Dr. Yvonne Walz is the Head of the Environmental Vulnerability and Ecosystem Services (EVES) division of UNU-EHS.
Dr. Walz has expertise in understanding drivers of risk, identifying ecosystem-based approaches to reduce current and future risks and evaluating adaptation strategies to impacts of climate change. In addition, she conducts research with the specific focus to support countries in monitoring progress towards the implementation of the international frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Global Biodiversity Framework, or the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
At UNU-EHS, Dr. Walz has been leading and managing multiple projects in the field of risk and climate change research, land- and ecosystem-based approaches and geospatial modelling to monitor indicators of the Sendai Framework (e.g. Align4LDN, Align-SLM, CLIMAFRI, CRM-NbS, EviDENz, FURIFLOOD, RRR-Coast, VALE, WASCAL, etc.).
In terms of capacity development, Dr. Walz is actively involved in teaching activities in the joint MSc programme on Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security of UNU-EHS and University of Bonn, at UNU-MERIT and at the WASCAL PhD program on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management in Lomé, Togo, with a focus on the role of ecosystems in the context of disaster risk and climate change. In the context of the CLIMAFRI and VALE projects, in her role as project lead, she conceptualized and designed training of trainers programs based on the overall project results. She supervises PhD students of the WASCAL program and MSc students in topics related to social-ecological vulnerability and risk and ecosystem-based approaches to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Dr. Walz serves as UNU focal point to the science-policy networks Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) and the Friends of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (FEBA), as well as the UNU-EHS focal point for institutional collaboration with UNCCD.
Prior to joining UNU-EHS, Dr. Walz worked as a researcher at the University of Würzburg in the Remote Sensing Department (4 years), and at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promoting Water Management and Risk Communication at the University Clinics in Bonn (3 years), where she gained work experience in analysing socio-ecological systems in the context of environment and human health. At the Centre for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), she led the health mapping activities within the GMES RESPOND Service Elements of the European Space Agency (ESA), and was involved in crisis intervention and spatial damage assessment. During her work at the Department of Land Information (DLI) in Australia, Dr. Walz conducted research on monitoring of burn severity and the impact of fire management practices in temperate forests of South-Western Australia.