Global Meeting 2016 - Switzerland

Global Meeting 2016 - Switzerland

The Global Meeting on Migration and Development, brought together key stakeholders from governments, civil society, international organisations and research working in the area of international cooperation as well as migration and development (M&D) in various regional and national contexts. At the centre of the discussions was the Agenda 2030 and implications for its implementation from a migration and development perspective, considering a number of sustainable development goals. The overall goal was to exchange on practices and perspectives, establish common ground, and strengthen a global network engaged for a pragmatic and result-oriented implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The workshop was articulated along the four main thematic clusters including a) the current status of the Agenda 2030, b) forced displacement and development in the context of the Agenda 2030 and its implementation, c) migration as a transversal topic within SDG goal 5 on Gender, goal 3 on Health and goal 8 on Decent Work, and d) the implementation and contextualisation of the Agenda 2030 at national level and implications for the different stakeholders. Interested to read more about these discussions? For more details please download the full report (PDF).


Full Report (PDF, 267kb, en)


Event programme (pdf)


Find all photos in this flickr album.


View all videos here




Taking Stock / Next steps

by Barbara Weyermann (27.05.2016)

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Representatives from the governments of Nigeria, Bangladesh and Serbia talked about their plans for addressing the SDGs related to migration. They have chosen different approaches but all  government plans were elaborate and coherent and certainly a big step forward to what existed even a year or two ago. All panelists mentioned how important it was to integrate the perspective of migrants when developing strategies to better protect and empower migrants. However when asked about the political drivers for taking migration seriously, pressure by governments of countries of destination and/or the relevance of remittances seemed to overshadow all  other considerations. The questions by representatives of civil society from the floor pointed to the gaps between government plans and stated intentions and the experienced reality on the ground. SDC which promotes the role of civil society in the migration dialogue at all levels could ensure that in a forum like this the panels better reflect the dialogue between governments and civil society. A concrete suggestion for involving civil society stronger was made during the subsequent group discussion of participants from South Asia: civil society should be participating in the technical working group related to the 2030 agenda in preparation of the GFMD.

This group discussion brought out clearly the confusion as to how the 2030 agenda will be taken forward at every level.  In our group we spent most of the time trying to understand who will have to do what in terms of defining indicators.

The conference participants can be divided into two groups, the ones who were involved in the SDG deliberations and those who were not. For the second group to which I belong the conference was educative and provided a first glimpse into the vision that the SDGs represent and the mammoth task that lies ahead. Now, GPMD may want to engage with “the field” as they kept calling all of us who do not represent the global north, to build capacity in translating the vision into action at our respective local level. I look forward to this process and hope to be able to report back at our next meeting what we have achieved.


Going from “They” to “I” and “We”

by Ramla Allani (27.05.2016)

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How as a community of practionners dealing on a daily basis with migration and development can we change mindsets? What should be our main roles?

That is the main question that drives my thoughts during the Migration and Development Global Meeting 2016. It was clear through the discussions that the insertion of migration into the global developmental agenda is indeed a step forward. Still, how to make that works at global and local levels?

To undergo the challenges that the political debate internationally brings, there is a crucial need to engage more with politicians to bridge the knowledge gap on the opportunities that Sustainable Development Goals can bring into the migration debate.

Changing politicians mindsets at global and local levels is key to elevate the debate on migration from fearing “they migrants” to building a common understanding on “we all together” sharing responsibilities.

To do so, it is crucial to continue enshrine migration and development within a human-rights based approach and to put more efforts to improve data and evidences on the opportunities that migration offers for development.

Finally, François Crépeau, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, inspired my thoughts as he suggested changing the discourse from “migration” to “mobility”. Indeed, at the end of the meeting, I believe that our role as a community of practionners should be to devote all our efforts to provide concrete evidences that human mobility is an opportunity as such that should be available for all of us and should be fully achievable in decent conditions.


Migration across different goals of the Agenda 2030

by Vani Saraswathi (26.05.2016)

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During the second day of the global meeting, we took part in multiple conversations, in the format of talk shows and world cafe, to discuss the interaction of migration with development objectives on Health, Gender and Decent work. Below a reflection from Vani Saraswathi specifically on the aspect of gender as a transversal theme.

Whom are we speaking to? Whom are we speaking for? Who are WE?
The most vulnerable continue to be excluded from discussions that directly affect their well being and security. As a South Asian migrant woman, my understanding and sensitivity is still limited by my privileges.
Today’s discussions on gender, health and decent work, as interesting as it was, seemed to be abstract. The discussions presumed to understand the issues facing women. The expertise on the table still will be outweighed by the lived experiences of the women for whom we seek to provide solutions.
These are women who leave home and family to become the breadwinner. Women who are left behind with a home, aged and young family in need of care. Women from traditionally patriarchal societies and political systems who have to swap gender rules, and yet subvert their own agency to be able to fit a pre-determined stereotype.
How do we, with the privileges our education and work, understand their lives and decisions?
Even in countries in West Asia, domestic workers who have managed to form associations still have to do so under the auspices of a male-controlled trade union movement.
At the end of the talk show and world cafe, I wonder if this set up is the problem? Have we, in the smugness of our expertise, forgotten that thesis and research can only ride on the back of strong grassroots movement?
We have seen in South Asia that the most successful sexual and reproductive health programmes were those that used women from the community as peer educators. It was not the state-of-the-art health facilities that clicked, but the empathetic understanding of a community health worker.
Similarly, some of the successful financial literacy programmes in Nepal involve returning migrants. It’s not from a banker in a conventional bank.
When we look at the 17 SDGs that cross cut issues of migration and development, it would be interesting to see who tailors the agenda to reach the goals and connected targets. Whose goals are these? How do you make citizens take ownership for these goals? What if these (commendable) goals get lost in the jargon of bureaucracy and political obtrusion.
As a CSO and media representative, I know that in this day of too much information the messenger is as important as the message – and the resolver is as important as the resolution.


Sustainable development in the context of forced displacement

by Owen Shumba (25.05.2016)

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The headline today is that all migrants are not the same, whether economic migrants or forcibly displaced people: they have rights; aspirations, and many more. Today, we have over 60 million forcibly displaced people; with about 40 million IDPs and the rest refugees. This is the largest displacement level since World War II. Many people have said the length of displacement is on average 17 years; although the average number might be low, many men and women are growing up in displacement with many of these in urban areas – according to World Bank these are about 61%. It is noteworthy that the problem of IDPs and refugees is localized – with few key countries being the source of huge number of refugees and IDPs and few hosting the largest numbers, for example Turkey, Lebanon, Pakistan, etc.

So what should the international community including national and local actors do to address this situation?

First, we should all work for close collaboration between humanitarian and development actors, including sharing our analysis, and planning together where possible.

This includes:

  • encouraging funding agencies to provide flexible multi-year resources;
  • encouraging countries to put in place strong policies and legal frameworks to facilitate the inclusion of displaced people, including refugees, in society; and
  • working together more closely with local governments, to ensure that the needs of displaced and host communities are embedded in local-level planning, programmes, and budgets as UNDP and UNHCR, have done for instance, with the Municipality of Bogota in Colombia under the Transitional Solutions Initiative (2012-2016).

The issue of data is a new frontier. But if we need to set up realistic targets, develop and implement realist policies and interventions we need to strengthen the collection of data for refugees /IDPs.

Second, we should strengthen our support to governments to integrate the needs of Internally Displaced Persons, refugees, and host communities into national development plans, strategies, and United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks, as UNDP and UNHCR, for instance, have done in support of the Governments of Jordan and Lebanon to strengthen the national response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Clearly, a resilience based development approach that focuses on strengthening coping strategies, supporting recovery, and sustainability of development gains need to be vigorously pursued in such contexts.

Third, we need an integrated approach that recognizes the plight of host communities and work with them to build resilience, and to sustainably host refugees and IDPs, and do more to support mitigation of policies that affect jobs and livelihoods;

But how does forced displacement end: It ends with a new migration, local integration – at least de facto, self-reliance of refugees and /or IDPs, resettlement, integration and support returnees and return communities.


The Syria crisis is now well into its fifth year. Six and a half million people are displaced inside Syria; and in Lebanon, 25 per cent of the population consists of Syrian refugees; in Jordan, the figure is around 20 per cent. Turkey is now host to more than 2 million Syrians and Iraqis, and Iraq and Egypt too are also hosting significant numbers of Syrians. For Iraq, this is in addition to 3.2 million internally displaced people.

The London Conference promised funds for jobs, health and education. But jobs are a top priority at the moment. The issue of migrants in labour market is therefore an important one. In Jordan and Lebanon, a number of agencies are undertaking studies on the contribution of migrants to local and national economies. The major problem, though, is that the studies are not coordinated especially in Jordan. But the issue of data collection on labor market is crucial one, and one that needs to be pursued, and information laid out for employment policy and programming purposes;

The London Conferences requested Jordan to open its labor market, and create over 200,000 jobs, and not only jobs but decent jobs. Hence, to fulfil this, the Jordanian Government sees the need for detailed labor market assessment.

But it’s not the government that creates jobs; it is the private sector that create jobs; Coming out of the London Conference donors are keen to provide funding for innovative solutions that work for refugees, IDPs and host communities. This means that closer collaboration is required with the private sector, right now moving forward.

Beyond jobs, and livelihoods, addressing the root causes of displacement and benefits of migration, are important areas to focus on. The four key root causes that are driving the increased levels of migration and displacement are insufficient development gains, protracted conflicts and violent extremism, governance challenges and the effects of climate change. The solutions to this forced displacement crisis shadow the root causes that have led to the longer term migration explosion – more effective and democratic governance, economic opportunity, prevention and mitigation of the effects of environmental degradation and climate change, conflict prevention, as well as building back better after economic, social, environmental and political shocks. UNDP and other agencies are working on these in countries such as Jordan, Iraq, Djibouti, Sudan, etc.

But the focus of our interventions should never leave out host communities.

More needs to be done to contribute to ending the scourge of forced displacement. This include the following:

  • Need to advocate for better and positive messages on migrants. Migrants have a positive impact on local development. The fear of opening up the labor market for refugees is a draw back.
  • Reduce the market for smugglers and increase numbers for resettlement;
  • Designing and implementing long term policies on migration and displacement at national /local level;
  • Improved coordinated approaches to migration and displacement e.g. through platforms such as the Solutions Alliance.
  • Allowing mobility between and amongst countries, with migrants supported and allowed to fight for their rights, and this we can help them.

Above all we need to do more still on conflict prevention, support to self-reliance, building a protective environment and integrate protection features into operational response and remedial action, and strengthening partnership at local and global levels.


Migration and Agenda 2030: a global commitment

by Stefan Bigler (25.05.2016)

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Migration and the 2030 Agenda – It is a big chance for development that is accompanied by many challenges!

The first sessions of this global meeting have set the scene impressively and the expectations are high for the coming days. Migration and the Agenda 2030: What is the current status? How is migration positioned in the Sustainable Development Goals? How can they be implemented and what are the challenges actors are faced with in doing so? These were some of the main issues that were brought up in the opening sessions.

It is recognized that the 2030 Agenda represents a paradigm shift in the way that it reflects migration, and how the potential of migration to contribute to development is acknowledged by the international community. This represents an enormous chance for migrants, development actors and governments, which is maybe only equaled by the size of the challenge the implementation of the SDGs represents overall, and in particular the commitment to “leave no one behind”. As one participant said, in order to implement the 2030 Agenda “We need the hyperactivity of the devoted”!

Some of the main points mentioned this morning, that will surely also be discussed in more detail in the remainder of the three days included that: First, we should look at migration in the SDGs not only where an explicit link is made in a target. We rather need to look at all targets that mention “for all”, because that includes also all migrants, independent of their status. Second, the universality of the SDGs means that they have to be implemented in all countries across the world, also in the North. That is particularly pertinent – among other issues – when we look at migration and development and how Europe and other countries deal with related challenges. Third, the solidarity crises – as it was termed – that Europe goes through currently in relation to migration and the political discourse accompanying it, needs to be addressed by proactively and consistently highlighting the positive aspects of migration, including the enormous importance of migration for the economy and the resources that migrants bring. Forth, it is crucial for development actors to do a reality check, acknowledging the different realities at local, national and regional levels including the priorities on governments’ agendas. Fifth, we also have to recognize that many people do not want to migrate and that they should have the opportunity to remain where they are, or in other terms that migration should happen out of choice and not out of necessity.

The scene is set, now we need to define how we all want to contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda, or even go beyond it!


Presentations and resources

SDG Migration References

Michael Gerber’s presentation “The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development: a global commitment”

Migration & Forced Displacement discussion note

Migration & Health discussion note

Migration & Gender discussion note

Migration & Decent Work discussion note

Bangladesh approach to implementing Agenda 2030

Migration and Development in Serbia

Migration and Development in Nigeria

Further information and resources

​​About the event

With the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development recognizing migration as an important factor for sustainable development, we have for the first time ever globally accepted and nationally applicable targets on migration and development. At the same time, we acknowledge that the agenda is a living document and in order to recognize and utilise  its  full  potential,  it  will  have  to  be  constructively implemented and substantiated at national level with evolving practices and policies from the field. The current dynamics of global mobility in mixed migration contexts are in interaction with development objectives such as poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth, reducing inequalities, health, peaceful and inclusive societies or gender equality. States can neither effectively govern migration nor unlock its full human development benefits if not by acknowledging these interactions and integrating them in a coherent and comprehensive approach on migration and development.

The Global Meeting on Migration and Development, hosted by the SDC Migration Network, brought together key stakeholders from governments, civil society, UN/international organizations and research organizations working in the area of international cooperation and migration and development in various regional and national contexts to exchange on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda to make most use of this paradigm shift.
Global Meeting objectives:

  •     Establish a common understanding of the 2030 Agenda, its implications for migration and migrants across different goals and the roles of the different stakeholders
  •     Establish a basis for future exchange on the migration dimension of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda
  •     Contribute to the development of a narrative and common understanding of the 2030 Agenda as a possible long-term approach to address the root causes of forced displacement, to provide longer-term perspectives to those affected and to mitigate adverse effects

While we stand at the beginning of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and its implementation, a number of experiences are recognized as successful practices for years. This Global Meeting will attempt to link what works by experience with what matters by conviction and evidence.

More specifically, the Global Meeting seeks to exchange on the different approaches at national level, to establish common ground, to seek synergies and to strengthen a global network engaged for a pragmatic and results-oriented implementation of this agenda in contexts both marked by labour migration as well as forced migration.


​​Speakers Bio

Linda Al-Kalash

Director of Tamkeen Fields for Aid- Jordan \ Regional Coordinator of Arab Network for Migrants’ Rights ANMR. Linda is the founder and Director of Tamkeen Fields for Aid: an NGO established in 2007 working on protection rights of migrants and combating Human Trafficking. Her work includes legal advocacy and legal aid to migrants and victims of Human Trafficking. In J 2010, Linda was one of nine individuals awarded in a 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes by the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. And in 2011 Tamkeen was selected as one of five rewarded of French republic Human Rights Prize for its role in protecting the rights of female migrant workers. Linda is the Founding Chairperson of the Arab Network for Migrant Rights, established in 2013 to bring together and coordinate the work of civil society organizations in the Middle-East.

Nilim Baruah

Nilim Baruah has been working on migration issues since 1999 and earlier in the development field. Before assuming his current responsibilities as Senior Migration Specialist at the ILO (International Labour Organization) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok in 2011, he was the Chief Technical Adviser (CTA) of ILO technical cooperation labour migration projects in Southeast Asia (2010-11) and Eastern Europe/Central Asia (2007-2010). Earlier he headed IOM’s (International Organization for Migration) Labour Migration Division in Geneva from 2002-2007.

John Bingham

A lawyer and migrant, Mr. Bingham is Head of Policy for the International Catholic Migration Commission. Since 2011, Mr. Bingham and ICMC have coordinated civil society activities in the Global Forum on Migration and Development, as well as supporting the President of the UN General Assembly doing likewise for the UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in 2013. Before joining ICMC, Mr. Bingham worked for 8 years for Catholic Charities in New York, 8 years with Cambodians in a refugee camp and following their return to Cambodia, 8 years on Wall Street, where he was Vice President in the legal department of an investment bank.

François Crépeau

Full Professor and holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, at the Faculty of Law of McGill University. In 2011, he was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants. The focus of his current research includes migration control mechanisms, the rights of foreigners, the conceptualization of security as it applies to migrants, and the Rule of Law in the face of globalization. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was a Fellow 2008-2011 of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

Xavier Devictor

Xavier Devictor is managing the Global Program on Forced Displacement (GPFD) at the World Bank. Xavier Devictor, a French national, joined the World Bank in 1996. Prior to joining the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group, he held various positions working on fragile situations mainly in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa. His last position was Country manager for Poland and the Baltic Countries. Prior to joining the World Bank, Mr. Devictor worked in the private sector in Central Europe and in UNHCR. He holds a Master’s degree in Management and Economics from “Ecole Polytechnique” and a Master’s degree in Management and Engineering from “Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees”.

Yvonne Diallo-Sahli

Yvonne Diallo-Sahli is the SDC Migration Network Focal Point and a Programme Officer for the North Africa and Middle East region with the Global Programme Migration and Development at SDC’s Headquarters in Berne, Switzerland. Before assuming this responsibility in 2014 she served for the UN World Food Programme in numerous assignments at the organization’s Headquarters and in the Field, worked with the World Economic Forum in Geneva and held a number of positions with Swiss NGOs in the field of Migration. She holds a master degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Berne.

Matthias Ehidiamhen Esene

Matthias Ehidiamhen Esene is a Nigerian born on 15th May, 1982 in Benin City, Edo State. He obtained a Bachelor Degree in Philosophy from the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Nigeria in 2006 and a Master’s of Science Degree in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 2011. Esene currently works at the Headquarters of the National commission for Refugee, Migrants and IDPs, Abuja, as the Migration Programme Officer. Esene is exceptionally inspiring and has a quintessential sense of humour.

Bettina Etter

Ms. Bettina Etter is Programme Officer at the Global Programme on Migration and Development of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) based at the headquarters in Bern. Before assuming this position in January 2015, she served at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York from 2012 until 2014 as First Secretary and International Migration and Development Policy Advisor in charge of coordinating Switzerland’s engagement in the second UN High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development held in October 2013. Prior to this position, she was a member of the task force coordinating Switzerland’s chairmanship of the 2011 Global Forum on Migration and Development. She holds a Master’s degree in Intercultural Conflict Management from the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Germany.

Gibril Faal

Gibril Faal is a co-founder and director of GK Partners – a UK-based company that advises on socially responsible businesses models, social enterprise, legal structures, responsible finance and business for development. In 2013, he delivered a keynote address at the UN General Assembly to open the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development. He co-chaired the 2014 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and co-moderated the 2015 GFMD Common Space. Gibril sat on the board of DFID’s Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF) and the EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI). For a decade, he served as chairman of AFFORD – a charity that enhances the role of diaspora in development. He is the founder of RemitAid™ and is currently the interim director of the Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT). In 2004 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace and part time magistrate and in 2014 was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to international development.

Dominique Favre

Dominique Favre took over the position of Deputy Head of the Global Cooperation Department of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) following his role as Chief of Staff of the Regional Cooperation Department of SDC. Prior to this, he was first Deputy and then Head of the Swiss Contribution Office in Warsaw, deputy director of the cooperation office of La Paz, Bolivia (from 2004), and worked in several functions at SDC headquarters in Bern. Mr Favre joined the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs in 2001. After studies, he worked as a Stagiaire at the EU Commission in Brussels, and subsequently was employed with the Federal Competition Commission in Bern. He holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Fribourg. He is married and has 3 children.

Beatrice Ferrari

I am currently a Vocational Skills Development policy advisor in support of Brigitte Colarte-Dürr, who is responsible for VSD in SDC’s Employment and Income network (e+i). I am an economist with a Master’s in Development Studies and started with SDC as an intern 20 years ago. Swisscontact ensured my training for SDC in West Africa where I worked in the regional program for apprenticeship development. I rejoined SDC in 2003 in the multilateral department (focus on IMF and WB), then in the Latin America division. After having received the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, I could remain within SDC and joined the East Asia division in charge of VSD and E+I issues. I am also mother of a 10 years old daughter who has 4 nationalities. We live in Bern, but originally I am an Italian from Geneva (i.e.a seconda). 😉 just so that you know my ‘migration’ background too…

Riff Fullan

Dr. Riff Fullan (Team Leader, Knowledge and Learning, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation) has been supporting collaboration, knowledge sharing and learning in the development sector for over 20 years. With Canada’s International Development Research Centre (1996-2006), Riff focused on facilitation, evolution and strengthening of global and regional networks and communities. Since joining Helvetas in 2006, Riff has been exploring the implications of working in complex contexts: how can we better understand such contexts, how can we ensure our activities contribute to positive development outcomes despite high levels of uncertainty?

Maria Gallotti
Ms.  has started to work in the ILO in 2000 as part of the Gender Promotion Programme (GENPROM) of the Employment Sector where she was in charge, among other things, of technical cooperation projects in the area of gender, employment and migration, focusing in particular on migrant domestic workers. She was affiliated with the International Migration Branch in 2006 to work as a Migration Officer with planning and monitoring responsibilities in the field of integration, non-discrimination and gender. From 2007 she collaborated with the ILO Office in Bangkok on a number of activities in the area of migration and trafficking and, in particular, she was involved in developing and delivering training on recruitment practices as well as in managing a technical cooperation project on return and reintegration. Since April 2010 Ms Gallotti is working with the Labour Migration Branch, first based in Brussels, and since 2011 in ILO HQ in Geneva, where her main responsibilities relate thematically to the area of gender, migration and the care economy (in particular on migrant domestic workers) and geographically to the Asia Pacific region. She holds a European Master degree in Human Rights and Democratisation (European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation) and she has a political science background (University of Pavia, Italy).

Michael Gerber
In autumn 2012, the Federal Council appointed Michael Gerber as Ambassador and Special Envoy to coordinate Switzerland’s position and represent it in the international negotiations and bodies. The Federal Council handed him the mandate to head the Swiss delegations in the intergovernmental negotiations at the UN on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development. Previously, Michael Gerber headed the Policy and Analysis Division within the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and, prior to this, he was responsible for Swiss development programmes in various countries.

Eduard Gnesa

In 2009 Eduard Gnesa, LL.D., was appointed Special Ambassador of International Cooperation in Migration by the Swiss Federal Council. In this capacity he intensifies and optimizes the foreign policy of Switzerland in the area of migration and development and supports the work of the Swiss interdepartmental working group on migration. He served as chair for the Global Forum on Migration and Development in 2011 and for the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees in 2008. Since 2014, Mr Gnesa is also member of the WEF- Global Agenda Council on Migration. Until 2009, Mr. Gnesa was the director general of the Swiss Federal Office for Migration.

Karin Gross

Karin Gross has a background in social anthropology and economics and holds a PhD in epidemiology from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. She interrupted her PhD in 2010 to work for several months at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as a Health Program Officer. After the successful completion of her PhD she was working as a scientific collaborator at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute from 2011 to 2014. Since 2015 Karin Gross is a Health Policy Advisor at SDC.

Ursula Keller

Ursula Keller is the Senior Gender Policy Advisor of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) / Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. In her function, she provides guidance and support to Headquarter and Field Offices for the implementation of SDC’s gender policy and leads the global network of SDC’s gender focal points. Ursula Keller is an expert in gender & women’s rights in development and peacebuilding contexts and has extensive working experiences in the Middle East and Africa. In her prior assignments Ursula Keller was project director of the Center for Peacebuilding at swisspeace and worked for cfd, a feminist peace organization working in development cooperation and peace and migration policies. She holds a Masters degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Zurich.

Claire Melamed

Claire Melamed is a Managing Director at the Overseas Development Institute, an independent think tank based in London, UK. In recent years, Claire has worked closely with the UN and many governments providing advice and inputs to the development of Agenda 2030. She has PhD from the University of London and has previously worked for several international NGOs, for the UN, and in academia.

Shabari Nair
Mr. Shabari Nair is the Regional Advisor for South/South-East Asia in the ‘Global Programme Migration and Development’ at SDC. Shabari was SDC’s focal point in the National Task Force for the Swiss Chairmanship of the GFMD in 2011 and since then was responsible for the portfolio on International Dialogue on Migration and Development. He has also been the focal point for the Swiss engagement on Migration and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals and for the Swiss-funded global project on “Mainstreaming Migration into National Development Planning”. He has previously worked with IOM’s Migration Health Unit in Geneva; the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC); and as Coordinator for the Global Migration Group (GMG) with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Shabari has a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Geneva School of Diplomacy, Switzerland, and a double university degree in Communications and Asian and International Studies from Griffith University, Australia.

Pascal Raess

Trained as a professional economist at LSE (MSc 1996) and HEC Lausanne (PhD 2000), I started my career in the private sector and soon moved to the Swiss Government at the Ministry of Economy. In 2004, I changed to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in charge of multilateral files at Head Office. I got numerous insights into global policy discussions, multilateral decision making processes and global aid architecture. In 2009, I moved to Vietnam taking over bilateral development cooperation between Switzerland and Vietnam, contributing to socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation. My Vietnam experience allowed me to deepen a country context and shape a program portfolio accordingly, participate in policy dialogue and donor coordination. Since 2013, I took over a newly created position as Regional Advisor on Migration and Development for the Middle East, based in Jordan. The Middle East is at the heart of several labor migration corridors from Asia and Africa and more recently with the Syria crisis, new migration patterns have emerged. I am a passionate and dedicated professional and believe in sharing and working with partners to achieve common objectives, improving the fate of the most vulnerable.

Markus Reisle

Born 1961 in Biel, Switzerland. He has a Master Degree in Anthropology and History of Art at the University of Freiburg in Uechtland, Switzerland. For 14 years he worked for the Swiss Red Cross, occupying different management functions in the field of migration (assistance, integration, return, European cooperation, population movement). Since 2003 he is working for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Until 2007 as senior advisor on migration at the headquarter in Bern, from 2007 until 2011 as deputy country director in the Swiss Cooperation Office in Kigali, Rwanda, since 2011 as migration and development expert and since 2013 as head of the Global Program Migration and Development at the headquarter in Bern. He is married and has two adult children.

Nahida Sobhan
Nahida Sobhan is currently posted in the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh as Minister. Nahida Sobhan is in charge of human rights and migration issues in the Mission and joined the Foreign Ministry in 1995 after finishing M.A (post graduation) in English Literature.

Marta Vallejo Mestres

Marta Vallejo Mestres joined the Regional Hub in Amman as the Human Rights and Justice Specialist in October 2014. She is an economist by training, with over 13 years’ experience in designing and implementing programs and advocacy initiatives on human rights, health and migration, at regional and national level in Asia and the Middle East. Before Amman, she was based at the Regional Center in Bangkok where she worked as Policy Specialist with the HIV, Health and Development team and shaped UNDP’s portfolios on the rights of marginalized groups. She has also coordinated various multi country and multi partner sensitive research initiatives, which advocated for the right to health, access to justice and the empowerment of migrants. She began working with the United Nations in UNICEF China in 1999 and joined UNDP as a Junior Professional Officer in UNDP Egypt in 2002.

Svetlana Velimirovic
After having qualified as a medical doctor in 1991, in addition to being attached to the Medical Faculty at Belgrade University, Svetlana became an advisor for monitoring migrants’ rights in the area of health protection with the Commissariat for Refugees in the Republic of Serbia until 2008. Svetlana then became Assistant Commissioner for Receipt, Accommodation and Sheltering, Return and Durable Solutions for Refugees, and in 2009 moved into her current position as Deputy Commissioner in charge of migration policy and EU integration.


Pio Wennubst
Ambassador Pio Wennubst (born in 1961 in Lugano), an agro-economist specialised in systemic approaches by training, has long experience in development diplomacy based on extensive field work in areas such as rural development, microfinance and public health. In addition to being posted to Bolivia, Madagascar, Nepal and Tanzania over the years, Pio Wennubst was the deputy permanent representative of the Swiss mission to the Rome-based UN agencies from 2008 to 2011. From 2010, he was also in charge of the SDC’s Global Programme Food Security. He later joined the Swiss permanent mission to the UN in New York as head of the economic and social development team. He currently manages the Global Cooperation Department as assistant director general of the SDC.


​​Social Reporters

The global meeting is using a social reporting -participatory- approach to cover the event and increase collaboration, with support from the Knowledge & Learning team of HELVETAS Swiss Intecooperation.


Cesar Robles (Social reporting responsible)

Cesar has worked in communications for development for the last 10 years based in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Originally from Mexico, he is now based in Zurich working for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation as Knowledge & Learning advisor, supporting development projects around the world in regards to facilitation, digital collaboration, participatory approaches, webinars, etc.

Ramla Allani

Ramla Allani Migration and Development Officer within “Tunisian Community Resident in Switzerland for development project “ based at The Swiss Foundation for  International Social Service in Geneva. Ramla is a lawyer holds the Mediterranean Master’s Degree in human rights and democratization from the University of Malta. Previously of joining her actual position, she has worked for the UN high Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN bodies.

Barbara Weyermann

Barbara Weyermann is Programme Manager at SDC in Nepal in charge of the skills development, gender based violence and migration.

Stefan Bigler

Stefan Bigler is a program officer at SDC’s Global Program Migration and Development, where he is mainly responsible for initiatives in South and Southeast Asia. Earlier he worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross and for IOM in different parts of the world.

Vani Saraswathi

Vani Saraswathi is a journalist, who has lived in Qatar for 17 years, and recently moved to India. She is the Associate Editor and Strategic Adviser for

Owen Shumba

Team Leader for Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Group in UNDP NY. Owen is an agriculturist by profession with experience and expertise in the following: jobs and livelihoods recovery; economic recovery; migration and displacement; and disaster risk reduction; Owen has been UNDP for 12 years and before that worked extensively with NGOs in Southern Africa on community livelihoods development, refugees and environment, DRR, and environment & natural resource management.


Accommodation & venue

The Global Meeting on Migration and Development is hosted at Hotel Cailler in Charmey; participants will stay in the three hotels Hotel Cailler, Hotel Etoile and Hotel Le Sapin which are within walking distance and visible from the bus stop ‘Charmey Village’ in Charmey (see map on the following page).

All three hotels have the list of participants staying in the respective hotels and are looking forward to welcoming you.

Workshop venue:

Hotel Cailler. Gros-Plan 28, 1637 Charmey Phone: +41 26 927 62 62

Hotels for accommodation:

    Hotel Cailler Phone: +41 26 927 62 62
    Hotel Etoile Phone: +41 26 927 50 50
    Hotel Le Sapin Phone: +41 26 927 23 23

Contacts for general questions prior and during your stay:

Ahmed Didane, Phone: +41(0)58 461 13 43, Phone: +41(0)79 830 52 12

The hotels as well as the bus stop are all located within a few minutes walking distance:

Global Meeting Migration and Development 2016 - Hotel Informationb

Location – Welcome to Charmey

Charmey, a small Swiss municipality of 1,660 inhabitants, lies in the heart of the foothills of the alps of Fribourg in the region of ‘La Gruyère’. The region’s industrial productivity strongly relies on workers and entrepreneurs/investment from abroad. The unique setting of Hotel Cailler provides an inspirational environment for our Global Meeting on Migration and Development. This document provides details on the location as well as on the transfer from the airport(s).

The region of ‘La Gruyère’ is most famous for its “Gruyère” cheese, first produced according to a special recipe in the year 1115. Today, the specialty is produced according to a well-tried recipe in the village cheese dairies of the region. Total production amounts to almost 29,000 tons per year, whereof almost 12,000 are exported.

Another well-known product of the region is of course Cailler chocolate. The chocolate manufacturer located in Broc has been founded in 1819, merging with Nestlé in 1929. Their most famous brands include Frigor and Fémina.

How to get there

From the airports of Zurich and Geneva you comfortably travel to Fribourg/Freiburg by train – there is a direct train at least once per hour during daytime. There, you change to another train to Bulle from where you can take the bus to Charmey. The trip takes approximately 3 hours from Zurich as well as from Geneva. The public transport system is very well established and reliable in Switzerland.

Please check for travel details and further information.

From Zurich Airport   

  • Direct train to Fribourg / Freiburg every hour (departure during daytime always at xx.18 h)     
  • Connection train from Fribourg / Freiburg to Bulle     
  • Bus from Bulle to Charmey (station Village)   

From Geneva Airport

  • Direct train to Fribourg / Freiburg every hour (departure during daytime always at xx.03 h)
  •  Bus from Bulle to Charmey (station Village)
  • Connection train from Fribourg / Freiburg to Bulle

Please check for alternative options and specific timing of your transfer

Sources:–Freiburg–Gruy%C3%A8re–Charmey produzieren/story/12908021