e-Consultation: 3rd theme: Migration and Rural Development / Le rôle des migrants et des groups de diasporas dans le développeme

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Dear Members,

We are pleased to announce the 3rd topic of our e-consultation where we will discuss about the role of migrants and diaspora organisations in rural development.

There are many studies referring to the positive contributions of migrants’ remittances to development. However, many of these policy debates tend to separate remittances from migrants, or better said, they talk about remittances but not the senders of remittances.

Katleen Felix, Diaspora Liaison of Fonkoze Haiti, wrote on her Facebook pages her impression on the recent large gathering of policy makers and international aid agencies in Montreal, Canada to discuss how to respond to the needs of earthquake victims. She said during this meeting, there were about 700 participants but only 10 are Diasporas. The Haitian migrants were only invited for the first part of the conference and during the press conference at the end of the day.

Katleen lamented that policy makers give the impression that diasporas are important but at the international level, diasporas are really not recognised as equal development partners. Haitian diasporas who have the skills, expertise, and knowledge are not (yet) targeted to be involved in the relief and reconstruction process of Haiti.

The World Bank estimates that Haitians abroad send home $1.5 billion to 1.8 billion remittances per year, or higher. That is much more than all the foreign aid that Haiti receives and continues to sustain millions of families in Haiti who are dependent on remittances. Aid from international donors in the aftermath of the earthquake is highlighted by the media. The support provided by Haitian diasporas to the affected rural areas which are not getting any support at all is hardly recognised. An interesting article related to this issue can be viewed at: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/columnists/let-haitians-already-in-u-s-help-rebuild-195030.html

In this third series, we would like to hear your experiences or views about diaspora organizations and their existing initiatives. It would be interesting to know some concrete examples of HTA (Hometown Associations)-driven projects or initiatives from different countries, particularly in the rural areas.

We will try answer two key questions, namely:

1)  What existing initiatives (best practices) do we know initiated by diaspora organizations which benefit their respective countries/communities of origin?

2)  How are the diaspora organisations organized and how they interact with other migrants and local communities of origin?

For more information, kindly read the short background note on theme 3 here below.

We would like to thank those who have contributed to the previous discussion. Please note that contributions related to the first and second themes are still welcome.

We look forward to an animated discussion on this third theme during the next two weeks.

For more information kindly visit: http://consultation-migration-en.blogspot.com/  

Best regards,

On behalf of the organizers

Leila Rispens-Noel

Coordinator, E-Consultation

Senior Advisor

International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions

Dakar, Senegal

E-mail: leila.wimler@gmail.com

E-mail: consultation-migration@cta.int

Weblog: http://consultation-migration-en.blogspot.com/  

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Background Note:

Theme 3: Role of migrants and Diaspora groups in rural development

The term “diasporas” refers to expatriate groups which, in contrast to “migrants”, applies to expatriate populations abroad and generations born abroad to foreign parents who are or may be citizens of their countries of residence. (IOM, Engaging Diasporas as Development Partners for Home and Destination Countries: Challenges for Policymakers, IOM Migration Research Series, No. 26, January, 2007)

Sheffer defines diasporas as a “socio-political formation, created as a result of either voluntary or forced migration, whose members regard themselves as of the same ethno-national origin and who permanently reside as minorities in one or several host countries. Members of such entities maintain regular or occasional contacts with what they regard as their homeland and with individuals and groups of the same background residing in other host countries” (Sheffer, Gabriel, Ethnic diasporas: A threat to their host? In Weiner, Myron (ed), International Migration and Security. Boulder, CO, Westview Press, 1993.)

A potent benefit of high-skilled migration is the creation of a large, well-educated diaspora, which improves access to capital, information, and contacts for firms in countries of origin. Immigrants play a role in facilitating trade by providing information and helping to enforce contracts and by acting as intermediaries that can match buyers with reliable local suppliers. Some studies emphasize that diasporas can act as “first movers” who catalyze growth opportunities and make connections between markets that otherwise would not exist. Others cite the importance of diasporas in generating possibilities for co-development between firms in the countries of origin and destination, and expanding technical cooperation as seen in the increasing number of hometown associations, diaspora organizations, or philanthropic migrant organizations. However, despite the broad agreement on the importance of diasporas and the many anecdotal comments on how they have assisted development, it is difficult to quantify these benefits. (World Bank, Global Economic Prospects. Economic Implications of Remittances and Migration, 2006, http://go.worldbank.org/0ZRERMGA00).

