Debra Roberts

Debra Roberts established and heads the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of eThekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa). Her key responsibilities in this post include: overseeing the planning and protection of the city’s biodiversity and natural resource base; directing and developing the municipality’s Climate Protection Programme; and ensuring that biodiversity and climate change considerations influence all aspects of planning and development in the city. Dr. Roberts was a lead author of Chapter 8 (Urban Areas) and a contributing author to Chapter 12 (Africa) of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. She is also a member of the South African climate negotiating team. She sits on various international advisory bodies focused on climate change issues in cities (e.g. the Rockefeller FoundationAsian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network). In addition she acted as vice-chair and then chair of UN-Habita HS-NET Advisory Board which oversaw the production of the 2011Cities and Climate Change Global Report. She was also appointed as one of the 60 international experts convened under Royal Decree by the King of Bhutan to work on the preparation of  The New Development Paradigm Report which was submitted to the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. Dr Roberts co-chairs the Ecological Sustainability Working Group of the New Development Paradigma International Expert Working Group. Dr. Roberts has written widely in the fields of urban open space planning, environmental management and urban climate protection and has received a number of awards for her work.