Interview with Giulia Castro, Migration and Rural Employment Specialist.
– What led FAO to work with ADEPT on migration/development projects or actions? What is the added value of such a collaboration/partnership?
Diasporas are key players in sustainable development. In particular, diaspora communities support food security and agri-food systems in their countries of origin, through capital investments, skills and technology transfer, know-how and social networks. Yet, to date, diaspora’s engagement in agricultural and rural development has been limited because of a number of challenges related to investing in rural areas – such as lack of expertise in agriculture, limited capacities to enforce decisions and understand market dynamics at a distance.
At the global level, working with partners such as ADEPT, FAO raises awareness on the potential of involving diaspora communities in rural development and improving overall coherence between agricultural and diaspora policies.
At the country level, we work to facilitate diaspora financial and non-financial contributions in agribusiness by strengthening multi-stakeholder policy dialogue and empowering diaspora agri-entrepreneurs and organizations.
The active involvement of diaspora organizations as partners in project development and implementation is central for FAO. For instance, in Uganda we have formalized a collaboration with a diaspora-led organization to implement project activities.
By combining their respective technical knowledge and expertise, FAO and ADEPT collaborate to promote a positive narrative around migration and enhance capacity and impact of African diaspora organizations for rural poverty reduction. Together, the two organizations launched a campaign about diaspora contribution to COVID-19 recovery and organized a roundtable on migrants’ contribution to emergency response and post-crisis recovery and the importance of engaging diaspora networks.
This partnership is well in line with FAO’s approach to establish collaborations with a wide range of actors, including civil society and, more recently, also including diaspora networks. Working hand in hand with civil society is crucial for FAO to scale-up impact in its work for and with migrants and migrant communities.
– Which steps should be taken to bring such partnership/collaboration to the next level? According to you, what major challenges must be overcome?
FAO and ADEPT should keep working together to empower African diaspora organizations by promoting diaspora-inclusive policy dialogue in countries of origin and strengthening capacities of diaspora agripreneurs and associations. FAO’s technical expertise on migration, agriculture and rural development coupled with ADEPT’s wide range of diaspora networks, can facilitate policy dialogue among diaspora networks, policy makers, and private sector of selected countries of origin and boost agribusiness skills trainings for diaspora and families in rural areas of origin, with special attention to women and youth.
– In your view, what unexplored role could or should ADEPT and/or its members play in development?
ADEPT is well positioned to keep advocating for the key role played by diaspora in socio-economic development of countries of origin and destination. In addition, ADEPT could further increase its efforts towards strengthening policy dialogue on diaspora-related matters as well as diaspora representation in decision-making processes in collaboration with International Organizations.
– Do you have a message for the African diaspora?
African diaspora play a vital role in countries’ socio-economic development but more efforts are needed to maximize the impact of their activities. Responses require multi-stakeholder partnerships, including diaspora associations, International Organizations, and Governments, to bring diaspora voices in global fora as well as facilitate their inclusion in decision-making process.