David Samuel Williams


IPC Fellowship

Granting institution

Period of the Fellowship

August 2020 - August 2021

Project title

“How National Adaptation Plans can address and consider vulnerable communities”

Project description

The recent IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C clearly illustrates the future impacts of climate change, highlighting the urgency of adaptation. As a response to these climate change impacts, the UNFCCC National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) were devised as key mechanisms for implementing adaptation and reducing risks. However, there is still a lack of understanding around how to develop processes that consider vulnerable communities in climate change adaptation practices suitable for NAPs. This is key for Turkey, which if included in the Non-Annex I group of low-income countries, will be required to submit a NAP to the UNFCCC.
Using the city of Istanbul as a case study, this research project aims at bridging this knowledge gap by exploring and assessing existing approaches to climate change adaptation and how these currently address and consider vulnerable communities. It will identify and develop processes for enhancing the consideration of vulnerable communities in climate change adaptation practice suitable for NAPs. This multi-level governance approach will contribute to the theoretical and practical understanding of climate change adaptation processes both at the local and at the national level.

Short biography

David Samuel Williams was born in Germany to British and Irish parents. David studied for a BSc
in Geography at the University of Salford, Manchester, before completing an MSc in Global
Transformation and Environmental Change at the University of Hamburg. The focus of his
master’s thesis was on assessing the vulnerability of informal settlements to climate change—a
project he was able to continue during his PhD. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the
Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), a scientific entity of the Helmholtz-Zentrum
Geesthacht (HZG) in Hamburg. His PhD was conducted as part of IMPREX (Improving Predictions
and Management of Hydrological Extremes), an EU H2020-funded project with multiple
collaborating institutes. This project focuses on assessing and enhancing the capacity of local
governance for climate change adaptation in informal settlements and small island states.

Williams has worked with communities particularly affected by climate change in Durban, South
Africa, and Mauritius. He is particularly interested in how climate change exacerbates inequality.
As part of the Mercator-IPC Fellowship program, he will be assessing the consideration of
marginalized communities in the UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan process and how this
consideration might be enhanced.