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Lisa Schipper has more than a decade of professional experience in development and adaptation to climate change (policy, science and practice). She leads SEI-US work on adaptation to climate change. Her research interests include examining socio-cultural aspects of vulnerability to climate change and other natural hazards, the relationship between adaptation and sustainable development, the links between adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and water management and adaptation to climate change.
Before joining SEI-US, Lisa had worked in SEI's Asia Centre since 2008. Prior to that, she was at the Southeast Asia START Regional Centre at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. She also spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the International Water Management Institute (a CGIAR centre) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Over the last decade, she has worked and consulted for the UNFCCC secretariat, UNEP/GRID-Arendal, IISD, UNDP, UNEP, UN/ISDR, GTZ, DfID, Danida, World Bank and Oxfam.
Lisa has carried out research in Latin America (Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua), Africa (Botswana, Ethiopia) and Southeast and South Asia. She has also spent many years intensely involved in the UNFCCC negotiations as a team leader for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
Lisa is also associate editor of Climate and Development, published by SEI and Taylor & Francis.
Lisa is also a Lead Author of Working Group II Chapter 21 (Regional Context) of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (due in 2014). She was Lead Author of Chapter 2 (Determinants of risks: exposure and vulnerability) of the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (published in early 2012).
In addition, she is Vice-Chair of the International Advisory Panel for the International Program on Climate Change and Variability Risk Reduction (IP-CVR) and a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
Lisa holds a Ph.D. in Development Studies from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia (2004), an M.S. in Environment and Development (also from UEA) and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Brown University. She is a dual national of Sweden and the United States. She returned her birth state, California, in April 2011.
Recent Publications by Lisa Schipper
Role of policy and institutions in local adaptation to climate change: Case studies on responses to too much and too little water in the Hindu Kush Himalayas
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development reportAuthor(s): Pradhan, N.S. ; Schipper, L. ; Khadgi, V.; Kaur, N; Geoghegan, T. (eds.)
Research Area(s): Adaptation & VulnerabilityDescription: Climate change heralds both opportunities and threats to the livelihoods of 1.3 billion people in the nine large river basins of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and downstream. Climate impacts here are particularly severe owing to the large amount of the population depending on climate-sensitive livelihoods such as agriculture. This report, a follow-up to a 2009 ICIMOD report, focuses on the role of policies and institutions in strengthening or weakening community adaptation strategies. It examines four key themes that emerged from the findings of the earlier study: local water governance, flood mitigation measures, agricultural diversification, and alternative livelihood options.
Global Environmental Change 21:1, 227-237Author(s): Conway, D. ; Schipper, L.
Research Area(s): Adaptation & VulnerabilityDescription: Africa is widely held to be highly vulnerable to future climate change, and Ethiopia is often cited as one of the most extreme examples. With this in mind, the authors seek to identify entry points to integrate short- to medium-term climate risk reduction within development activities in Africa, drawing from experiences in Ethiopia. They examine the changing nature of climate risks, assess the effects of climate variability on agricultural production and national GDP, and identify entry points and knowledge gaps in relation to mainstreaming climate risks in Ethiopia are identified using the government plan for poverty reduction. They end with a case study incorporating climate risks through drought insurance within the current social protection program in Ethiopia, which provides support to 8.3 million people.
Religion as an integral part of determining and reducing climate change and disaster risk: An agenda for research
In: Der Klimawandel: Sozialwissenschaftliche Perspektiven, ed. Martin Voss (VS Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany), pp. 377-393Author(s): Schipper, L.
Research Area(s): Adaptation & VulnerabilityDescription: This chapter explores the role that religious belief plays in the context of risk, with an aim to contributing a new aspect of the growing research agenda on the topic. While research can be found on the topics of perceptions and risk, the role of faith in the recovery process following a disaster, religious explanations of nature, and the role of religion in influencing positions on environment and climate change policy, little of this provides guidance to policy- and decision-makers about how to take belief systems into account when assessing vulnerability and designing policy, projects and programs on disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.
Disasters 34: Supplement s2, S202-S219Author(s): Christoplos, I. ; Schipper, L. ; Rodriguez, T.; Narvaez, E.A.; Bayres Mejia, K.M.; Buitrago, R.; Gomez, L.; Perez, F.J.
Research Area(s): Adaptation & VulnerabilityDescription: This article reviews how Nicaragua has recovered from Hurricane Mitch, in October 1998, particularly how the assumptions and claims that were made during initial recovery planning have proven relevant in light of subsequent development. It looks at the response to Hurricane Mitch in the context of broader trends that have driven recovery, including household, community and government initiatives and the economy as a whole. It finds that recovery efforts have not 'transformed' Nicaragua – in fact, market upheavals and livelihood changes in rural areas have had a more profound impact on poverty profiles. Risk reduction has become more deeply integrated into the rural development discourse than was the case before the disaster, but risk reduction initiatives continue to place undue emphasis on hazard response rather than addressing vulnerability.