QUESTIONS:

 *  At the meso level, many communities benefit from development projects initiated and funded by associations of migrants overseas. What existing initiatives (best practices) do we know initiated by diaspora organizations which benefit their respective communities of origin?

 *  How are the Diaspora groups organized and how do they interact with migrants and local communities in regions?

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Chers participants,

Nous avons le plaisir de lancer la discussion sur le troisième thème de notre e-consultation, notamment le rôle des migrants et des groupes de diasporas dans le développement rural

Il existe de nombreuses études sur la contribution des transferts de fonds des migrants au développement. Toutefois, beaucoup de ces débats politiques ont tendance à séparer les envois de fonds des migrants, ou pour mieux dire, ils parlent de transferts de fonds mais pas des expéditeurs des ces transferts.

Katleen Felix, du Fonkoze Haïti, a écrit sur ses pages de Facebook ses impressions sur le récent sommet des décideurs et des organisations d'aide internationale à Montréal, au Canada, pour discuter de la façon de répondre aux besoins des victimes du séisme. Parmi les 700 participants, seulement 10 étaient des diasporas. Les migrants haïtiens ont été invités seulement à la première partie de la réunion et à la conférence de presse à la fin de la journée.

Katleen a déploré que le fait qu'au niveau international, les diasporas ne sont pas vraiment reconnus comme des partenaires de développement. Les Diasporas haïtiennes qui ont les compétences, l'expertise et les connaissances ne sont pas (encore) ciblées pour être impliqués dans le processus de secours et de reconstruction d'Haïti.

La Banque mondiale estime que les Haïtiens à l'étranger envoyent de 1,5 milliard à 1,8 milliard de dollars par an en transferts d'argent. C'est beaucoup plus du montant total d'aide étrangère qu'Haïti reçoit et représente une source important de revenus pour  des millions de familles en Haïti, tributaires de transferts de fonds. L'aide des donateurs internationaux à la suite du tremblement de terre est mise en évidence par les médias. L'appui fourni par la diaspora haïtienne aux zones rurales touchées par le séisme est à peine reconnu. Un article intéressant sur cette question peut être consultés à l'adresse: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/columnists/let-haitians-already-in-u-s-help-rebuild-195030.html

Au cours de cette troisième partie de la consultation, nous souhaitons connaître vos expériences ou avis sur les activités et les initiatives des organisations de diasporas. Il serait intéressant de connaître quelques exemples concrets de projets ou initiatives gérées par les associations des villes natales dans différents pays, en particulier dans les zones rurales.

Nous allons essayer de répondre à deux questions clés, à savoir:

1) Au niveau méso, de nombreuses communautés bénéficient de projets de développement lancés et financés par des associations de migrants à l'étranger. Quelles sont les initiatives existantes (meilleures pratiques) entreprises par des organisations de diasporas dont bénéficient leurs communautés respectives d'origine?

2) Comment les groupes de diasporas sont-ils organisés et comment se relationent-ils avec les migrants et les communautés locales dans les régions?

Nous tenons à remercier ceux qui ont contribué à la discussion sur les thèmes précédents. Veuillez noter que les contributions portant sur le thème 1 et 2 sont encore les bienvenues.

Au plaisir de lire vos contributions au cours des deux prochaines semaines,

Cordialement,

Au nom des organisateurs


Leila Rispens-Noël

Coordinatrice, e-consultation

Senior Advisor

International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions

Dakar, Senegal

E-mail: leila.wimler@gmail.com

E-mail: consultation-migration@cta.int

WEBLOG:  http://consultation-migration-en.blogspot.com/