Dr Timo Leiter is a global thought leader on climate change adaptation and climate policy with over twelve years experience in international development, climate policy and academia. He works at the intersection between research, policy and implementation. At the global level, Timo has been participating in the UNFCCC negotiations since 2015. Most recently, he co-facilitated the workshop series under the work programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation that led to the adoption of the first global policy framework on adaptation at COP28.

Timo is best known for his contributions to monitoring and evaluation of adaptation to climate change, a topic faced by numerous conceptual, methodological and practical challenges. Timo co-designed the assessment framework of UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report which resulted in the first comprehensive global assessment of adaptation planning, finance and implementation. Since 2020, Timo has been leading the chapter on global progress on implementation with a diverse international author team. Timo is also a contributing author to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group II where he authored the sections on adaptation monitoring and evaluation.

At the national level, Timo has been advising several governments on the development of useful systems to monitor the implementation of their national adaptation plans which is one of the four policy targets under the new framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation. The importance of this target was underscored by Timo’s research which found that over 60% of countries that adopted a National Adaptation Plan did not track its implementation. In the UK, Timo has been advising the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework and indicators for England’s Third National Adaptation Programme.

Timo holds a PhD in climate change adaptation, environmental policy and development from LSE for which he was awarded a scholarship from the UK Economic and Social Research Council. He also holds a postgraduate degree (Diplom-Ökonom) in economics and business studies from the University of Oldenburg, Germany, and a Master’s degree with High Distinction from Bond University, Queensland, Australia. Timo is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).


Between 2011 and 2019, Timo worked at Germany’s state-owned agency for international development cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) in several projects on adaptation and climate finance. Part of his position was to advice the climate policy units of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and of South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). As climate change focal point based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Timo led GIZ’s support to the Tanzanian government for the National Adaptation Plan process and was responsible for the delivery of climate adaptation, capacity building and climate finance readiness activities. Timo also led the development of innovative climate change projects including the project “Enhancing climate services for infrastructure investments”, commissioned in 2017 by the International Climate Initiative.

Timo has published widely on the topic of adaptation monitoring and evaluation and on adaptation policy in scientific journals and book chapters (see ResearchGate for a full list). He is the author of several practical guides including:

Timo is also a reviewer for leading journals including Nature Climate Change, Nature Communications, Climate Policy, Climate & Development, Climate Risk Management, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change; Environmental Policy and Governance; Journal of Institutional Economics; Carbon & Climate Law Review; and Weather, Climate & Society.

Research interests

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate policy (global climate change negotiations)
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Global environmental governance
  • International development


Research - 2023

The author of this paper outlines five aspects to guide future research on NDCs as a governance instrument including the crucial distinction between exploring potential NDC functions based on submissions during the negotiation process and examining the actual NDC functions based on the adopted Paris rulebook and empirical observations. Read more

Research - 2022

This article proposes a framework for tracking negotiation outcomes on adaptation based on the four dimensions of the Adaptation Gap Report of the United Nations Environment Programme (planning, finance, implementation, and effectiveness) and on key governance functions outlined in the climate policy literature. Read more

Research - 2021

Research - 2019

Research - 2018


Policy - 2024

Policy - 2023

Policy - 2022

Policy - 2021

This report, published by the UN Environment Programme, finds that there is an urgent need to step up climate adaptation finance. Estimated adaptation costs in developing countries are five to ten times greater than current public adaptation finance flows, and the adaptation finance gap is widening. Read more

Policy - 2020


Books - 2023


Events - 2023


News - 2023

News - 2022

News - 2021

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