Karen Hetz is Senior Project Manager & Climate Adaptation Specialist at adelphi. Her work is rooted in the fields of climate change adaptation and vulnerability, disaster risk management, and international cooperation. She leads several national and international consulting and research projects and has extensive experiences in the management of intercultural teams and complex projects. Karen combines an interdisciplinary perspective with methodological diversity. As head of the thematic groups "Early Warning and Disaster Risk Management" and "Urban Climate Adaptation" at adelphi, she works at the interface of climate adaptation, risk management, and development planning and is responsible for developing adelphi’s portfolio in these fields.
Karen has ten years' experience in implementing and designing development projects and providing research-based policy advice. For instance, she works for several development cooperation organisations, such as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the United Nations, Federal Ministries of the German Government, and the European Commission. Karen initiates and leads international activities aimed at sustainable development in emerging and developing countries. She analyses and conceptualises strategies and instruments for climate adaptation, and facilitates dialogues with political decision-makers.
Currently, Karen is in charge of building an early-warning system for environmental risk as part of ACCES project of the GIZ in Burundi. She also manages a team of 19 national and international experts, with whom she is analysing climate risks and suitable adaptation options in Madagascar. In addition, she is generating recommendations for advancing the German Federal Ministry for the Environment’s (BMU) support programme for climate change adaptation. Karen is also developing an analytical framework for the prioritisation of combined adaptation instruments. Moreover, she is coordinating a research project estimating the economic losses caused by the effects of climate change in Germany.
Prior to joining adelphi, Karen has already worked in the German development cooperation sector. She was also part of several international and interdisciplinary research projects in Africa, Southeast Asia, West Asia, and Europe. Her research results were published in international, peer-reviewed journals and she holds a Capacity WORKS certificate.
Karen completed a doctoral degree in natural sciences at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. She was a visiting researcher at the University of Witwatersrand’s School of Architecture and Planning in South Africa and was affiliated with the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER). Her research was awarded with scholarships from the Dresden Leibniz Graduate School (DLGS), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL), and UN-Habitat. She studied geography, sociology, and political science at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.