Kees van der Geest

Kees van der Geest (PhD) is a human geographer who studies the impacts of climate change, adaptation, human mobility, environmental change, livelihood resilience and rural development. A key feature of his work is 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, mostly in Ghana (5 years), but also in Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Marshall Islands and Bolivia. He 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). He is a team leader in the areas of livelihood resilience and loss and damage from climate change and contributes to the work of the migration team at UNU-EHS. He co-organizes the annual Resilience Academy, which is a network of approximately 100 young professionals working on resilience, loss and damage, and human mobility in the context of global environmental change. Since late 2016 he is involved in a research project about migration and environment linkages in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This project is hosted by University of Hawaii, where Kees works with Prof Maxine Burkett’s team at the William S. Richardson School of Law.

Kees studied at the University of Amsterdam (human geography) and a semester at the University of Sussex (migration studies). His Master’s thesis and PhD thesis were published as monographs by the African Studies Centre. Several chapters of his PhD thesis about migration-environment linkages have been published in international journals, like International Migration, Environment and Urbanization, Africa and Forced Migration Review. Two of these articles are in the top-50 of most influential articles on the relation between migration and the environment according to ISI web of knowledge.

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 as independent research consultant. Among his clients have been the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, the United Nations University (UNU) in Bonn, 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 2.5 million times on youtube.

List of publications.

Relevant work experience

Researcher at United Nations University in Bonn (2012 - present)
Researcher and lecturer at University of Amsterdam (2002-2012)

Fellow member
United Nations University, Bonn
Expertise on: