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Climate Change Assessments and the ‘Best Available Knowledge’: Speaker bios

Speaker bios

Chantal CLAUD

Senior Researcher, Laboratoire de météorologie dynamique, CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie/ENS de Paris/Ecole polytechnique, France

Marianne COHEN

Professor, Université Paris-Sorbonne IV, UMR ENeC (CNRS-Université Paris Sorbonne), France


Affiliate Scientist, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder

Matthew is an affiliate scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and currently serving as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He gained his PhD in geophysics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he developed expertise in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural climate change research. In Alaska, his work focused on combining geophysical monitoring, GIS, and local indigenous knowledge to study how coastal Inupiat communities use and rely on a changing sea-ice environment. Matthew was recently a postdoc at the NSIDC where he investigated the impacts of Arctic sea ice loss on bowhead whales. With long-held interests in science policy, he once served as a Science Policy Fellow at the National Academies’ Polar Research Board and as a project manager at the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.


Research Scientist, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University 
Boulder, USA

Shari Fox Gearheard is a Canadian geographer and research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), University of Colorado Boulder. Since 2004, Dr. Gearheard has been living full time in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Nunavut, where she bases her work with collaborative teams of Inuit hunters, Elders, youth, and visiting scientists to study shared environmental research questions in the Arctic. She has also worked in Alaska and Greenland and was lead editor of the recently published book, “The Meaning of Ice: People and Sea Ice in Three Arctic Communities”. Dr. Gearheard was a lead author of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) and the Arctic Human Development Report II. She has a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University. When she’s not researching, Dr. Gearheard can be found working with her team of 18 Canadian Inuit sled dogs.


Research Director, Nordland Research Institute(Nordlandsforskning), Professor, University of Nordland, and IPCC 5AR Lead Author, WG II-Chapter 12 on Human Security, Contributing Author Chapter 28 Polar Regions

Professor Grete K. Hovelsrud is an anthropologist with a PhD from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, USA. She is Research Director/Research Professor at Nordlandsforskning (Nordland Research Institute) and Professor at the University of Nordland in Bodø, Norway. She is a member of the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research, Member of the Research Board, Division on Energy Resources and the Environment at the Research Council of Norway, and Lead Author of Arctic Human Development Report, Arctic Resilience Report, and Adaptive Actions for a Changing Arctic. She was a Lead Author and a Contributing Author to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), Member of the ICSU/WMO International Polar Year (IPY) 2007 – 2008 Joint Committee. Grete’s work focusses on interdisciplinary studies of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, resilience and adaptive capacity of coupled social-ecological systems, and on the transformation of society in the context of climatic and societal change. With her background as an anthropologist with extensive fieldwork experience from many parts of the Arctic, she brings the need for a bottom up approach to studying societal transformation. She considers the local context as critical starting point for understanding impacts, transitions and change, and continues to conduct fieldwork in Arctic communities in parallel with linking the results to national and international processes. She currently leads a number of major research projects taking place in the northern regions.

Cheikh KANE

Climate Research for Development in Africa Platform (CR4D), Interim Steering Committee


Research Scientist and Project Leader, Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland

Born: Qaqortoq, Greenland May 17 1963. After receiving her master’s degree from Ilisimatusarfik, Lene Kielsen Holm was secretary for the Minister for Housing and Infrastructure at the Homerule Government in Greenland. In 2003 she became special assistant within Inuit Circumpolar Council, ICC-Greenland, where she was until February 2012. Within all her time with ICC-Greenland Lene Kielsen Holm has dealt with Environmen-tal and Sustainable Development Issues. The primary task has been to follow the work being done within the Arctic Council, an International body, with the membership of the eight Arctic States situated in the Arctic Region, working mainly on Environmental and Sustainable Development Issues. Within the work of the Arctic Council Lene K. Holm has participated in several research projects, as a member of the International Steering Committee, in the Sustainable Development Working Group projects, respectively: ‘Women’s Participation in Decision-Making Processes in Arctic Fisheries Resource Management’, 2004 and ’Women and Natural Resource Management in the Rural North’, 2006. Lene K. Holm has been following the different forums where the management of the living resources of the arctic is the issue, e.g. The International Whaling Commission and The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission. In 2005 Lene Kielsen Holm started Sila-Inuk, an interview project that ICC, together with KNAPK, the Greenlandic Association of Fishermen and Hunters has been running. The project went to both South- and North Greenland to interview hunters, fishermen sheep-farmers and other knowledgeable persons about their perception on a changing environment, with special interest of Climate Change. With Sila-Inuk Lene has been working on several international projects in relation to Indigenous perspectives and observations of Climate Change. One of them is ’SIKU: Knowing Our Ice’. Documenting Inuit Sea-Ice Knowledge and Use. This was an IPY project, 2007-2009, and the outcome of it was published in 2010. ‘Polar Bears in Northwest Greenland. An Interview Survey about the Catch and the Climate’, is another work that Lene has been partner in. Siku-Inuit-Hila is an International and Interdisciplinary work that Lene Kielsen Holm is involved in. She has been the Greenlandic coordinator for this project, where hunters from Alaska Canada and Qaanaaq, together with researchers in multiple fields has been brought together in the different regions of the Inuit countries, to exchange knowledge on primarily Sea-Ice and life with it. A book about this was published in August 2013, called: The Meaning of Ice. People and sea ice in three Arctic communities”. Lene Kielsen Holm has been invited as panellist and speaker at several international conferences, that has been dealing with sustainable development, resource management, indigenous knowledge and indigenous peoples issues.
Today Lene is employed at the Greenland Climate Research Centre, Climate and Society group, as Research Scientist and Project Leader.


