PhD Seminar - Financing loss and damage from climate change in Small Island Developing States

Photo credit - ABC News: Brant Cumming A photograph of the aftermath of a cyclone, with a damaged house to the right.

Melanie’s PhD project explores option to finance ‘Loss and Damage’ (L&D) from climate change in Small Island Developing States, following the formal inclusion and recognition of the concept under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015. Through a people-centred approach and by combining innovative financing structures with existing multilateral provisions, Melanie developed a funding mechanism that incorporates all aspects related to L&D from climate change impacts.

These include weather-related natural disasters, slow onset events and non-economic losses due to planned relocation and displacement. She draws on data collected from stakeholder interviews with UNFCCC negotiators, participation in the Conference of the Parties as well as fieldwork in the Caribbean. Based on results, she presents a funding arrangement that has the potential to be agreeable to developed and developing countries alike, overcoming the political discussion and contentious nature on finance for L&D.

Please join the seminar in the Eucalyptus Room of the Roberson Building, or on Zoom.


About the speaker

Born and raised Germany, Melanie is a social scientist in the area of climate change loss and damage and international negotiations, calling Canberra, the land of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, her place of residence.

With her work, she tries to overcome the disparities of the geopolitics of climate change loss and damage within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on a global level in order to drive meaningful change nationally and locally. She does so by using qualitative research methods and listening to voices of people facing experiencing loss and damage first hand, as well as those with decision-making power. She is passionate about connecting these often contradicting positions to find mutually agreed solutions that address loss and damage occurring from climate change.

Melanie draws on her academic expertise that she has gained throughout her Masters degree in Environmental Management and Development at the Crawford School of Public Policy as well as her Honour’s in Economics and English Studies at the University of Wuppertal in Germany. Her experience as public servant in various government agencies as well as her consultancy role on climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies as well as attending the Conference of the Parties on international climate change negotiations allow her to develop relevant and tractable policy recommendations from a truly multidisciplinary point of view.

Melanie enjoys teaching at the ANU as co-convener, lecturer and tutor in topic areas such as climate change adaptation, international negotiations and economics, sustainable development and environmental policy.