Engaging Ukrainian Diaspora in Development

23 May 2013

Representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora, Government, Parliament, and migration experts gathered today in Kyiv to discuss challenges faced by Ukrainians abroad and to explore their potential to contribute to Ukraine's development at local, regional and national levels. The conference was organized in the framework of the European Union ? funded Project ?Effective Governance of Labour Migration and Its Skills Dimensions?. The project is implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

?Depending on definitions, the size of the Ukrainian diaspora is estimated between 12 and 20 million, with the biggest communities residing in the Russian Federation, Canada, and the United States. A substantial number of Ukrainians also reside in the EU countries,? IOM Ukraine?s Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi informed. According to Mr. Profazi, the overall development potential of diasporas can reach significant levels, not only promoting investment and better use of remittances, but also supporting circulation of skills, knowledge and new technology, exchange of experiences, building institutional partnerships. ?Harnessing the potential of its diaspora?s human, financial and social capital is what IOM would like to assist the Ukrainian Government with,? IOM Ukraine?s Chief of Mission stated.

ILO Coordinator in Ukraine Serhii Savchuk in his opening remarks mentioned that ?there is a need to increase effectiveness of labour migration management in order to expand its potential for countries of origin and destination, as well as for the benefit of migrants and their communities.?

Andrew Rasbash, Minister Counsellor at the EU Delegation in Kyiv in his opening remarks emphasized the importance of the diaspora in helping Ukraine deal with the challenges of reform and European integration. He noted  that "Implementation of the Association Agreement, which we hope to see signed in Vilnius, is a major opportunity, but also a major challenge for Ukraine. Expertise from Ukraine' diaspora can surely help meet the challenge and realise the opportunity."

Valerii Patskan, Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations listed main tasks for Ukraine as a country of migrants? origin. According to Mr. Patksan, there is a need to minimize irregular external labour migration of Ukrainians. ?The State should also monitor external labour migration; create favorable conditions for return of Ukrainians, including development of a modern mobile internal labour market with sufficient working places and decent salaries,? Mr. Patskan added. Among other measures on the agenda, he mentioned strengthening of social and legal protection of Ukrainian citizens abroad and fostering international cooperation in order to facilitate their movement across borders.

 For further information please contact IOM Ukraine Communications Officer Ms. Varvara Zhluktenko (+38 044 568 50 15, 067 447 97 92, vzhluktenko@iom.int)