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David Durand-Delacre MSc

David Durand-Delacre MSc

PhD candidate

My main interests lie in global knowledge circulations and critical migration studies. My current research project traces how and why the contested 'climate migrant' label circulates within and across academic, media, policy-making and policy-advice circles in France and the Sahel.



  • University of Cambridge, Department of Geography. PhD Candidate (2018 – present).
  • Réfugiés Bienvenue (Refugees Welcome France), Paris. President (04/2017 – 10/2018). Previously: Vice-President (06/2016 – 03/2017) and volunteer (11/2015 – 02/2017).
  • UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Paris. Associate (07/2016 – 07/2017). Previously: Analyst (03/2015 – 06/2016).


  • MSc in Environment & Development, London School of Economics and Political Science. (2013 – 2014)
  • BSc Environmental Geography, University College London. (2010 – 2013)

Funding and awards

  • PhD Funding: Cambridge European Scholarship, Cambridge Trust (2018 – 2021)
  • Prize for Best Overall Performance in the MSc Environment & Development, London School of Economics and Political Science (2014)


External websites: TwitterResearchgate - Google Scholar - ORCID - LinkedIn

The objective of my PhD project is to understand how and why the 'climate migrant' label circulates within and across contemporary academic, media, policy-advice and policy-making circles, specifically across France and the Sahel. By looking at the 'climate migrant' label as a mobile object of study – embedded in documents, images, models and news stories that are carried across sites by actors and their communications – it posits that we can better understand how its meaning and applications are being negotiated, why it is successfully applied to certain people or situations but not others, and what implications this has for the people designated as 'climate migrants'.

In practice, I combine in-depth interviews with academics, members of environmental and migration NGOs, policy-makers and journalists, with document analysis, a mixed-methods analysis of the written press, and cultural analysis of various representations of 'climate migration' in the shape of stories, models, metaphors, numbers, and images. I focus my attention on France, in relation with the Sahel, although relevant threads are 'followed out' in order to account for the external, globalised nature of the networks involved in climate migration debates.

The project will contribute to interdisciplinary literatures on 'mobilities' and the travel of ideas and policies. It will also inform our understanding of contemporary migrant labelling practices in context. Ultimately, the research will provide insight into the potential usefulness of the 'climate migrant' label in designating mobile people whose complex trajectories are irreducible to a single cause.

My research interests include: knowledge production and circulation; critical migration studies; environmental mobilities; science and technology studies; media analysis; cultural analysis; and methodological innovations for the study of im/mobilities.

While working at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (2015-2017), I conducted extensive work on the organisation's flagship SDG Index and Dashboards report, including data collection, treatment and analysis, as well as statistical coding and testing.



  • Lietaer, S., & Durand-Delacre, D. (2021). Situating 'migration as adaptation' discourse and appraising its relevance to Senegal's development sector. Environmental Science & Policy, 126, 11–21.
  • Boas, I., Farbotko, C., Adams, H., Sterly, H., Bush, S., Geest, K. van der, Wiegel, H., Ashraf, H., Baldwin, A., Bettini, G., Blondin, S., Bruijn, M. de, Durand-Delacre, D., Fröhlich, C., Gioli, G., Guaita, L., Hut, E., Jarawura, F.X., Lamers, M., Lietaer, S., Nash, S.L., Piguet, E., Rothe, D., Sakdapolrak, P., Smith, L., Furlong, B.T., Turhan, E., Warner, J., Zickgraf, C., Black, R., Hulme, M., (2019). Climate migration myths. Nature Climate Change, 9(12), 901–903.
  • Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Teksoz, K., Durand-Delacre, D., & Sachs, J. D. (2017). National baselines for the Sustainable Development Goals assessed in the SDG Index and Dashboards. Nature Geoscience, 10(8), 547-555.

Book chapters

  • Durand-Delacre, D., Bettini, G., Nash, S. L., Sterly, H., Gioli, G., Hut, E., Boas, I., Farbotko, C., Sakdapolrak, P., de Bruijn, M., Furlong, B. T., van der Geest, K., Lietaer, S., & Hulme, M. (2021). Climate Migration is about People, not Numbers. In S. Boehm & S. Sullivan (Eds.), Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis (pp. 63–81). Open Book Publishers.

Policy reports

  • Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Durand-Delacre, D., and Teksoz, K. (2017) SDG Index and Dashboards Report 2017. Global Responsibilities. International Spillovers in Achieving the Goals. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
  • Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Durand-Delacre, D., and Teksoz, K. (2016) Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboards – Global Report. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).

Other publications


  • Can we debunk climate migration myths? COMPAS Seminar Series on Climate Migration, Oxford, UK [online] (January 2022)
  • Human mobilities, climate change, and the pandemic, in panel on "Doing Business Differently: the "new normal" of climate change after the pandemic", Tsukuba Conference 2021, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan [online - invited by Shinichiro Asayama] (September 2021)
  • (Mis)Representing Climate Mobilities: Lessons from Documentary Filmmaking, Entangled Im/Mobilities Conference, Research Platform Mobile Cultures and Societies, University of Vienna [online] (March 2021)
  • Migrations climatiques: une idée qui bouge, PhD workshop with policy-makers, Cité de la Solidaire Internationale, Annemasse, France [online] (November 2020)
  • Climate Migration: A Mobile Idea, Darwin Social Science and Humanities Seminar, Cambridge, UK [online] (November 2020)
  • Climate Migration Discourses in the French and UK Press: A Comparative Analysis, in panel on "Climate Control: Politicising Hopes and Fears of Migration in a Changing Climate - Climates of Fear", RGS-IGB Conference, London, UK (August 2019)
  • Setting the 'climate migrant' label in motion. A review of concepts for the study of a mobile idea, Symposium on 'A Mobilities Lens to the Human Mobility - Environmental Change Nexus', Wageningen University, Netherlands (June 2019)
  • Setting the 'climate migrant' label in motion: on the emergence and circulation of a label, Darwin Social Science and Humanities Seminar, Cambridge, UK (May 2019)


  • Supervisions - Part IA: Human Geography
    • Geopolitics and Political Geography
    • Society, Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Supervisions – Part IB: Living with Global Change

External activities


  • Independent Expert, Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (2021 - present)
  • Postgraduate Fellow, Royal Geographical Society (2018 – present)
  • Graduate Member, Cambridge Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement (2018 – present)

Other activities

  • Secretary, Darwin College Bar Committee (2020 – 2021)
  • Advisor, Advisory board for an NGO-led study on 'Environmental Migrations and Social Movements'. Coordinated by the CRID for the Des Ponts pas des Murs collective (2020 - 2021).
  • Member, Environmental and Ethical Affairs Committee, Darwin College Student Association (2018 – 2019)
  • Co-convenor. Fieldwork Seminar Series: Methodologies in the 'field'. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (2018 – 2019)
  • Acted as reviewer for WIRES Climate Change and Routes: The Journal for Student Geographer.