Dr Habiba Gitay

Honorary Associate Professor
ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions

Habiba is an Honorary Associate Professor in the Institute of Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions (ICEDS).

Habiba’s 35-year career has included research, teaching, education and international development. Habiba holds a BSc (Hons) and PhD in Ecology from University of Wales, Aberystwyth and has held research positions at University of Otago and the ANU. Her research over 15 years has focused on ecosystem function and dynamics mostly in grassland, forests and wetlands.

Habiba worked with the non-governmental organizations in the UK and the USA, including World Resources Institute, and with UN agencies on climate adaptation. She was a senior technical staff at the World Bank for almost 16 years. Whilst at the World Bank, she worked closely with senior government officials and ministers especially in Pacific Island Countries (including Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) to design and implement projects and programs on climate resilient development. 

Habiba has been involved in multiple international activities related to climate change, including through UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Ramsar Convention and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. During 2002-2005, she served in an invited position as the Vice Chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) overseeing work on climate adaptation. She has been a Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) for multiple Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, including the Second as well as Third Assessment Report (TAR) of Working Group II and was part of the small team that authored the Synthesis Report of the TAR. From 2021-2023, she was a Review Editor in the Fifth Assessment Report.  She served as the inaugural co-Editor in Chief to establish the open access journal Climate Resilience and Sustainability.

Currently, her work focuses on making development climate resilient from community to national level. She also pursues her passion to mentor emerging professionals in areas of climate resilience in Australia and the Pacific.

Research interests

  • Ecosystem dynamics, disturbance, climate resilience.
  • Climate Resilient Development – practice and policies
  • Climate Change policies
  • Climate Change legislation
  • Climate resilient investments in communities, ecosystems and infrastructure
  • Recovery to Resilience

Publications in journals/edited books

  • Gitay, H. and Agnew, A.D.Q. 1989.  Plant community structure, connectance, niche limitation and species guilds within a dune slack grassland.  Vegetatio 83: 241-248.
  • Fox, A.D., Gitay, H., Boyd, H. and Tomlinson, C. 1991.  Plant growth and the behaviour of geese around snow patches in Iceland.  Holarctic Ecology 14: 81-84.
  • Gitay, H., Roxburgh, S.H. and Wilson, J.B. 1991. Species-area relations in a New Zealand tussock grassland.  Journal of Vegetation Science 2: 11-118.
  • Fox, A.D. and Gitay, H. 1991.  Effect of meteorological parameters on the productivity of west Greenland Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis) population.  Ardea 79: 359-363.
  • Gitay, H., Lee, W.G., Allen, R.B. and Wilson, J.B.  1992.  Recovery of Chionochloa rigida tussock grassland from fires in New Zealand.  Journal of Environmental Management 35: 249-259.
  • Gitay, H. and Wilson, J.B. 1995.  Post-fire changes in community structure of tall tussock grasslands:  a test of alternative models of succession.  Journal of Ecology 83: 775-782
  • Hedger, J.N., Lodge, D.J., Dickson, G., Gitay, H., Watling, R. and Laessoe, T.  1995. Fungal assemblages, in tropical rainforest of Cuyabeno reserve, Ecuador. The Mycologist 9: 146-148.
  • Noble, I.R. and Gitay, H.  1996. Functional classifications for predicting the dynamics of landscapes. Journal of Vegetation Science 7: 329-336
  • Noble, I.R., Gitay, H., et al., (Convening Lead Authors with Alwelaie, A.N., Hoffman, M.T., Saunders, A.R. as contributing authors) 1996.  Chapter 3: Deserts in a Changing Climate: Impacts. IN Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigations of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses.  Contribution of Working Group II to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Watson, R.T., Zinyowera, M.C. and Moss, R.H. (eds).  pp. 159-169.  IPCC/Cambridge University Publication Press
  • Gitay, H. and Noble, I.R.  1997. What are functional types and how should we seek them?  IN Vegetational Functional Types: their relevance to ecosystem properties and global change.   T. Smith, H.H. Shugart and F.I. Woodward (eds). Cambridge University press., pp.3-19.
  • Gitay, H. and Noble, I.R.  1998.  Chapter 7: Middle East and Arid Asia.  IN Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability. Watson, R.T., Zinyowera, M.C. and Moss, R.H. (eds). pp. 231-252. Cambridge University Publication Press.
  • Gitay, H., Noble, I. R. and Connell, J.H. 1999.  Approaches to defining functional types in a rainforest.  Journal of Vegetation Science 10: 653-662.
  • Gitay, H., Brown, S., Easterling, W., Jallow, B. et al. 2001. Chapter 5. Ecosystems and Their Goods and Services.  IN Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerability.  Contribution of Working Group II to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. McCarthy, J.J., Canziani, O.F., Leary, N.A., Dokken, D.J., White, K.S. (eds).  pp. 235-342.  IPCC/Cambridge University Publication Press
  • Pittock, B., Wratt, D. (with Basher, R., Bates, B., Finlayson, M., Gitay, H. and Woodward, A.). 2001. Chapter 12. Australia and New Zealand.  IN Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerability.  Contribution of Working Group II to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. McCarthy, J.J., Canziani, O.F., Leary, N.A., Dokken, D.J., White, K.S. (eds).  pp. 591-640. Cambridge University Publication Press.
  • IPCC, 2001: Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report. A Contribution of Working Groups I, II, and III to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Watson, R.T. and the Core Writing Team (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and New York, NY, USA, 398 pp. 
  • IPCC 2002. Climate Change and Biodiversity. Gitay, H. Suarez, A. Watson, R. T. and Dokken, D (eds.).  IPCC Technical Paper V.  WMO/UNEP Publication. 
  • Gitay, H., Lovera, M., Suarez, A., Tsubaki, Y., Watson, R., Faraj, M., Marin, M., Straka, P., Volentras, A., and Wilkinson, C.R. 2003.  Chapter 3.  Climate change and biodiversity: observed and projected impacts. In Watson, R.T. Berghall, O., (eds) Interlinkages Between Biological Diversity and Climate Change; Advice on the integration of biodiversity considerations into the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol. CBD Technical Series No. 10, pp. 30-47:  Available from www.biodiv.org/doc/publications/cbd-ts-10.pdf
  • Gitay, H., Raudsepp-Hearne, C. et al. 2005. Chapter 6: Assessment Process.  In Capistrano, D., Samper, C.K., Lee, M.J. and Raudsepp-Hearne, C. (eds) Ecosystems and human well-being: multi-scale assessments; findings of the Sub-global Assessment Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, pp. 121-140.  Island Press
  • Gitay, H. and Chambers, B. Baste, I. et al., 2007. Chapter 8. Interlinkages: Governance and Sustainability. Global Environment Outlook-4, UNEP. 361-394
  • Gitay, H., C. Max Finlayson, Davidson, N. 2011. A framework for assessing the vulnerability of wetlands to climate change. Ramsar Technical Report No. 5 and CBD Technical Series N0. 57

Whilst at the World Bank

Select technical reports:

Select operational documents: