This case looks at the complexity of the refugee crisis in Europe, focusing on the Greek island of Lesbos. Since 2015 Lesbos had been dealing with an extremely large influx of refugees. These people had been housed at Camp Moira while waiting for an opportunity to travel onward to safer and more secure destinations in Europe. However, political decisions, among others, were creating unbearable conditions for the refugees in the camp, while the stakeholders shifted responsibility from one to another and struggled to find solutions at the European borders.

The Greek government, the European Union, the various EU member states, non-governmental organisations, the Lesbos municipality, the private sector and the refugees themselves each had their own roles and challenges in this situation. How could these stakeholders collaborate to reach better solutions? The case helps students to find solutions, through co-creation, for a world that faces increasingly complex safety issues.

This multi-sources case contains a variety of learning and teaching materials, all available on The case is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) case series, developed by Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University. With a focus on SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institution), the case is also closely related to SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being). Video learning materials and other resources about these SDGs are available at

1. Discuss top-down and bottom-up effects of the refugee crisis;

2. Critically evaluate the challenges to this problem and understand why it is a wicked problem;

3. Understand how co-creation can play a role in solving a wicked problem.

This case is targeted at Master students (MSc or MBA) and executive students of crisis and security management and public safety management. It can also be used for teaching stakeholder management or sustainable development.

Refugee; crisis; safety; stakeholder; government; NGO; business; EU; UN; public sector; private sector; Greece; Syria; civil war; peace; sustainability; co-creation; public-private partnership.

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