The Science Committee is composed of 14 distinguished members of the research community and academia. Science Committee members represent diverse disciplines and sectors, reflecting the multiple dimensions of climate adaptation science.
The Science Committee's key mandate and duties include:
- to provide scientific guidance to the Management Group, and ensure that up-to-date and rigorous science is appropriately reflected in the development, implementation, and communication of WASP outputs
- to support and contribute to the exchange of information between the Programme and the climate science community at large, and relevant scientific unions, institutions, agencies, and networks at the national and international level
- to identify knowledge gaps that could be addressed by either national or international research programmes and specific assessment needs that could be addressed by ongoing assessments
- to liaise with and organize relevant communities of practice, prioritize demand-driven research, build research networks and support the work of UNFCCC and IPCC
NASA and Columbia University
Ms Cynthia Rosenzweig is a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at the Columbia University Earth Institute, and a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science at Barnard College. At NASA GISS, she heads the Climate Impacts Group whose mission is to investigate the interactions of climate (both variability and change) on systems and sectors important to human well-being.
Dr. Rosenzweig is co-director of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) and co-editor of the UCCRN Assessment Reports on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3). Dr. Rosenzweig is a co-founder and co-leader of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). Dr. Rosenzweig was the Coordinating Lead Author of the Food Security Chapter for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land and the Coordinating Lead Author on observed climate change impacts for the IPCC Working Group II Fourth Assessment Report.
University of Maryland
Mr Anand Patwardhan is Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was earlier a Professor at the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and a Visiting Professor at the Nicholas School of Environment, Duke University. He served as Executive Director of the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), India from 2004-2008. Anand has a BTech (Electrical Engineering) from IIT-Bombay and a MS (Civil Engineering) and PhD (Engineering and Public Policy), both from Carnegie Mellon University.
Anand has worked extensively in the area of climate policy at the national and multilateral level, focusing on mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change, and the assessment of vulnerability and adaptation. He has also worked on broader issues of science, technology and innovation policy, including the diffusion and adoption of clean technology. He is particularly interested in questions of vulnerability and resilience and the linkages with sustainable development. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel for the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and a member of the Technical Advisory Group of the World Adaptation Science Program. He was a coordinating lead author for the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). He was associated with the Global Energy Assessment (GEA) as coordinating lead author and co-chair of the Executive Committee. He is on the editorial board of Climate and Development and Climatic Change Letters and was a founding editor and former editor-in-chief of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.
Ms Johanna Nalau is an award-winning adaptation scientist who thrives on finding clues how humans can better see into the future and make robust decisions today that secure a more resilient future for us all.
Her research focuses on understanding climate adaptation decision principles and what role adaptation science does and can play in decision- and policy-making. She is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at Griffith University leading an Australian first project on the development and feasibility of adaptation heuristics. The project aims to uncover such key principles, interrogate their feasibility as decision guides, and provide more robust advice on how to invest and pursue effective and successful adaptation to climate change that enables benefits to the environment, society and security. Dr Nalau is Lead Author in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment report in Working Group II (Chapter 15 Small Islands), Managing Editor of the Journal of Climate Risk Management, and Co-chair of the Science Committee of the World Adaptation Science Program. She also leads the Adaptation Science Research Theme at Cities Research Institute at Griffith University that focuses on bringing together the university’s key thinkers on adaptation. She was awarded Griffith University Young Outstanding Alumni Award 2019 for the Sciences Group, and the Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award 2020. She is passionate about building the capacity of the next generation through enabling leadership and career development and innovation in adaptation science.
Stockholm Environment Institute
Mr Richard Klein (Stockholm Environment Institute, Bonn, Germany) has more than 25 years of experience in original research, science assessment and policy advice on climate change adaptation.
He has been a lead author or coordinating lead author in six IPCC reports, and co-directed the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research in 2011–2016. Richard founded the journal Climate and Development in 2009 and served as its editor-in-chief for 10 years. He co-chaired the Science Committee of the World Adaptation Science Programme in 2018–2020. In 2016 he received the Burtoni Award in recognition of his work on climate adaptation.
Ms Jean Palutikof is a Professor in the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Griffith University, Australia, where she has worked since October 2008.
Previously, she managed production of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report for Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), while based at the UK Met Office. From 1979 to 2004 she worked at the University of East Anglia, UK, becoming a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, and Director of the Climatic Research Unit. Her research interests focus on climate change impacts and adaptation, and communication of knowledge to adaptation decision-makers.
Mr Masataka Watanabe is a professor at the Research and Development Initiative, Chuo University in Japan and also is serving as a chairman of the UNEP-Global Adaptation Network.
He participated to the Sub-Global Assessment of UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), in particular, the evaluation of ecosystem services in Changjiang (Yangtze) river basin including the estuary in the “Western China Ecosystem Assessment". He is currently developing the GCF project on “Resilience Building and Solution to Zud in Mongolia” which includes the implementation of adaptation measures to zud (massive loss of livestock due to extreme weather in winter under the climate change in Mongolia) such as (1)development of zud early warning system, (2)early harvesting and maintenance of carrying capacity, (3)development of meat freezing storage system driven by solar PV, (4)economic analysis of taxation on livestock number. He is leading the project on Metrics and Validation of GHG Emission/Absorption in Mongolia using satellite data of GOSAT which helps for many countries, non-Annex I parties in particular, on biennial reports of the GHG inventory and Global stocktake in 2023 and 2028. He received B.E. /M.E. from Kyoto University and received a Ph.D. from MIT. He has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed international journal articles.
University of Cape Town and University of East Anglia
Mr Mark New is director of the African Climate and Development Initiative at the University of Cape Town, and AXA Research Chair in African Climate Risk and an Emeritus Professor at the University of East Anglia.
