Climate Expert Sara Venturini joins the GEO Secretariat
News / 4 October 2019
Climate change is radically transforming our planet. Earth observations are being used to track climatic changes globally and are essential for countries to inform and monitor appropriate mitigation and adaptation policy responses.
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has been actively supporting countries to leverage Earth observation data and information to effectively combat climate change.
GEO is proud to welcome our newest staff member who has recently joined the GEO Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr Sara Venturini has taken on the key responsibility of advancing GEO’s role in coordinating climate matters and supporting climate change approaches in the GEO Work Programme.
We spoke with Sara to learn more about her new role and her passion for protecting our planet:
Welcome to GEO Sara! Can you tell us a bit about your educational and professional background?
I am a development economist by training, and I specialize in climate change science and management with a European PhD at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.
For more than 10 years I have worked to support governments and international organizations in developing policy and building governance to address climate change. Since 2009 I have advised ministerial delegations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of both developed and developing countries on adaptation and loss and damage. In my early career days with the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, I worked closely with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Focal Point for Italy to promote research and systematic observations. I also supported the coordination of the Italian strategy for adaptation to climate change. Later on, with Climalia, Acclimatise and UN Environment, I further focused on climate adaptation planning at local, national and regional scales, as well as on capacity building to improve access to climate finance in developing countries.
What made you want to work with GEO?
I believe that the development, transfer and deployment of technology concerning climate information and its timely and accurate reporting are critical to achieve the ambition set out in the Paris Agreement to keep climate change within safe limits. As Earth observation data gets easier to extract and apply, its use in relation to mitigation, adaptation, and other provisions under the Paris Agreement will continue to unfold. This is an area of great potential where GEO can act as a major coordinating platform.
What will you be working on as part of the GEO Secretariat?
I will be leading on GEO’s engagement priority related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. To achieve this goal, the GEO Secretariat needs to ensure effective collaboration with all key actors working on climate action. In particular, I will be promoting the continued recognition of the value of Earth observations and the role of GEO in international fora such as the UNFCCC and IPCC.
How will you use your work experience with Acclimatise (one of the very first companies accepted as a GEO Associate) to help you with your work at GEO?
Acclimatise has been one of the first consulting companies working on linking Earth observations with the increasing need to integrate climate considerations into risk screening processes by financial institutions. GEO is well placed to encourage the main multilateral banks and partner agencies supporting developing countries on climate action, as well as commercial banks, investors and businesses looking to assess their climate risk exposure, to make full use of the potential of Earth observations.
Is there anything specific you hope to accomplish during your first months or first year?
As a primary objective, I will support the new GEO Climate Working Group in its task of developing an overall GEO climate strategy to advance the use of Earth observations in support of climate action. Next year, I will work with the Climate Working Group to organize a dedicated GEO Climate Workshop aimed at continuing the process of identifying GEO activities relevant to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which would follow up and expand on the outcomes of the first workshop of this kind that was hosted by GEO in 2018.