Skip to Content

South African climate specialist elected to Co-chair Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group

08 October 2015


The Department of Environmental Affairs wishes to congratulate Dr Debra Roberts, Head of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of eThekwini Municipality, on her election as Co-chair of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This is the first time a South African has been elected to a Co-chair position within the IPCC Bureau. Together with Prof. Hansā€Otto Pörtner of Germany, Dr Roberts will lead the preparation of the Working Group II report which assesses the impacts, vulnerability and adaptation options of climate change for the Sixth Assessment report of the IPCC.

Established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988, the IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of the environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change. 

Dr Roberts’s election will help ensure that African scientists are more effectively involved in the preparation of the global climate change assessment. The involvement of the African scientists in understanding the problems and possible range of responses to climate change is critical, especially as climate change adaptation is a central and critical concern for Africa, which is amongst the most vulnerable of continents to the impacts of climate change. A strong African voice is therefore key in finding real and workable solutions to the global climate change challenge.

The election took place during the 42nd session of IPCC and IPCC Bureau held from 5 to 8 October 2015 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dr Hoesung Lee from Republic of Korea was elected as the new IPCC Chairman.

For media inquiries contact:

Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871