On the concept, relevance and practice of Diaspora Mapping

The Diaspora Engagement Affairs Directorate General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the representatives of the International Office of Migration (IOM) provided a briefing to the Ethiopian Ambassadors, Consuls General and Ministry officials on Sunday .      State Minister, Dewano Kedir, in his opening remarks, underlined the importance of the concept, relevance and practice of Diaspora Mapping for the Ambassadorial Annual Review Meeting. He noted that the Government had prioritized the role of the Diaspora in socio-economic development and the democratization process of the country. It had also formulated the Diaspora policy and particular mechanisms for engaging the Diaspora in these processes. The sessions would, therefore, provide a general introduction to the concept and practices of Diaspora mapping and demonstrate its importance as part of a Diaspora engagement strategy as well as describe its elements and experiences at international level in executing such exercises. It would also look at lessons and foster discussion on practical ways for Ethiopian Diplomatic Missions and authorities to set up a mapping mechanism. Representatives of the IOM in South Africa and Moldova gave presentations on the relevance and need for conducting Diaspora mapping within the context of Diaspora engagement; and shared the experiences of other countries on the process. The mapping process is the first step to engage the Diaspora and its purpose was also to improve capacity to engage the Diaspora in medium and long term development processes, as well as bring about a significant role in human capital, to transfer knowledge, technology, skills and expertise. Other elements cover social, including collective and economic benefits deriving from cooperation between Government and the Diaspora, and financial, cultural and political areas. All are important leverages for development of the country. The briefing underlined that the role of the Government to strengthen and encourage Diaspora engagement, and the role of the Ethiopian diplomatic missions abroad as well as the instruments and communication tools used to improve the relationship were crucial. After the presentations and question and answer sessions, it was agreed that policy regulations, directives and practical follow up proposals, as well as possible models for Diaspora mapping, prioritizing needs and matching action to active engagement, should be summarized and put forward to the Ministry for follow up

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