Kees van der Geest

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 vulnerability and resilience. Key features of his work are the people-centered 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 authored or co-authored over 75 research publications, including 32 international peer-reviewed journal articles. His work is widely cited by fellow researchers, and he currently has a h-score of 25 (Google Scholar, January 2023). Two of his lead-authored journal articles are in the top-50 of most influential papers on migration-environment linkages (Web of Science), and one of his papers on 'Loss and Damage from Climate Change' is the world's most-cited publication on this topic. Kees has extensive fieldwork experience, mostly in Ghana (5 years), but also in Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Marshall Islands and Bolivia. He has coordinated research in many other countries across the Global South.

Since 2012 he has been working as senior researcher at United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn (UNU-EHS). In 2019, he became Head of Section, leading the migration work at UNU-EHS. Kees studied at the University of Amsterdam (human geography) and a semester at the University of Sussex (migration studies). From 2006 to 2012 Kees worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Amsterdam. He taught courses on environment and international development and his research covered the fields of migration, environment and rural development. In this period, he also worked as independent research consultant. Among his clients were the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, CARE International, DFID Ghana and the Foresight programme of the UK Office for Science.

Kees has also been active as documentary film maker. His first, award-winning, documentary was screened at over twenty international film festivals worldwide. His second documentary received a nomination for the Holland-doc Jury Award of the Dutch Film Festival, and has been watched more than three million times online.

List of publications.

Fellow member
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security
Expertise on: