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European Development Days

Odessa Primus, Director of Go Think Initiative was selected as this year’s Young Leader on Migration and Mobility by the European Commission for their European Development Days in Brussels on the 7th and 8th of June.

Odessa Primus speaking on her experience in Greece and Lebanon

Odessa spoke on the high level panel: ‘Root causes of migration: new narrative, new purpose and new targets for development funding?’ along Rainer Münz (Advisor on Migration and Demography, European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission), Gervais Appave (Special Advisor to Director-General, International Organization for Migration), and Muhumed Hussein (Country Director for Uganda, Norwegian Refugee Council).

The entire video recording of Odessa's panel on migration (min.: 18:28): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdabSHerTa4&t=3119s&list=PLls5Y9bWJPXdERZHXuyR4qaiELb680tSH&index=3

Her second panel on ’The role of religions and beliefs building sustainable communities' : https://eudevdays.eu/sessions/role-religions-and-beliefs-building-sustainable-communities

Odessa's interview with Gervais Appave, Senior Advisor to the Director General of IOM with United Nations SDG stand at EDD 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oshuhy2uJsY&index=23&list=PLxqPwHD3yBpFq1QdSL0TBo3kQjn723q-c

Her interview with Cecile Riallant, Head of UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative, at the #SDGStudio at European Development Days, #EDD17 in Brussels on 8 June 2017: Role of Local Authorities in Implementing Migration-related elements of SDGs: Cecile Riallant, UN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGag2uVC30o&index=24&list=PLxqPwHD3yBpFq1QdSL0TBo3kQjn723q-c

Young Leaders with Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, and SDG Advocate

Young Leaders with Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, and SDG Advocate

With Jeffrey Sachs and Muhammad Yunus

With Jeffrey Sachs and Muhammad Yunus

Key points

  • Development does not reduce migration in low-income countries. On the contrary, migration is an inevitable consequence of development.
  • One root cause of refugee movements is conflict, which requires political solutions not development assistance.
  • Migration management may be at cross-purposes with development assistance, since development funding is being diverted to security-driven policies.
  • The crisis of 2015/16 in Europe was one of intra-EU solidarity, not of refugees.
  • Legal pathways are one approach to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.


The policy community dealing with development is quite separate from the one focusing on migration, yet development has migration effects and migration has a development dimension. The two communities need to talk to each other more and engage in joint planning.

Later Event: June 29
The Economist - Innovation Summit