in development’; or tax incentives on remittances and other forms of diaspora capital to encourage investment in countries of origin or heritage.
27. ‘Fix, focus and reach: Civil society and Agenda-setting for the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development 2013’, Presentation by John K. Bingham to Tenth Coordination Meeting on International Migration, UNDESA 9 February 2012 New York (available at: )

28. Personal communication, Fatumo Farah, Director of HIRDA NL; ICMPD/ECMPD 2013.
29. Lack of familiarity with policy-making processes, or lack of resources required to participate in these as fully as possible are common barriers. Moreover, policy-makers can often lack the knowledge, skills, or capacity to engage effectively with an extremely diverse and fragmented migrant and diaspora sector, and can be reluctant to engage with stakeholders who might be critical of government policy.
30. For example, civil society groups organised an event on the eve of the first GFMD meeting which enabled them to become an integral part of the process. Civil Society Days are now held annually and bring together representatives from non-governmental, diaspora and civil society organisations to discuss and formulate recommendations on key topics addressed during the government-led dialogue.
31. In a written contribution to the upcoming HLD, a consortium of Global Human Rights Organisations expressed its strong interest to participate in the run-up to the HLD and has highlighted the importance of making Civil Society part of the process as a whole, including during the dialogue itself
32. A NEW GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP:ERADICATE POVERTY AND TRANSFORM ECONOMIES THROUGH SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – Report of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on Post 2015 Development (2013, New York: United Nations (available at:
33. Equally, they are not linked to any of the overarching areas listed, even ‘forging a new partnership for global development’, so it remains to be seen what this could mean in practice.
34. Significantly, this supported the introduction of sustainable development goals, presaging the discussions on the Post-2015 development agenda and the report of the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons.
35. ‘The Future We Want’, Working Paper of the Rio +20 Summit (available at
36. COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS – ‘Maximising the Development Impact of Migration: The EU contribution for the UN High-level Dialogue and next steps towards broadening the development-migration nexus’, Brussels, 21.5.2013 COM(2013) 292 final (available at:

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