Connections to place and relations between people are being radically reconfigured in response to climate risks. Climate change is likely to increase the scale of displacement in the Asia Pacific region, leading to intensified patterns of migration as well as resettlement. These two processes, though differing in terms of individual agency and the role of the state, are likely to further exacerbate pressure on urban areas. As the limits to adaptation in risky places are reached, people are increasingly pursuing migration as a way of coping. This strategy demonstrates people’s agency to respond to risks and opportunities. Resettlement, in contrast, tends to undermine people’s agency. This risk response is increasingly being implemented by states as part of climate change adaptation plans, yet, it often results in the creation of new vulnerabilities for those forcibly resettled. Through a focus on the ‘climate hotspot’ of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, this paper explores how communities and governments might anticipate and resolve some of the humanitarian, livelihood and ecological challenges associated with resettlement in an increasingly resource-constrained and risky climate future. The concept of just resilience is proposed as a lens through which the consequences of resettlement for people’s connections to place, each other and familiar ways of life can be understood. It is argued that a focus on just resilience reveals opportunities and threats to procedural, distributive and recognition elements of justice associated with adapting to climate change.
- climate change
- just resilience