He is also the Director of the African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Climate and Development, a partnership between the Universities of Ghana, Nairobi and Cape Town. Mark has over twenty years of research experience focusing on climate change detection, attribution and forecasting, as well assessing the impacts of climate change, and development of methods for assessing climate adaptation options. He is currently a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report, Chapter 17 of Working Group II, Decision Making Options for Managing Risk.
Kristie L. Ebi
University of Washington
Ms Kristie L. Ebi (Ph.D., MPH) is Professor in the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington.
She has been conducting research and practice on the health risks of climate variability and change for nearly 25 years, focusing on understanding sources of vulnerability; estimating current impacts and future health risks; designing adaptation policies and measures to reduce the risks of climate change in multi-stressor environments; and estimating the health co-benefits of mitigation policies. She has supported multiple countries in Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific in assessing their vulnerability and implementing adaptation measures. She has been an author on multiple national and international climate change assessments. She has more than 200 publications and has edited fours books on aspects of climate change.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre
Ms Valerie Kapos is Head of the Climate Change & Biodiversity Programme of the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre. She leads the Centre’s work on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and the role of ecosystems, in climate change mitigation and adaptation – nature-based solutions. Particular foci are REDD+ and management of ecosystems other than forests for mitigation, and ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation (EbA).
The mitigation work focuses on supporting countries to take account of biodiversity and ecosystem services in planning and implementing REDD+ and other ecosystem management action that delivers multiple environmental benefits. Countries are also supported to develop their approaches to the Cancun Safeguards and to identify and address the potential risks and benefits of REDD+ accordingly. The Programme’s work on EbA focuses on building the evidence base on the effectiveness of EBA approaches, identifying and promoting good practice, including in monitoring and evaluation, and supporting public and private sector decision makers in incorporating ecosystems/NbS in adaptation planning and policy, and in implementing such options for adaptation to climate change. Before joining UNEP-WCMC, Val spent over 15 years doing field research in tropical forest ecology in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has published over 60 peer reviewed journal papers, and numerous (over 150) articles, technical reports, book.
University of Ghana’s Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies
Mr Chris Gordon (Professor) is a limnologist and ecologist based at the University of Ghana’s Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies.
He has many years of experience as a consultant and aquatic resource management advisor with in-depth and extensive knowledge of ecosystem functioning and ecology of coastal wetlands, large river and estuarine systems. Mr Gordon has provided guidance on various national climate-related policies, strategies and action plans that include the National Climate Change Policy (2014); Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015); National Climate Change Master Plan (2015); National Climate Change and Green Economy Learning Strategy (2017).
Sebastian Vicuña D.
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Mr Sebastian Vicuña D. is the Director of Centro de Cambio Global, and Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Sebastian is an Associate Professor at the School of Engineering and Director of the Centro de Cambio Global (Global Change Research Center) at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His research interests are related to water resources, hydrologic modeling, climate change adaptation, and integrated watershed management. Related to these research areas, Sebastian is the Lead Author for the Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3-2), was a Lead Author of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report in the chapter on Climate Change Impacts in Central and South America, and was a Review Editor for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Extreme Events in the chapter impacts. Sebastian is an Environmental Engineer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In 2004 he earned a Masters in Public Policy and a Masters in Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2007 he obtained a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the same university.
Mr Wei Liu, trained in ecology and social sciences in China and the US, has diverse research experience on development, conservation and disaster risk challenges across Asia, Africa and Europe in the contexts of climate change and globalization.
He was a Research Scholar at the Risk and Resilience Program of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, where he led the Governance in a Transition research group in 2017-2020. He recently joined the Luohan Academy of the Alibaba Group as a Senior Economist and Senior Advisor, focusing on how digitalization can help achieve sustainability goals worldwide.
Kathryn J. Bowen
University of Melbourne
Ms Kathryn J. Bowen is a Professor and Deputy Director at Melbourne Climate Futures, and incoming Professor (Environment, Climate, and Global Health) at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne.
Kathryn works at the nexus of global environmental change, global health and governance issues primarily in low and middle-income settings. She holds a PhD (ANU), MSc (International Health), DTMPH (Humboldt & Frei Universities, Berlin) and BA/Psyc (Hons) (Newcastle). Kathryn has worked in global health research and policy since 1999, across public, private and university sectors. She is a Research Fellow within the Earth System Governance project, and Alumni of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership. Kathryn holds a number of key international leadership roles, including as Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report (Ch. 7, Health), the Science Committee of the World Adaptation Science Program (UNEP); the Steering Committee of the Future Earth Health Knowledge Action Network (Health KAN), and the Planetary Justice Taskforce as part of the Earth System Governance network. Kathryn is regularly commissioned by international bilateral and multilateral agencies (eg. WHO, DFAT, UNEP, UNDP, ADB, GIZ, DFAT) to co-design solutions for sustainable futures, particularly in relation to planetary health. She works passionately to empower colleagues and decision-makers and collaborate with diverse stakeholders to drive positive outcomes.
French Research Institute for Development (IRD)
Mr Benjamin Sultan is a senior scientist at IRD focused on climate dynamics, impacts, and adaptation in developing countries.
He published more than 90 peer-reviewed papers and organized several international conferences and gave numerous academic lectures on climate change impacts. He coordinated several interdisciplinary research projects with African and Asian partners. Dr. Benjamin Sultan is contributing author of the IPCC AR6, a member of the French Scientific Committee on Desertification (nominated by the French Government), and a nominated member of the Steering Committee of Climate Services at the French Environment Alliance Allenvi.