To launch the Parliamentary network on diaspora policies, which will promote political and legislative reforms regarding the role of diasporas in countries of origin and host societies, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) organised a conference, on 7 and 8 September in Lisbon, at the invitation of the Portuguese Parliament.
This new network will operate as a platform bringing together parliamentarians from countries of origin and host countries and diaspora associations, fostering information exchanges on good practices, promoting the role of these associations in the integration of migrants in host societies and, finally, developing political cooperation between countries of origin and host countries.
The conference opened by Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, Speaker of the Portuguese Parliament, René Rouquet, Vice-President of the PACE, and Tomáš Bocek, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on Migration and Refugees, covered several themes enhancing the role of diasporas in European societies. Mr William Lacy Swing, Director General of International Organisation for Migration gave a keynote address for the audience. The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe has contributed to the sessions on the promotion of intercultural dialogue, moderated by the Executive Director of the North-South Centre, Ambassador António Gamito and the role of diasporas in building cohesive societies, which was moderated by the Chair of the Executive Committee of the North-South Centre, Mr. Jean-Marie Heydt.
Members of the Parliaments of European and Southern Mediterranean States issued a final statement agreeing to focus the activities of the network on promoting democratic participation, political cooperation between countries of origin and host countries and strengthening dialogue between members of the network and diaspora associations.