Curator, Arctic and Northern Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, USA

An ecologist and cultural anthropologist by training, Igor has been working with Arctic indigenous communities in Alaska and Siberia in documenting their cultural heritage, environmental knowledge, and subsistence adaptations. For the past 12 years, his work is focused on indigenous observations of climate and sea ice change across the Arctic.


Associate Professor, CEARC (Cultures-Environments-Arctic- Representations-Climate), University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin, France

Alexandra is a Social and Cultural Anthropologist at the CEARC, associate professor at the University of Versailles (OVSQ, UVSQ) and the coordinator of the BRISK project. For the past twenty years, she has conducted studies in Siberian Evenk, Even, Yakut and Nanaj communities. Research topics include the nomadic management of landscape, microclimates and animal/vegetal resources, ritual practices and shamanism, contemporary economic and social adaptations, and more recently climate change through its economic, political, social and religious consequences and adaptations among the reindeer herders and hunters.

Xianfu LU

Team Lead, Adaptation - Impacts, Vulnerability and Risks, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Based at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC) secretariat, Dr Xianfu Lu leads the support for multilateral negotiations, and for the implementation of mandates under the UNFCCC on two adaptation workstreams: the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, and approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts. Over the past 17 years, Dr Lu has worked on the scientific and policy aspects of climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and at the science-policy interface. Prior to her current role at the UNFCCC, Dr Lu worked for the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Asian Development Bank.

Filipe LUCIO

Director, Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Office, World Meteorological Organization

presentation to be delivered by Veronica GRASSO

Veronica Grasso is Project Officer at the Global Framework for Climate Services Office at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva since 2013. Veronica is a civil engineer with more than 10 years' experience in disaster risk reduction both at national and international levels. Before joining WMO, she was Programme Specialist in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Team at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) providing technical support to UNDP country offices on disaster risk reduction (2010-2013). In 2006-2010, she worked as project and portfolio manager at the United Nations Environment Programme, the Group on Earth Observations at WMO and United Nations Volunteers. She holds a Ph.D. in disaster risk reduction with a focus on early warning systems from the University of Naples, in collaboration with University of California at Berkeley and California Institute of Technology. She is author of more than 30 scientific publications.

Maxence ROJO

Ph.D. student, Laboratoire de météorologie dynamique, CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie/ENS de Paris/Ecole polytechnique, France

Maxence Rojo is a PhD student at University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ). In October 2011, he started his interdisciplinary thesis project research at Cultures, Régulations, Institutions et Territoires (CRIT) doctoral school, guided by Alexandra Lavriller (CEARC) and Chantal Claud (LMD). He studies extreme weather events and climate change in arctic and subarctic regions. These researches are one part of the BRISK project, a program of French National Agency for Research focused on building synergies between scientific and indigenous knowledge about Global Change in the Arctic by elaborating cutting-edge transdisciplinary methodologies to better understand the vulnerabilities and adaptive capacities of Arctic societies and environments. He did field research in Greenland (Uummannaq) and in Republic Tuva, Russia (Kyzyl and Tožu regions).


