18 June 2019
Washington, DC, USA

Investing in human capital to counter the climate challenge

IIASA researcher Raya Muttarak will be a speaker on enhancing adaptive capacity to climate change at a World Bank seminar as art of the Africa Climate Series.

Flooding in Bangladesh © Sjors737 | Dreamstime.com

Flooding in Bangladesh © Sjors737 | Dreamstime.com

Under the title "Investing in Human Capital to Counter the Climate Challenge – the Ultimate Intra- and Inter-generational Solutions", the World Bank Group is inviting to the fourth seminar in its Africa Climate Series. IIASA researcher Raya Muttarak is one of the 3 speakers during the seminar. Her presentation will discuss how education contributes to reducing vulnerability and enhancing adaptive capacity in the context of climate change.

This seminar looks at how investments in human capital to support countries to achieve their full potential of the economic productivity, can be cognizant of climate impacts which can undermine the gains across generations. Robust adaptive capacities in strong economies are a better place to plan for, implement, and address climate impacts across sectors and geographies. Investments in human capital to attain the right knowledge, training, and skills must be accompanied with sectoral investments to support healthy, safe populations who are resilient to climate impacts over the next few decades, especially the poorest who are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Global experts will discuss the top priority for enhancing societies' adaptive capacity vis-a-vis future climate change.

In her research at IIASA, Muttarak focuses on the intersection of social inequality, differential vulnerability and environmental change. Her research has recently been published in Science and Nature Climate Change.

Other speakers are Magnus Lindelow, Practice Manager for Health, Nutrition & Population, and Isabelle Simeon, Health Specialist.

Event details:

Date: Tuesday, Jun 18, 12.30-2PM

Location: Room J 8-044

For more information on this event or the Series, please contact Emily () and Kanta ()


How Education Contributes to Reducing Vulnerability and Enhancing Adaptive Capacity in the Context of Climate Change

This talk focuses on the link between education, vulnerability and sustainability under the context of climate change. Our empirical research at the local and global level has shown that education contributes to both promoting pro-environmental actions and to reducing vulnerability to climate change. In particular, my work emphasises education as another source of population heterogeneity and discuss its relevance in sustainable development and vulnerability reduction. Since human being is central in shaping the climate system and being exposed by it, population distribution and structure are highly relevant for climate mitigation and adaptation. Not only do age and sex composition in the population matter for consumption and vulnerability, educational attainment is found to be another crucial population characteristic  (Lutz & Muttarak, 2017). Recent research has shown robust evidence at country, community, household and individual levels that education contributes to the reduction of vulnerability to environmental change (Butz, Lutz, & Sendzimir, 2014; Lutz, Muttarak, & Striessnig, 2014). For instance, it is found that highly educated societies or households have higher disaster preparedness, are more able to employ non-deteriorating strategies to cope with natural disasters, suffer lower loss and damage and recover faster from catastrophic shocks (Muttarak & Lutz, 2014).  

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Last edited: 18 June 2019


Raya Muttarak

Deputy Program Director

World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 329

Research at IIASA's World Population Program


TWI2050 - The World in 2050 (2020). Innovations for Sustainability. Pathways to an efficient and post-pandemic future. Report prepared by The World in 2050 initiative. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Sobotka T, Brzozowska Z, Muttarak R , Zeman K, & di Lego V (2020). Age, gender and COVID-19 infections. medRxiv DOI:10.1101/2020.05.24.20111765. (Submitted)

Ghislandi S, Muttarak R , Sauerberg M, & Scotti B (2020). News from the front: Estimation of excess mortality and life expectancy in the major epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. medRxiv DOI:10.1101/2020.04.29.20084335. (Submitted)

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