Kees van der Geest
Kees van der Geest

Kees van der Geest

On Kees' contribution

Adapt or Surrender? The policy dilemmas of climate change,
habitability and migration in a low-lying atoll nation in the
early 21st century.

In 2020, the territory of the Marshall Islands was less than 2 meters above sea level. Most Marshallese people strongly resisted the idea that their islands could become uninhabitable. In the late 2020s and 2030s, climate negotiators from small islands states managed to turn the narrative from one of ‘climate refugees’ and hopelessness to a more positive narrative of fighting to keep their countries habitable for future generations. Kees van der Geest looks back on the methodologies and actions that led to this turn around.

Kees van der Geest presents his work on day 2 of T2051MCC. On this day it is assumed that global heating has remained below 1.5°C.

Some background on Kees

United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn , Germany

Kees van der Geest (PhD) is Head of the “Environment and Migration: Interactions and Choices” (EMIC) Section at United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). As a human geographer he studies the impacts of climate change, human mobility, environmental risk, adaptation, livelihood resilience and rural development. Key features of his work are the people-centred perspective and the mixed-method approach combining quantitative and qualitative research tools. His work has contributed substantially to expanding the empirical evidence base on migration-environment linkages and impacts of climate change beyond adaptation (“loss and damage”). Kees has extensive fieldwork experience in the Global South, mostly in Ghana (5 years), but also in Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Marshall Islands and Bolivia. Kees has also been active as documentary film maker. His first, award-winning, documentary (Shit & Chicks) was screened at over twenty prestigious international film festivals worldwide. His second documentary (Hunt & Play) received a nomination for the Holland-doc Jury Award of the Dutch Film Festival, and has been watched more than 3 million times on youtube.

Find out more on website or on Twitter @keesvdgeest.

Related sessions

Session, 19.09. 12:00
Jacob Blumenfeld, Kees van der Geest, Michael Jakob
51-e23 51-e23