Associate Professor, Ecology, Systematic & Evolution Laboratory, AgroParisTech, France

Samuel ROTURIER is Assistant Professor at AgroParisTech in the lab Ecology, Systematic & Evolution, Paris, France, and has a double doctoral degree in biology and environmental anthropology. He did his PhD at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå, Sweden, and at the French Museum of Natural History in Paris, studying forestry/reindeer husbandry relationships with an emphasis on lichen pasture management. He is currently working on the ecological restoration of socio-ecological systems both in Sweden and France by developing joint ecological and ethnological interdisciplinary approach.

Marie ROUE

Senior Researcher, Eco-anthropologie et Ethnobiologie, CNRS/National Museum of Natural History, France

Works at the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN). She is an environmental anthropologist, and has been director of the research teams APSONAT (Appropriation and socialization of nature) and ‘Anthropology of Conservation’ at the Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology Laboratory, CNRS/MNHN, France. Since 1972 she has worked with the reindeer herding Saami, as well as the Inuit and Cree of Northern Quebec, on governance and indigenous knowledge, environmental and social assessment of James Bay dams. She has also worked on traditional knowledge and the environment in protected areas in France (National Parc of Cevennes) and Sweden (Laponia) which are both part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. She has published two books (in French) about the Saami (on social organization of reindeer herding and on juoigos/songs) and has been the editor of two special issues of the International Social Science Journal (NGOs in the Governance of Biodiversity 2003; Cultural and Biological Diversity, 2006) and of the French journals Ethnologie française (Les animaux de la discorde/Animals and conflicts) and of Terrains about Utopia and environmentalists. She is a member of the interdisciplinary journal Natures, Sciences, Sociétés and the director of the book collection “Indisciplines”.


Bidayuh penyigar (shaman), Sarawak, Malaysia

Dr. Patau is a Land Dayak (or Bidayuh) from the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island on Borneo. One of the first Dayak graduates, he won a Colombo Plan scholarship to study medicine in Ottawa, Canada. As a medical doctor and with a further Masters in Public Health, he has served within the Sarawak government as Deputy Director of Public Health. As a Dayak leader, he has served as an Assistant Minister, state assemblyman and parliamentarian for Malaysia and founded a political party. Descended from a line of high priests and priestesses, he also studied with Jagoi elders to himself become a penyigar (shaman) and is one of the few families still practicing the traditional Jagoi religion.


Senior Researcher, UPR 299, Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes, CNRS, France

Joëlle Smadja is a geographer, director of research at the CNRS, at the Centre for Himalayan Studies. She has been carrying out research in Nepal since the 1980s in the fields of geomorphology, land use, resource management, climate change, perceptions and representations of the environment, environmental policies and their repercussion on rural societies, and territorial restructurings. Since 2005, she has extended her fieldwork to North-East India, in particular to Arunachal Pradesh and the Brahmaputra plain in Assam, where she focuses on the mobility of land and of populations, and on protected area policies. The last book she has edited is “Territorial changes and territorial restructurings in the Himalayas”, 2013, Adroit Publishers.


Special Advisor on Sustainable Development, South Centre and Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III on Mitigation

Dr SOKONA works at the South Centre as a Special Advisor on Sustainable Development. The South Centre is an Intergovernmental Organization of Developing Countries intended to meet the need for analysis of development problems and experience, as well as to provide intellectual and policy support required by Developing Countries for collective and individual action, particularly in the international arena. He is a Co-Chair of IPCC WGIII and member of Future Earth Science Committee. He was until end of May 2012 the Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) based at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The ACPC is a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Prior to leading the ACPC, he was the Executive Secretary of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) based in Tunis, Tunisia from June 2004 to May 2010. A citizen of Mali, his work focus is on the energy, environment and sustainable development nexus and he has broad experience in the African context in policy development. Before joining OSS, he worked for the “Environnement et Développement du Tiers Monde,” based in Dakar, Senegal. Prior to that, he served as professor at Ecole Nationale d’Ingenieur of Bamako in Mali. Throughout his career, he has served in various advisory capacities to African governments. He has published several books and articles on the issues of energy, environment and development with a focus on Africa. He is one of the co-chairs of IPCC Working Group III for the Fifth Assessment Report.

Ellen Inga TURI

Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden & UArctic Ealat Institute at International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, Guovdageaidnu, Norway

Ellen Inga is a researcher in social and economic geography at Umeå University in Sweden, preparing to defend PhD thesis on interactions between traditional knowledge and state steering in governance of nomadic reindeer herding. She is currently doing research on scaling of governance and processes of representation in indigenous tourism, mining and reindeer herding.