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Sara Vigil: Climate Change and Migration in the Midst of Elusion

Event Type
SDEP; Center for African Studies
Room 2049 Natural History Building
Nov 3, 2017   3:00 pm  
Originating Calendar
SDEP Events Calendar

Despite progress in the understanding of the complex links between climate change and migration, the so called ‘climate change-migration nexus’ still occludes more than it reveals. On one hand, academic and policy analysis 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. This talk will analyze the variegated and complex interactions between climate change politics, resource grabs, and migration, by drawing on case studies conducted in two very different socio-political contexts: Senegal and Cambodia. 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.


Discussant: Tom Bassett (Professor Emeritus, Geography) 


Sara Vigil is a Research Fellow and PhD Candidate at the University of Liege in Belgium and at the Political Economy of Resources, Environment and Population research group at the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Her research analyzes the interconnections between climate change, land acquisitions, and migration in Senegal and Cambodia. Sara has consulted on environment and migration issues for the World Bank, the Nansen Initiative, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and follows closely the UNFCCC climate negotiations as a member of the Advisory Group on Climate Change and Human Mobility. Sara lectures on international cooperation, migration governance, and environmental politics at Sciences Po Paris, Paris 13 University, and Institut des Hautes Etudes des Communications Sociales in Brussels. 


 For publications by Sara Vigil, email

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