The ARA Secretariat



Aditya Bahadur

Dr Aditya Bahadur is a Principal Researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development, UK and is working with the ARA to develop a tracking, learning and sharing agenda as well as to strengthen the Alliance’s membership base. He has 15 years of experience in research, evaluation and practice of DRR, climate change and development. He has published extensively on these issues, and his work has been cited widely, including by the IPCC. Previously he worked with the DFID funded Action on Climate Today Programme based at Oxford Policy Management and with the Overseas Development Institute, UK as a Research Fellow. He has an MA and a PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK. He completed his Postdoctoral Research at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, and is the author of a new book, ‘Resilience Reset: Creating Resilient Cities in the Global South’ (Routledge, 2021).


Anand Patwardhan

Anand is co-chair of the ARA Secretariat. He is a Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park, prior to which he was a Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay. Anand has a BTech (Electrical Engineering) from IIT-Bombay and an MS (Civil Engineering) and PhD (Engineering and Public Policy), both from Carnegie Mellon University. Anand’s research focuses on mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change and the assessment of vulnerability and adaptation, as well as broader issues of science, technology and innovation policy. He has been a coordinating lead author for the IPCC, and a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environmental Facility. He currently serves as co-chair of the Science Committee of the World Adaptation Science Program (WASP).


Clara Gallagher

Clara is a Researcher in the Climate Change Group from IIED who works in the ARA Secretariat supporting the membership process, the member’s learning process, and the ARA’s engagements at COP26. She has a Masters in Economics with reference to Environment and Development from SOAS, University of London. Her current research focuses on loss and damage financing and climate finance in low-income countries more broadly.





Jesse DeMaria-Kinney

Jesse DeMaria-Kinney is the Head of Secretariat of the ARA and PlanAdapt’s Deputy Director based in Geneva, Switzerland. He has 15 years of experience working at the interface of science-policy-practice in Asia, Africa and Latin America with international and local NGOs and the United Nations. His work has focused on the thematic areas of climate change adaptation, nature-based solutions and Research for Impact, including multi-stakeholder process design and facilitation. Previously, Jesse managed and coordinated Oxfam’s role as the Research-for-Impact (or research-into-use) lead partner in the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) consortium. He is an Africa Climate Development Initiative (ACDI) Associate and course instructor for the Research-for-Impact online course hosted by the University of Cape Town. Jesse holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Biology and Masters degrees in both Environmental Health and Decentralised International Cooperation.


Jonathan Hassall 

Dr Jonathan Hassall is the Environment Research Lead and climate and environment advisor at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. He has a PhD in climate and environmental change from the University of Southampton and is passionate about adapting to climate change and improving our natural landscapes in ways that enable people and nature to thrive together. He is responsible for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s Reversing Environmental Degradation in Africa and Asia programme. 




Julio Araujo 

Julio is a programme manager from SouthSouthNorth who works in the ARA Secretariat on action research activities, particularly on providing the evidence base and consultative process for approaches and mechanisms for conducting applied research that supports action and implementation and leads to long-term capacity-building. He also works on the principles for adaptation action research and the co-creation space for network formation, coalition building and new programme development. He has an MSc in Atmospheric Science from the University of Cape Town and has experience in co-production, applied research and developing tailored information to aid decision making.



Ndoni Mcunu 

Ndoni is a climate scientist and social entrepreneur. She works as part of the ARA secretariat development team at SouthSouthNorth. She’s currently pursuing her PhD in climate change and agriculture at the Global Change Institute at Witwatersrand University, South Africa. Ndoni’s research is on climate change, food systems and policy. Her focus is analysing how to make farmers more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Ndoni is also the founder and chief executive officer of Black Women in Science (BWIS), a non-profit organization that aims to deliver capacity development interventions that target young black women scientists and researchers. She has received multiple awards for her work, including being selected as a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, issued by the U.S Department of State, for her contribution to civic leadership development in Africa. 


Nora Nisi

Nora is engaged in research and project management for the Climate Governance and Finance team within IIED’s Climate Change Group. She works in the ARA Secretariat, supporting the Alliance’s membership base and engagement at COP26. Nora has a joint Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies from the University of Toronto, as well as an MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Edinburgh. Her current research focuses on loss and damage in low-income countries and climate-resilient development more broadly.




Poorti Sapatnekar

As Policy Advisor on Governance and Partnerships, Poorti coordinates the design and development of the ARA governance structure and operational modalities, while supporting strategic partnerships to deliver the ARA’s mission. Poorti holds a PhD in Policy Studies (her dissertation focused on global multi-stakeholder partnerships on climate change) and a Masters in Development Studies. She previously served the United Nations at HQ and in Indonesia, and worked for NGOs in Sri Lanka and Rwanda. Poorti is a firm believer in coalitions of the willing, and sees the ARA as a vital and transformative coalition for global climate adaptation, resilience and development.



Rosalind West 

Dr Rosalind West is co-chair of the ARA Secretariat. Rosalind is the lead climate science advisor at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, responsible for commissioning research on adaptation and resilience, including the Future Climate for Africa programme. She is also a member of the World Adaptation Science Programme steering committee.





Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar

Dr Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar is a Senior Expert, Fellow and Co-ordination Hub Member from PlanAdapt who works in the ARA Secretariat as Lead on the Evidence Review Workstream, and Co-Lead on the Co-Creation Workstream. Sumetee has more than a decade of experience in review and policy advocacy on climate change adaptation, ecosystems-based solutions and sustainable development. Sumetee holds a PhD in Public Development and Management from the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch (US), South Africa, a Master of Science degree in Project Management at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa and a Bachelor of Architecture degree, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India. Sumetee believes that the ARA can be a powerful platform to synergize collaboration among multiple institutions towards reducing social and ecological vulnerability to climate change impacts in the Global South, particularly through Nature-based Solutions.


Suzanne Carter

Suzanne currently leads on Partnerships for the ARA and advises on co-production approaches to ARA engagement. She is the Climate Services Practice Area lead at SouthSouthNorth. Previously, Suzanne headed the coordination unit for the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) programme and was head of Country Engagement for the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). Her areas of expertise are co-production and knowledge brokering. Suzanne holds a PhD in climatology from the University of Cape Town.




Sydney Church 

Sydney is a project manager from SouthSouthNorth. She works in the ARA Secretariat across multiple workstreams whilst ensuring the smooth running of the ARA’s overall projects and activities. Sydney has a degree in Anthropology from SOAS and a Masters in Social Research Methods from the University of Sussex, as well as experience designing, implementing and managing large scale-action research projects. Sydney joined the ARA because she was curious about what advocating for action research would look like on a systemic level. She is driven by her belief in the value of innovative collaboration methods across a diverse range of stakeholders for achieving systemic change.





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