Janani Vivekananda is the Head of Programme Climate Diplomacy and Security at adelphi. In this role, she focuses on peace and security, vulnerability, adaptation, conflict and risk analyses, conflict and resources, and urban governance. With her background in field research and operations, she aims at promoting participatory, locally owned processes in order to connect ground realities with policy processes and vice versa, thereby fostering the linked goals of peace and sustainable development.
Her work to date has involved conducting participatory field research on community-level resilience to conflict and climate change, researching and developing conflict-sensitive approaches to climate change adaptation, and increasing the capacity of governments and civil society to integrate climate and conflict risk into policies and field projects. Janani’s most recent work focuses on understanding the extent to which development interventions in fragile and climate-affected urban contexts can build resilience to climate stress and contribute towards peacebuilding. Her particular interests and strengths lie in understanding the complexities of climate-, conflict- and natural-resource-related risks from a local contextual level and feeding these nuances into policy work.
Janani brings over 12 years of experience in the peacebuilding sphere, ten of which have focused on climate change resilience and disaster risk reduction, topics on which she has published widely; Janani is one of the lead authors of the 2015 flagship report "A New Climate for Peace", dealing with climate change impacts on fragile states. She has designed a number of research projects and led and conducted extensive field research, most notably across South Asia and in Africa, on community resilience to complex risks and the peace implications of natural resource management. As an experienced project manager, she has led numerous multi-country, multi-partner research and field projects and has successfully undertaken consultancies for a range of clients such as UNICEF, the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development. She has also developed, facilitated and implemented training events for various target groups, from engineers to environment ministry officials.
Prior to joining adelphi, Janani was the Head of the Environment, Climate Change and Security at International Alert, where she lead the organisation’s work on understanding and addressing climate-related risks to peace and security. Prior to this, she was a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) advisor at Plan International, where she supported headquarters and regional programmes on DRR issues, specifically in fragile states. Janani has also worked with the UNDP based in Nepal as a regional conflict advisor for the South Asia region, and before this she worked for a UK-based political consultancy, engaging in close monitoring of political processes and liaising with senior policy makers.
Janani holds a master’s degree in Violence, Conflict and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where she was awarded a distinction for her thesis on the implications of climate change aid on peace and stability in post-conflict Nepal. She has also completed a bachelor’s degree (hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford, Great Britain.
Janani is a founding board member of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association, and a Trustee of architecture charity, AzuKo.