Chief Resilience Officer and IPCC Co-Chair
Dr. Debra Roberts is currently head of the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit in eThekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa) and was selected as the city’s first Chief Resilience Officer in 2013. Dr. 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 Co-Chair of Working Group II for the IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle in 2015.
She was also a lead negotiator for the South African delegation involved in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations until December 2015, and a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thematic Group on Sustainable Cities involved in mobilising international support for the creation of a city focused SDG (SDG11).
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 (UCLG) 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.
For our final Season 1 interview, we get Debra’s thoughts on climate tech, climate science, stubborn climate optimism, South Africa’s Anthropocene future and what it means to be a boundary person.