The Diaspora Ministerial Conference held on 18–19 June 2013 is a landmark in the history of the global debate on migration and development. Amid the flurry of international events leading up to the 2nd United Nations High Level Dialogue (HLD) on International Migration and Development in October 2013, the diaspora conference marks the first and only gathering of high-level politicians from all parts of the world responsible for diaspora and their engagement in the development of their countries of origin.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) dedicated its International Dialogue on Migration in 2013 to the diaspora theme with the full support of its Member States, and with a view to contributing a diaspora perspective to the HLD 2013 and the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. IOM was well positioned to organize such a high-level dialogue in view of the fact that it has assisted States in creating the institutions and strategies to adapt to the new realities of a transnational world.
The conference highlighted the importance of diasporas not only in closing the distance between societies, cultures and economies, but also in assisting in crisis and post-crisis situations. It encouraged governments to champion and engage diasporas at the highest political levels and mainstream diasporas in local, national and regional labour markets and development planning. Diasporas should also be included in any post-2015 development goal on global partnerships. Embassies and consulates need to be strengthened to provide outreach and services to diaspora communities, and business environments in the countries of origin need to be robust enough to attract diaspora investments or involvement in sustainable development projects to generate jobs and growth. More solid data are needed on the impact of national immigration, labour market and development policies on the behaviour of diaspora.
By all accounts, the conference has set a new framework for global dialogue on diaspora. IOM has been requested to make the Diaspora Ministerial Conference a regular event.