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Building Forward Better - the Ocean and our climate

Hosted by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, the Institute of Global Affairs and the School of Public Policy



Jason Eis

Jason Eis

Executive Director, Vivid Economics

Dr Swenja Surminski

Dr Swenja Surminski

Head of Adaptation Research, Grantham Research Institute

Torsten Thiele

Torsten Thiele

Visiting Fellow, Institute of Global Affairs

Angelique Pouponneau

Angelique Pouponneau

CEO, Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust


Professor Sam Fankhauser

Professor Sam Fankhauser

Director, Grantham Research Institute

As global value chains and infrastructure around the world have ground to a halt or been severely disrupted by COVID-19, essential human needs and the hidden costs of excessive resource consumption are being re-evaluated. In response to the economic downturn, fiscal recovery packages are expected to reach unprecedented levels - raising important questions as to how this money will be spent. Amid widespread expectation of bailouts and the protection of existing jobs, calls to ‘build back better’ are challenging the reactivation of business-as-usual as a viable route to recovery. These upcoming policy choices will determine whether our economies remain fossil-fuel-intensive or transition to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. The panel will explore nature-based solutions as an avenue for fiscal stimulus, revealing how protecting and restoring biodiversity - in the ocean as well as on land - is a critical component of policy strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, reduce risk and build resilient futures.

Jason Eis is Executive Director at Vivid Economics, where he oversees projects in finance, energy and industry, cities and infrastructure, and natural resources. Prior to joining Vivid, Eis was Regional Director for the Global Green Growth Institute, where he oversaw programmes in Latin America, Africa and India, supporting public policy and private sector investment decisions in the energy, transport, agricultural and forestry sectors. He also served as Associate Director at the Carbon Trust where he led strategic development of cleantech RD&D, incubation and seed-funding programmes. Eis has a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA from Yale University.

Angelique Pouponneau (@ANGIEPOPS11) is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust, which supports community-led projects on marine conservation and climate change. Under her leadership, the fund has tripled its disbursement rate, with more than half of the projects being led by women. A lawyer by profession and co-founder of the non-governmental organisation SIDS Youth AIMS Hub-Seychelles, she has spent her career focusing on climate change and sustainable development at a grassroots level. She recently completed an LLM in Environmental Law where her research focused on the necessary legal framework for making oceans part of the solution to climate change.

Dr Swenja Surminski is Head of Adaptation Research at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She oversees research projects on climate adaptation, loss and damage of climate change, and disaster risk finance. Her current research investigates climate risk management and resilience strategies through a mix of inter-disciplinary approaches, focusing on public policies, financial instruments and individual behaviour. Prior to joining LSE in 2010, she had spent more than ten years in the insurance industry working on climate and risks management. Swenja was a Fulbright Scholar and holds a PhD in Political Science from Hamburg University.

Torsten Thiele (@tors10th) is a Visiting Fellow in the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics. His research focuses on ocean governance and blue finance. Founder of the Global Ocean Trust and Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam, Torsten Thiele had a long career in infrastructure finance in the City of London, where he was Head of Telecom Project Finance for Investec Bank plc until 2013. He holds graduate degrees in economics and in law from Bonn University, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School. He returned to Harvard University as a 2014 Advanced Leadership Fellow. Torsten Thiele is also active on a number of advisory boards, including DOSI and EU ocean projects SOPHIE and iAtlantic.

Professor Sam Fankhauser (@SamFankhauser) is Director of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC-funded Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, both at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Outside academia, Sam is currently a Non-Executive Director of CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, and he served on the UK Committee on Climate Change from 2008 to 2016.  Previously, Sam was Deputy Chief Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and has worked at the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility. He holds a PhD in economics from University College London and an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

John Gordon is the Student Leader for this thematic session. He is a current student of BSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics at LSE.

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (@GRI_LSE) is a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research and training on climate change and the environment, bringing together international expertise on economics, finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy.

The Institute of Global Affairs (@LSEIGA) aims to maximise the impact of LSE's leading expertise across the social sciences by shaping inclusive and locally-rooted responses to the most important and pressing global challenges.

The School of Public Policy (@LSEPublicPolicy) is an international community where ideas and practice meet. Our approach creates professionals with the ability to analyse, understand and resolve the challenges of contemporary governance.

This event is part of the Maryam Forum Launch: "From Rulership to Leadership: Early Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic".

View the full programme here.

The Maryam Forum is a new multi-year platform aiming to encourage the shift towards evidence-informed, transparent, accountable and inclusive leadership. Introduced on the global stage in Davos during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January 2020, Maryam Forum is a collaboration between policy makers, academics, business leaders and media that engages the LSE across departments and disciplines. Together with our students – the leaders of tomorrow – we will convene Maryam Co-Labs, leading up to our first annual Global Conference in December. From climate change, health crises and other global emergencies, to industrial policy, populism and migration, these year-round working groups will tackle the most urgent challenges of our time - providing opportunities to exchange expertise and shape solutions, and unlocking the potential for inclusive and sustainable leadership across all regions of the world.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEMaryamForum

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