Katy Harris

Senior Expert

Katy Harris is a Senior Expert at SEI Headquarters with a focus on the global governance of climate change adaptation.

Her current work focuses on the concept of transboundary climate risk: how the impacts of climate change in one place can affect others elsewhere, including the ‘ripple effects’ of our own adaptation responses. She is interested in how governance frameworks and policies can better account for our global interdependence (our systems, networks and pathways) and how a better recognition and understanding of transboundary climate risks might enhance multilateral cooperation on adaptation, and ultimately engender a greater global ambition commensurate with the scale of the challenge. Her ultimate concern is to reveal the hidden vulnerabilities associated with unforeseen or emerging climate risks to encourage more just and sustainable responses.

Katy has over twelve years of professional experience in international relations, directing external engagement programmes, teams and strategies. Much of her work to date has been based within international development and humanitarian organisations where she has led communications, public affairs and advocacy projects to maximise impact and advance policy objectives. Her work has entailed building a number of partnerships and coalitions with key constituencies (multilateral, bilateral, private sector and civil society) and coordinating the delivery of outputs and activities for research and advocacy workstreams – including high-level events and strategic convenings around the world.

Prior to SEI, Katy worked at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and international NGO CAFOD. She has an MA (Hons) in Social Anthropology with Development from the University of Edinburgh.

At ODI, Katy led the development of effective communication strategies and approaches that enhance the reputation and impact of ODI’s research on humanitarian issues, conflict and violence, risk and resilience (including climate adaptation), gender and inclusion, politics and governance, digital societies and migration/displacement. At ODI, Katy managed a team to deliver strong public affairs, communications outputs and convening activities, while identifying opportunities to link ODI’s research agenda with external political processes and supporting researchers to translate their work into strong policy propositions. Katy joined ODI in 2012, leading communications for ODI’s Development Progress, a project which aimed to better understand what’s working and why in international development.

Aerial view of green trees, a blue river and a grey winding road

Assessing transboundary climate risks under the UNFCCC Global Stocktake

What are the scientific, technical, political and procedural barriers to including transboundary climate risks in the UNFCCC Global Stocktake? This brief seeks to redress the "transboundary gap" in the next Global Stocktake and emphasise the need for international cooperation for climate action.

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satellite view of earth's surface covered in lights

Entry points for integrating transboundary climate risks in the global goal on adaptation

Explore entry points for integrating transboundary climate risks in the global goal on adaptation framework in this Adaptation Without Borders discussion brief. The analysis considers a range of options, taking into account the stages of the adaptation cycle and themes to be covered by the framework.

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A collapsed house in a river with trees in the background

Enhancing cooperation to address cascading climate risks in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

Learn about the rationale for strengthening regional resilience to cascading climate risks in the HKH through this AWB discussion brief. It explores what a regional cooperation mechanism could consider and advance in policy and practice, proposing a set of potential areas for collaboration to move the discussions from the realm of ambition to action.

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aerial view of braided river on dry lands

Policy brief: How can Africa manage the transboundary climate risks it faces?

Explore 5 significant transboundary climate risks in Africa that urgently need consideration for management: biophysical, financial, trade, people-centred and geopolitical. The authors draw on real examples from countries across Africa and provide practical recommendations to consider going forwards.

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A body of water with brown settlements and a green tree reflected

An African perspective on transboundary and cascading climate risks

Learn about how transboundary and cascading climate risks could impact different African regions, with a focus on East Africa, West Africa and Southern Africa, in this Adaptation Without Borders discussion brief. Also explore the role of national and regional adaptation plans in managing these risks.

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SB58 participants networking at the conference in Bonn

Decoding buzzwords at SB58: what is transformational adaptation?

What does the term 'transformational adaptation' truly mean and how can it shape our future? Dive in as we decode this critical concept from the Bonn Climate Conference, SB58.

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