Leading for Resilience | Episode 4: Dr. Debra Roberts on ticking clocks and connecting the dots

Published: July 2023

This week, Dr Debra Roberts issues a passionate call for knowledge brokers to help bring climate scientists closer to decision-makers in business and government.

Professor Debra Roberts has spent the last three decades working at the science-policy-practice interface in the fields of biodiversity planning and management, climate change adaptation and mitigation and sustainable development and resilience at local and international levels. Her pioneering work has helped reduce vulnerability in human and natural communities, enhanced local level sustainability and resilience, created socio-economic development opportunities and driven institutional change. Professor Roberts currently heads the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives function in eThekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa). In 2015, Prof. Roberts was a lead author of Chapter 8 (Urban Areas) of Working Group II’s contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She was elected as IPCC Co-Chair of Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) for the sixth assessment cycle (2015-2023). She is an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the School of Life Sciences and has been an advisor to the Global Commission on Adaptation, United Cities and Local Governments and the United Nations Secretary General’s 2019 Climate Summit. In 2019 she was included in a list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy. She currently holds the Professor Willem Schermerhorn Chair in Open Science from a Majority World Perspective at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science at the University of Twente.