Climate Change and Migration in the Midst of Elusion: Insights from Cambodia

Lecture | September 20 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Sara Vigil, Research Fellow, Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, University of Liège; Research Fellow, International Institute for Social Studies (The Netherlands)

 Center for Southeast Asia Studies

Despite progress in the understanding of the complex links between climate change and migration, the so called ‘climate change-migration nexus’ occludes more than it reveals. On one hand, academic and policy analysis still tends to focus on the biophysical impacts of climate change as ‘push’ factors, naturalizing migration drivers, simplifying their impacts, and eluding the ways in which climate change politics and migration discourses are (re)shaping access to fundamental natural assets. On the other hand, in the burgeoning literature on land and green grabs, displacement and migration remain relegated to a secondary level of consideration, often depicting migrants as little more than passive victims of capitalism. Drawing on case studies conducted in the Cambodian provinces of Koh Kong and Kampong Thom, this talk will analyse the variegated and complex interactions between climate change politics, land grabs, and migration. In so doing, it will show how and why powerful framings on causes, impacts, and solutions translate into interventions that often increase, rather than alleviate, the very pressures that they intend to redress.

Sara Vigil is a Research Fellow of the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S- FNRS) at the University of Liège (Belgium) and at International Institute for Social Studies (The Netherlands). Her PhD research analyses the interconnections between climate change politics, land grabs, and migration and she has conducted fieldwork in Senegal and Cambodia.
She has consulted for the World Bank, the Nansen Initiative, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. She lectures on international cooperation, migration governance, and environmental politics at Sciences Po Paris, Paris 13 Sorbonne, and IHECS., 510-642-3609