SOAS University of London

Launch of The University Network for Strengthening Macro-financial Resilience to Climate and Environmental Change during London Climate Action Week

29 June 2022

The University Network for Strengthening Macro-financial Resilience to Climate and Environmental Change (the “Network”) was launched on Wednesday the 29th of June in an event that took place as part of London Climate Action Week. The Network is comprised of nine global founding universities, seven of these reside in the Global South, these are: Independent University, Bangladesh; Makerere University; the University of Dar es Salaam; the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City; the University of Ghana; the University of Nairobi and the University of the West Indies. The network is completed by the Public and Third Sector Academy for Sustainable Finance, University of Oxford and SOAS, University of London, which also hosts the Network’s Secretariat.

The launch event was opened by Professor Ulrich Volz, the Academic Director of the new Network and a short presentation of the Network’s ambitions by Dr Harald Heubaum, the Network's Deputy Academic Director.

Professor Rachel Kyte, Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University, delivered an emphatic keynote speech, lambasting the failures of COP26 whilst highlighting the insecurity of climate action at this current juncture. She went on to praise the Network as an “incredibly important initiative” praising the collection of member universities collaborating to achieve increased climate adaptation knowledge and bolstered resilience.

This speech was followed by two panels. The first, titled ‘Capacity Building for Enhancing Adaptation and Resilience’ was chaired by Nisha Krishnan of the World Resources Institute. The panel featured: Professor Su Dinh Thanh, President of the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City; Professor Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Professor at the Independent University Bangladesh, and Professor Umar Kakumba, First Deputy Vice Chancellor of Makerere University. This panel discussed the principles of capacity building programmes for climate adaptation resilience alongside challenges faced when attempting to advance such programmes. The panel concluded by conversing about how we can ensure the longer-term sustainability of such efforts.

The second panel, titled ‘Universities as catalysts of change’, was chaired by Professor Andrea Cornwall, Pro-Director Research & Enterprise at SOAS. The panel featured: Professor Daniel Olago, Chairman of the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences and Research Director of the Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation at the University of Nairobi; Dr Nicola Ranger, Head of Sustainable Finance Research for Development in the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group, University of Oxford, and Professor Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs of the University of the West Indies. The panel discussed what their respective universities were doing to strengthen resilience to climate change before debating how universities can effectively collaborate with government to influence policy in climate vulnerable countries. This panel concluded by elaborating on the ways in which international institutions can do more to support effective teaching and research in this field.

A recording of this event is available to view on YouTube.

About the University Network for Strengthening Macro-financial Resilience to Climate and Environmental Change

The University Network was established to promote multi-disciplinary academic teaching and research in areas important for strengthening macrofinancial resilience to climate change. The Network consists of global universities that seek to build capacities to carry out relevant high-quality teaching and research, and acts as a strategic and knowledge partner of major international organisations working in this field. The Network aims to develop curricula and course materials to enable universities in climate-vulnerable countries to offer high-quality graduate-level teaching and professional training. In turn, this will enable future and current leaders to effectively address climate-related macrofinancial risks and vulnerabilities that threaten public finances, financial and macroeconomic stability, and economic development. It will empower them to better address climate risks and vulnerabilities and integrate them into decision-making and planning. Through such capacity-building, the Network contributes to systemic change in public financial management, public policy for climate finance, central banking and financial markets in climate-vulnerable countries.

The Network is a key part of the Resilience Adaptation Mainstreaming Program (RAMP). RAMP aims to accelerate climate adaptation in developing countries by building individual and institutional capacity in ministries of finance, planning and economics to understand, plan for, and finance climate adaptation actions. RAMP is supported by a Program Secretariat hosted by the World Resources Institute (WRI), working in close partnership with the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, UNDP, regional development banks, and other stakeholders.

The Network and RAMP have received initial funding from the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.