How Can Africa Adapt to Climate Change?

Hosted by The Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa

Online public event


Professor Christopher Gordon

Professor Christopher Gordon

Dr Richard Munang

Dr Richard Munang

Timo Leiter

Timo Leiter

Dr Swenja Surminski

Dr Swenja Surminski


Professor Kathryn Hochstetler

Professor Kathryn Hochstetler

This event invites leading global experts to discuss how Africa can best adapt to climate change. It will explore priorities for different regions, assess the opportunities and challenges in current thinking and approaches, and ask how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected adaptation trajectories, including on issues around cooperation at regional and global levels.

Rising temperatures, changing rain patterns and more extreme weather are major threats to Africa’s socioeconomic development, health, food and water provision and security. Numerous reports from international organisations warn climate trends will upend ways of life with grave human cost, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. While mitigation of climate change often dominates discussions, adaptation by African countries is urgent to create sustainable livelihoods. Although the range of policy approaches for adaptation is growing, with nature-based solutions such as the Great Green Wall Initiative and national-level planning instruments viewed as essential, questions loom large over whether these measures will be fully supported. Does the current financing go to the right places, and is it anywhere near enough? 

Meet our speakers and chair

Chris Gordon is the Founding Director of the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana. His research spans climate change policy, management of mangroves and coastal systems, and use of ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation, sanitation, and waste management. He has been an active member of international advisory committees on global change and environmental issues including UNEP WASP Steering Committee on climate change and the Earth Commission.

Richard Munang is currently the Africa Regional Climate Change Coordinator at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). He is responsible for guiding the implementation of UNEP’s climate resilient development strategy at national and regional levels to ensure human wellbeing through coordinating implementation of diverse projects in adaptation and mitigation. Dr Munang has won many awards including the Africa Green Champion Award 2020, African Environmental Hero Award 2016 and the UNEP 2016 highest recognition Baobab award for Programme Innovation. The author of the book ‘Making Africa work through the Power of Innovative Volunteerism’, he holds a PhD in Environmental Change and Policy from the University of Nottingham and an Executive Certificate in Climate Change and Energy Policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Timo Leiter (@TimoLeiter) is a researcher on climate change adaptation and international development at the LSE Grantham Institute, and has been advising several governments on adaptation policy. From 2017 to 2019, Timo was the head of adaptation support provided by Germany’s technical development cooperation (GIZ) to the Tanzanian government. He is a regular speaker at UNFCCC events, a lead author of the UN Environment Programme’s annual Adaptation Gap Report and a contributing author to the upcoming volume on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.

Swenja Surminski is Head of Adaptation Research at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), overseeing social science research projects on climate adaptation, resilience and disaster risk finance. She is a contributing author to the IPCC and the EU Science for Disaster Risk Management Report, and lead author of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment. Swenja works closely with industry and policymakers and was appointed Visiting Academic at the Bank of England in 2015 to work on the regulator’s first report on climate change and the insurance industry (PDF). She is Chair of the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative MCII.

Kathryn Hochstetler is Professor of International Development and Head of the Department of International Development at LSE. Kathy holds a PhD in Political Science (Minnesota), but has always been interested in the interdisciplinary study of environment and development.

More about this event

The Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa (@AfricaAtLSE) promotes independent academic research and teaching; open and issue-oriented debate; and evidence-based policy making. The Institute connects social sciences disciplines and works in partnership with Africa to bring African voices to global debates.

This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series imagining what the world could look like after the crisis, and how we get there and part of the Africa Talks series.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEAfricaTalks

Featured image (used in source code with watermark added): Photo by Chris Stenger on Unsplash

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from How Can Africa Adapt to Climate Change?

A video of this event is available to watch at How Can Africa Adapt to Climate Change?

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