When it comes to climate change, sea level rise and flooding, the Dutch have developed a long tradition in terms of controlling the water. The Dutch are good in building dykes. However, they are less pronounced when it comes to the social consequences of climate change, or even the consequences of the more technological interventions in controlling the water.
In the context of the MECLEP project, our research on the relation between climate change and migration attempts to change this. With a focus on the Mekong River Delta in the South of Vietnam, our research focus on how environmental stress triggers migration flows (primarily within Vietnam), but also how migration can be an adaptation strategy in the face of climate change. It can contribute to reducing vulnerabilities, contribute to the diversification of income, and sometimes even government led relocation programs are required to cope with environmental stress in specific areas.
Our project focuses in particular on migration a climate adaptation strategy in the Mekong River Delta (later in the project we will focus on the Red River Delta in the North of Vietnam as well). Under what conditions and in what way do people respond to environmental stress by migration, and what are the factors that make a migration adaptation strategy successful. This includes factors related to government resettlement programs, as well as the formation of migration corridors to larger cities such as Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City. Various resettlement sites as well as migratory locations such as Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City will be visited in the MECLEP field trip this week.
Just imagine what the Netherlands would have looked like if we had promoted migration as an adaptation strategy to flooding; perhaps Amersfoort would have been our city’s capital!