Diaspora – a development factor

The SDC’s Global Programme Migration and Development helps migrants to contribute to sustainable development by fostering appropriate conditions in countries of origin, transit and destination. It also supports initiatives carried out by diaspora organisations.

SDC focus

The priorities and activities of the SDC’s Global Programme Migration and Development (GPMD) as regards diasporas are based on three pillars:

  • Improving conditions: The GPMD helps to create the necessary political, legal and social conditions to allow migrants' experience to have the largest possible impact. To this end, the GPMD works closely with national and local authorities in migrants’ countries of origin, cooperating with them on the drafting of strategies and action plans that will strengthen diasporas’ role as a development actor.
  • Developing capabilities: The GPMD strengthens the organisational skills of members of migrant organisations, ensuring that their ideas and plans can be implemented. This requires project management skills and awareness of the added value that migrants create in terms of development cooperation.
  • Working with diasporas: The GPMD establishes projects in cooperation with selected migrant organisations, in order to assess the potential for cooperation (and its limits) and develop various different forms of cooperation.

Background

Studies show that migrants who have integrated well in their host country make a significant contribution to the development of their country of origin. Thus, integration and commitment to one’s homeland are not mutually exclusive. The economic and socio-cultural potential that diasporas possess plays a crucial role in the development of their countries of origin. Migrants transfer money to family and friends and invest, through small businesses, in the development of their homeland. However, even in their country of destination, they contribute to the development of their country of destination through the transfer of skills, knowledge and experience. Members of diaspora communities move between two countries. They know the living conditions in both the countries of origin and destination. Migrants are playing an increasingly important role in the debate regarding future development cooperation. Closer partnerships among governments, development organisations and migrants can help us to better exploit the potential benefits of migration.

Current challenges

While we have seen increasing numbers of new initiatives seeking to reach out to diaspora organisations, there is also a need for effective cooperation, coordination and long-term planning. Many countries of origin have begun to take their diasporas into account when planning development and drawing up strategies and action plans. However, other countries of origin do not yet have the conditions that are necessary in order to take advantage of their diasporas' potential from a development perspective. Closer cooperation between development actors who recognise diasporas' potential will open up new horizons as regards the development of migrants’ countries of origin.

Current projects

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Building Regional and National capacities for improved Migration Governance in the IGAD Region

01.01.2022 - 31.08.2027

The Horn of Africa is of high interest for Switzerland in terms of migration policy. Swiss support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its Member States will contribute to improve their migration governance capacities so as to enable the organisation to effectively implement regional, continental and global regulatory standards for the protection of refugees and vulnerable migrants in the region.


The "Bosnia i Herzegovina"-Platform

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2025

The Bosnia i Herzegovina Platform (BiH) is an initiative of diaspora associations that are already involved in development activities. The platform will enhance cooperation and strengthen the diaspora associations’ role as development actors. SDC aims at promoting the potential of migrants for sustainable development mainly through improved framework conditions. The permanent platform as an effective and dynamic network will set the grounds for competent coordination services to diaspora organizations, to the country of destination and to the country of origin.


Moldova - Making the Most of Migration

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

One third of Moldovans already live abroad and the Government acknowledges that migration can bring many opportunities, if addressed and managed properly. SDC`s previous interventions resulted in a unique mobilization of migrants committed to contribute to the development of their home communities. Switzerland will further support Moldova in building a favorable environment for migrants to invest in their home country, as well as to provide good quality return and reintegration services.


Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD)

01.12.2018 - 31.08.2024

Migration is one of the 21st century’s defining features that significantly impacts economic and social development. It is thus crucial to ensure that the positive effects of migration on development are maximized, while the negative ones minimized. This is only possible if reliable evidence on migration and its interrelations with development is available. KNOMAD generates ground-breaking research and policy recommendations in the field of M&D. Switzerland has taken a lead in building-up KNOMAD as a pioneering knowledge initiative.


Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT)

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021

Africa and Europe are intrinsically linked with respect to migration. Swiss support to the pioneering Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT) contributes to strengthening the capacities of African Diaspora Development Organisations based in Europe, including in Switzerland, to promote sustained development in Africa. As ADEPT and its members are active throughout the African continent, a support to the platform allows an outreach in Africa with a relatively limited financial investment.


Swiss Civil Society Organizations Platform on Migration and Development

01.11.2018 - 31.10.2021

Obtaining a coherent and practical Swiss foreign policy on migration (acknowledging the potential of migration for development) depends on the close collaboration between Swiss officials, civil society organisations and the private sector. In its second phase, the project “Swiss CSO Platform on Migration and Development” will contribute to shaping a constructive narrative on Migration and Development, while further strengthening the Swiss Civil Society’s contribution towards the Agenda 2030 and the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM)/Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). 


Building Regional and National capacities for improved Migration Governance in the IGAD Region

01.10.2018 - 31.12.2021

The Horn of Africa is of high interest for Switzerland in terms of migration policy. Swiss support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its Member States will contribute to improve their capacities to manage migration. Migrants and refugees will be better protected in the region and the contribution of migration to development of the Horn of Africa will be supported, hence stability promoted. The Swiss expertise and engagement at the policy level will contribute to foster a dialogue on migration between Switzerland and the Horn of Africa.


Programme Global Migration et Développement en Afrique de l‘Ouest (PGMD AO)

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2020

Le Programme Global Migration et Développement pour l’Afrique de l‘Ouest (PGMD-AO) vise à maximiser le potentiel de la migration pour le développement durable de la région. Dans cette 2ème Phase, il est prévu de contribuer au renforcement de la mobilité dans le cadre des processus d’intégration régionaux et de renforcer les dispositifs et mécanismes de protection des personnes en mobilité transfrontalière, en particulier les enfants.


BiH Diaspora Plattform

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019

Das Projekt schaff den Rahmen für einen relevanten Beitrag der BiH Diaspora in der Schweiz an die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung, die Demokratiebildung sowie die Stärkung der sozialen Kohäsion im Herkunftsland, da sich ein signifikanter Teil der BiH Diaspora in der Schweiz aufhält. Eine ethnisch und konfessionell unabhängige BiH Diaspora Plattform kann eine doppelte Brückenfunktion sowohl innerhalb der heterogenen BiH Diaspora als auch im fragmentierten Gefüge von BiH haben.


Mainstreaming the Concept of Migration and Development into Strategies, Policies and Actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Diaspora for Development (D4D)

05.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

About 2 million BiH citizens reside outside their country of origin. They retain strong connections with their homeland, and many of them are interested in contributing to its development with skills, know-how and financial investment. Switzerland supports BiH (in both entities and Brčko district) in creating a favorable environment for leveraging diaspora’s human and financial capital (as investors, providers of know-how and networkers) for the development of the country, thus contributing to economic growth, employment and income.


Migration Network Activities

01.03.2016 - 30.06.2020

The SDC Migration network provides the platform to share knowledge and experience on programmes, efforts and global developments in the field of migration and development at operational and policy dialogue level. It constitutes the framework to support activities contributing to the different network components, hence contributing to increase sharing of knowledge and enhanced connections among stakeholders.

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