Regional F2F on Migration and Development in Moldova

Regional F2F on Migration and Development in Moldova


Radu Danii, National Program Officer, Migration and Development, Swiss Cooperation Office Chisinau, Moldova

The second Regional Workshop (F2F) on Migration and Development (M&D) took place in Chisinau, Moldova, from 4 to 6 July 2016. It brought together participants from Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Poland, as well as representatives of the SDC Global Programme Migration and Development (GPMD), Western Balkans Division (WBA) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

The workshop was built around the topic of Migration and Local Development, including migrant/diaspora engagement in local development and mainstreaming Migration and Development (M&D) in local strategies and plans. The Moldovan experience was showcased, including the Swiss Cooperation Office`s (SCO) programmatic approach towards M&D, its complementarities with the Joint IOM-UNDP Programme “Mainstreaming Migration Into National Development Strategies”, synergies between M&D initiatives and other cooperation domains, and field visits to SCO Moldova project sites.

An intensive exchange with the Moldovan implementing partners UNDP, IOM, Bureau for Relations with Diaspora (BRD) and Nexus took place. The field visit to Ungheni, the “small city with the big heart”, gave manifold insights. Mayor A. Ambros explained that Ungheni includes all its citizens in its “big heart”, also the nearly 6’000 emigrants (of approx. 40’000 inhabitants). Ungheni welcomes the Swiss funded programme striving to strengthen services for migrants at the local level, and supporting initiatives to maintain the migrants’ links with their hometown. In the Nexus service centre the workshop participants met Ungheni inhabitants intending to migrate and family members of migrants, and learnt about their demands and services requested. The Ungheni visit concluded with a short trip to the steel bridge over the river Prut, connecting Moldova and Romania. It was constructed by Gustave Eiffel as a kind of apprenticeship piece before building the Paris Eiffel tower.

Exchange among participants on other topics of relevance for Swiss cooperation in the region, such as the Joint IOM-UNDP Programme “Mainstreaming Migration Into Development Strategies”, Migration and the 2030 Agenda/Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the new Swiss Bill to Parliament on International Cooperation, Migration Partnerships, and the “Migration Crisis” in Europe, also took place. The draft “M&D Working Tool Western Balkans” was presented and discussed. It has generally been well received and will be revised according to the discussion held, before being distributed for further consultation.

What does Switzerland do in Moldova?

The Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2014-2017 for Moldova includes a programme aiming to maximize the positive impact of migration on the country’s socio-economic development. This programme includes three interlinked components:

  1. Enabling environment – Under this component, interventions focus on improving Moldova’s M&D institutional framework and building the capacity of national authorities. With Swiss assistance the Bureau for Relations with Diaspora developed Moldova’s first national strategy on diaspora engagement “Diaspora 2025”, adopted in February 2016. The strategy focuses on protecting the rights of migrants and developing mechanisms to enhance the Moldovan migrant community’s participation. At the national level, the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family is assisted in the drafting and implementation of the new Employment Strategy, focusing on youth employment and the reintegration of migrants.
  2. Migrant-centric products and services – Switzerland supports research on how to tap into the potential of migrants as an attractive customer group for the private sector. Products and services relevant for migrants and their families are developed and tested with local, national and international public and private partners such as insurance companies, banks, recruitment agencies, training providers and travel agencies. Women and men affected by migration will have access to comprehensive, client centred support, counselling, information and relevant services.
  3. Migrants and diaspora engagement and leveraging of resources Swiss interventions promote opportunities for migrants to participate and invest in the development of their home country and communities of origin. Local authorities also receive support to involve migrants in community development, using their financial and non-financial resources (such as skills and networks).

Concluding remarks
Based on the experiences that were shared and discussed, as well as similarities and differences between various initiatives implemented in represented countries, the participants retained the following:

  • M&D should have a space in Swiss Cooperation Strategies. Migration should always be considered in the context analysis and its integration in priority domains should be evaluated.
  • To secure the sustainability of M&D programmes, local and national ownership has to be fostered. Public authorities should be directly involved in steering M&D interventions.
  • Ideally investment projects, technical assistance, consultancy, and policy influencing are combined. Accountability of public authorities should be ensured when it comes to migrants` investments.
  • Switzerland`s role should go beyond funding. Through the GPMD, access to relevant regional and global expertise can be provided, and networking and sharing of knowledge and experience enabled, such as through the SDC Migration Network and Newsletter as well as through international fora.
  • Switzerland strives to work at local, national and regional levels with public authorities, private companies, civil society, multilateral and international organizations. The role of each has to be clear and an overall coordination at the national level should be ensured. Feedback loops between experiences and good practices from the ground and the policy-making process contribute to progress, as does constant results monitoring.
  • Swiss M&D interventions at all levels should be grounded on an evidence-based approach. Continuous update of national, regional and local migration profiles is crucial for designing targeted and meaningful interventions.
  • Swiss M&D interventions should be in line with evolving global standards and frameworks, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. Conversely, experiences and lessons drawn from Swiss M&D interventions should feed into the global policy dialogue.
  • M&D interventions should include outreach activities to ensure that members of disadvantaged groups, including minorities, have full access to products and services, following the non-discrimination principle. Partners and beneficiaries should be actively involved in the planning, implementation and management of those interventions.