I’m Dr Lisa Schipper. I am a researcher, educator and journal editor in climate change and development. My research focuses on adaptation and vulnerability to climate change in the Global South. I am especially interested in the socio-cultural drivers of vulnerability including gender, culture and, in particular, religion. I have lived, worked and carried out fieldwork in Southeast and South Asia, East and West Africa, and Central and South America. My research has shown the importance of understanding socio-cultural and other underlying development factors to be able to identify the most effective adaptation strategies. Recent work on how adaptation strategies can end up making people more vulnerable to climate change, rather than less, underscores the need for funding agencies, development actors and climate policy makers to engage more with what drives vulnerability, in order to achieve climate resilient development.
In the last years, I have done some work on culture and risk, most notably as co-editor of the IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2014: Focus on Risk (and lead author of the chapter on religion) and co-editor of a book on Cultures and Disasters.
I hold a PhD in Development Studies from the University of East Anglia, and was the first funded Tyndall PhD (although I didn’t finish first!) with fieldwork carried out in El Salvador. I did a Post-Doc at the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka, worked at START at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and then spent several years at the Stockholm Environment Institute Asia Centre, also in Bangkok. I later moved to the SEI office in California. Before my current job, I was based in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, where I worked on various consultancies.
I am currently an Environmental Social Science Research Fellow at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. I was also a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute (UK) for several years and an Associate with the Stockholm Environment Institute (Asia Centre and later Oxford Centre). I have worked with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and a number of other organisations.
At the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, I teach on the MSc in Environmental Change and Management and also run an elective on adaptation and vulnerability in developing countries. I have had the chance to work with many fascinating students whose research foci extend beyond my areas of expertise, allowing me to learn new things as well. I hold a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (PGCertHE) from Oxford, with distinction.
I have been co-Editor in Chief of Climate and Development (Taylor and Francis) since October 2018, and was a founding Associate Editor of the journal for a decade before that. I also sit on the editorial boards of World Development Perspectives (Elsevier) and Global Transitions – Health (KeAi). I am an Associate Editor for Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (Springer).
At the moment, I am Co-ordinating Lead Author of the Chapter 18 on ‘Climate Resilient Development Pathways’ for the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report, Working Group 2. The WG2 report is due to be published in 2022. I am also an author of the 2021 UNEP Adaptation Gap Report, and a member of the Reference Group for the OECD DAC Climate Adaptation Governance Task Team. In June 2021, I appeared before the UK’s House of Commons International Development Committee giving evidence on the links between climate change and development.
You can follow me on Twitter @schipper_lisa