As of 1 January 2021, Prof. Dr. Zita Sebesvari assumed the role of Deputy Director of UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). She heads the institute’s Risk and Adaptation department and serves as the scientific lead of EHS’s flagship report Interconnected Disaster Risks.
An ecologist by training, Dr. Sebesvari holds a Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.) in Environmental Science from the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany. She also holds a M.Sc. in History, and has a great interest in inter- and transdisciplinary research design and project implementation.
Dr. Sebesvari is author or co-author of around 80 publications, and served as a Lead Author of the IPCC Special Report on Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCCC, Chapter 4 and Summary for Policymakers; 2019). She is member of the Science Committee of the World Adaptation Science Programme (WASP) and its working groups on the Global Goal on Adaptation and Loss and Damage, and the Technical Advisory Group of the Centre of Excellence Climate and Disaster Resilience. In her personal capacity, Dr. Sebesvari is member of the European Commission expert group Mission Board for Adaptation to Climate Change including Societal Transformation since 2022.
At UNU-EHS, Dr. Sebesvari has held the position of Head of the Environmental Vulnerability and Ecosystem Services (EVES) Section from 2017 – 2022; prior to this, she worked as a Senior Scientist at UNU-EHS for several years.
In addition to her research work, Dr. Sebesvari holds an honorary professorship at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Bonn and lectures in the UNU-EHS – University of Bonn Joint M.Sc. Programme “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security”. She supervises Ph.D. and M.Sc. students in topics related to social-ecological systems, interconnected risks and ecosystem-based approaches to disaster risk reduction and adaptation.
Prior to joining UNU-EHS, Dr. Sebesvari worked in the field of environmental monitoring and remediation at the Institute for Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere at the Jülich Research Centre, Germany, as well as on marine chemical and microbial signalling processes at the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) in Oldenburg.
A citizen of Hungary and Germany, Dr. Sebesvari is fluent in English German and Hungarian.