About the event

On April 16, 2020, Devex, Satellite Applications Catapult, IPP CommonSensing, and the UK Space Agency convened a digital panel of experts to draw attention to the need for more and better financing to support climate resilience in Small Island Developing States. The high-level panel generated insights and perspectives on the ways in which finance towards climate change can be improved in low- and middle-income countries, how financing mechanisms can be better tailored specifically for Small Island Developing States, and what the future of climate finance looks like. They also explored the role of projects such as CommonSensing in helping to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change and extreme weather events in the Pacific region.

Join the online conversation using #TurningtheTide and explore the series here.

The Speakers


Deborah Charles

Managing Editor
Deborah Charles is a veteran foreign and White House correspondent overseeing the global news operation at Devex, She spent more than two decades with Reuters covering coups, wars and the plight of refugees across four continents. Prior to joining Devex, she consulted for the World Bank and worked as an editor at the US State Department.

Amal-Lee Amin

Climate Change Director
CDC Group
Amal-Lee Amin is on a mission towards sustainable development. She works to catalyze impact investing for Africa and South Asia’s zero carbon & climate-resilient development and leverages her expertise to drive innovative policy and financing solutions to deliver the SDGs.

Christophe Christiaen

Sustainable Finance Lead & Business Strategy Associate
Satellite Applications Catapult
Christophe Christiaen works towards growing the market for geospatial solutions within sustainable finance, collaborating with Oxford University Smith School, Alan Turing Institute and Green Finance Institute as part of the Spatial Finance Initiative.

Mafalda Duarte

CEO, Climate Investment Funds
World Bank
Mafalda Duarte is CEO of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), an $8.5 billion multilateral fund supporting climate action in 72 developing countries for over a decade. Since assuming her position in 2014, Mafalda has implemented a pioneering vision centered on blazing new paths in leadership and learning in scaled climate action. CIF’s more than 300 investments are well known for enabling breakthroughs in renewable energy deployment and access, sustainable forestry, and climate resilience. Mafalda is harnessing CIF’s unique business model — one that prioritizes sounder investment decisions and behavior change over traditional project finance — to achieve the triple win of market creation, investment returns, and social inclusion. Under her leadership, CIF has developed new programs and investment vehicles to rapidly help drive up global ambition on climate. Prior to CIF, Mafalda served in a variety of high-level positions at the intersection of climate action and international development in over 30 developing countries, working within governments and organizations such as the African Development Bank and the World Bank. She has been quoted in Reuters, BBC World Service, and the Economist.

UnniKrishnan Nair

Head of Climate Change
Commonwealth Secretariat
Unnikrishnan Divakaran Nair, Head of Climate Change at the Commonwealth Secretariat, looks after the climate change programme of the Secretariat. Before Commonwealth he was with the GGGI India Program Lead. UnniKrishnan was responsible for facilitating the strategic delivery and execution of GGGI initiatives in India. Before that he used to manage the climate finance and natural resource management vertical of GIZ in India and has also served the UN climate change secretariat (UNFCCC) at Bonn. UnniKrishnan is a development professional with over 18 years of experience in the areas of Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation Project Development and Implementation, Policies on Climate Finance, International Accreditation to Climate Funds including the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and expertise in climate vulnerability and livelihood issues in Agriculture, Water, Oceans & Forestry in the Rural Development Context of Developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). He worked with a range of organizations from the civil society to community-based organizations to private sector, bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Dr. Jale Samuwai

Climate Finance Advisor for the Pacific
Dr. Jale Samuwai is the Climate Finance Advisor for Oxfam in the Pacific, and is currently responsible for covering the 10 Pacific countries in which Oxfam have a program footprint. He holds a PhD in Climate Change from the University of the South Pacific (USP) and is the first graduate from USP to attain this qualification. His PhD thesis specifically looks at climate financing in the Pacific region. In addition, he has published 8 peer reviewed articles on sustainable development issues in the Pacific in ranked journals outlets and has also written 3 technical reports on climate change/finance related issues in the region.

Shivanal S. Kumar

Climate Change Adaptation Specialist
Ministry of Economy, Fiji
Shivanal Kumar is a climate change professional in the Fijian Government, focusing on national adaptation planning process. He works for the Climate Change and International Cooperation Division in the Ministry of Economy and possesses a unique background on marine biology and environmental laws. Previously, he has worked as an environmental manager at a resort, and has also spent some time in the higher education sector as a programme accreditation specialist. He is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific, and has acquired his leadership training from East West Center in Hawaii.

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