The role of migration in enhancing resilience to climate change: How non-financial remittances through domestic migration corridors make the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta more resilient

Han Entzinger, Peter Scholten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Migration out of areas affected by climate change has long been considered a common adaptation strategy. More recent studies, however, claim that migration should not exclusively be seen as an escape from areas under threat, but that it can also be understood as a powerful strategy towards change and innovation in those areas. This article examines the relationship between environmental stress and migration in the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta, one of the global hotspots of climate change. Based on an extensive survey among households and interviews with key actors, our study shows that indeed environmental stress is an important factor - though not the only one - behind the development of migration corridors, particularly to Ho Chi Minh City. Low-income households are more likely to have experienced migration than high-income ones. Low-income households also account for the largest group of recipients of financial remittances, which are mainly spent on basic household needs and health care, and not on longer-term investments. Our research also shows the important role of non-financial remittances in supporting climate resilience among vulnerable (low-income) households. Actually, in the Mekong Delta case, the transfer of knowledge and skills proves to be more prominent than the sending of cash. Such skills are brought along by returning migrants, and then passed on to others, leading to a diversification of local economies so that these become more resilient to environmental degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-40
Number of pages17
JournalMigration Studies
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study reported in this article was part of the Migration, Environment and Climate Change Project (MECLEP), funded by the European Commission (Project ID: DCIMIGR/ 2013/326-064). The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the participating research institutes co-funded the project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s).

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