Disentangling the concepts of global climate change, adaptation, and human mobility: a political-ecological exploration in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

Mucahid Mustafa Bayrak*, Danny Marks, Leon T. Hauser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The complex relationship between human mobility and global climate change remains contested. In this viewpoint, the themes of human mobility, adaptation and climate change are explored from a political ecology perspective. A framework of political ecology of human mobility in relation to climate change is applied to the context of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (MKD). The Vietnamese government, popular media and academic studies often present the MKD in dystopian ways in which there is sometimes no more place for poor and landless farmers as a direct result of climate change. In 2019 and 2020, the MKD faced one of its most severe droughts in recent history largely tied to upstream hydropower development. In this viewpoint article, we contend that future studies can no longer establish a direct and causal relationship between climate change and human mobility, especially in light of these recent events. The underlying drivers as well as the broader context, which are shaped by political economy, market structures and forces, power relations, government policy, geopolitics, and transboundary water issues deserve a more prominent role in the analysis of human mobility patterns in the MKD and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-944
Number of pages10
JournalClimate and Development
Volume14
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Mekong Delta
  • Political ecology
  • adaptation regimes
  • climate change
  • environmental migration
  • human mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development

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