Key considerations and recommendations to UNHCR and United Nations’ Member States

This paper sets forth joint recommendations of Danish Refugee Council Diaspora Programme, DEMAC (Diaspora Emergency Action and Coordination) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (Sector Project Forced Displacement, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ) for the Global Compact on Refugees’ Programme of Action, bringing together perspectives from a humanitarian and a development point of view. It is based on the experiences of DRC Diaspora Programme, DEMAC and GIZ, as well as consultations with diaspora communities in Europe for possible modalities of diaspora engagement.

The objective of this paper is to ensure that the voices and perspectives of diaspora organisations will be reflected in the Global Compact on Refugee’s Programme of Action. Diasporas are dispersed collectives residing outside their country of origin who “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: 2003, 9-10).

Diasporas include first generation emigrants and their descendants, former refugees and asylum seekers. “Diaspora and refugee overlap significantly and are neither linear, nor static categories. The terms “refugee” and “diaspora” are situational identities that overlap and shift over time and depending on context. There is no bright line demarcation”. (Research paper No.278: 2016, UNHCR, 4)

DRC, DEMAC and GIZ are focusing in this paper on diaspora organisations which are formally constituted entities comprising diaspora members that operate in their countries of settlement and countries of origin, and may also work in neighbouring (third) countries. Their unique connection and understanding of their home country (and in some cases neighbouring countries) plays a vital role in humanitarian relief and development.

DRC Diaspora Programme, DEMAC consortium and GIZ’ recommended overall success criteria for the GCR

DRC Diaspora Programme, DEMAC and GIZ’ overall ambition for the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) is that it becomes an instrument that improves the international community’s performance in fulfilling refugees’ rights to protection and durable solutions. That it will result in better opportunities for refugees and host communities to live in dignity where needs are met, protection is ensured, self-reliance is possible and abilities to pursue solutions are available.

DRC Diaspora Programme, DEMAC and GIZ consider the diaspora an important actor contributing to the overall success of the GCR who needs to be part of any “whole-of-society”-approach. Diaspora contributes individually to solutions (e.g. remittances), but also organized in structures such as networks, associations, businesses etc.

DRC Diaspora Programme, DEMAC and GIZ consider the following two new parameters to be included in the Global Compact on Refugees:

1. Participation and Consultation of diasporas and former refugees in the “whole of society” approach

The GCR must be an instrument that places the interests of refugees and their host communities at the centre, and allows affected people to influence the political as well as the practical implementation of future comprehensive refugee responses. It requires clear roles, responsibilities and lines of accountability in a new “whole-of-society” approach to refugee response.

2. Inclusion of diaspora communities in the global refugee response group

These core parameters inform DRC Diaspora Programme, DEMAC and GIZ’ recommendations for the Programme of Action below, which structure is aligned to the thematic consultations and the associated concept papers.




Global Compact on Refugees - Official Page

Towards a Global Compact on Refugees - UNHCR