First Advisory Board meeting

12.01.2016

The first Advisory Board meeting was held in Geneva on Monday 11 January 2016. Representatives of OCHA, ECHO, IOM, WSH Secretariat, EU delegation, Save the Children, and 5 diaspora organisations participated in the meeting.

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The overall reaction to DEMAC was very positive, with broad recognition of the project’s potential, and an expressed wish to follow and participates in its progress. The meeting confirmed the perception of DEMAC as a relevant and innovative approach towards addressing the globally recognized need for broader collaboration in humanitarian response.

The unique approach of diasporas and their comparative advantages should be enhanced and strengthened through an increased interaction with the conventional system; They should be integrated, but not mainstreamed into conventional actors.

Diaspora organisations are able to continuously adapt their mandate to the actual needs, and therefore adjust their activities to ongoing crises. They have a multi-mandate, flexible approach. When a humanitarian crisis or a natural disaster arises they start to intervene and adapt their interventions to the needs of the communities in their country of origin. They are able to bridge humanitarian and development work, but the conventional response is not sufficient aware of diaspora contributions made in crises. The classical approach of the conventional system struggle with taking into consideration diaspora humanitarianism. There remains an essential lacunae of knowledge in the analyses of humanitarian actors about diasporas contributions and it is still difficult to discern the specific value added by diaspora actors. This requires improved visibility of diaspora impact and added value. For future research conducted within DEMAC, the following themes were suggested as being of interest: trust as a key element in diaspora transfers, motives for diaspora interventions, diasporic philanthropy.