Ase Johannessen


Åse is a systems ecologist (PhD in Risk Management 2017, MSc in Biology 1999) working currently as an international post doc with a three-year grant from the Swedish Research Council, hosted by TU Delft in The Netherlands, (Water Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences) administered by the Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University. Her research focuses on adaptive governance, social learning and collaboration for risk reduction and resilience building in Swedish and Dutch water governance. This includes integrating innovations such as nature-based solutions in cities. To apply her research, Åse engages in dialogues with government agencies and politicians together with colleagues in a Swedish water governance network.

Åse has 20 years’ professional experience with a diverse portfolio of empirical research, project and policy work. She is an SEI Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) where she has been working with several research projects at Swedish, European and international level. She was researcher and project manager of the four-year project WASH & RESCUE investigating resilience building in water, sanitation and hygiene in urban areas, leading a team of seven people. She was also part of the FP7 project RISC KIT investigating integrated planning for coastal risks in Europe. She was involved in the initial stages of the project EDUCEN, a Culture Expert Network on European Disasters in Urban centres. Åse has a successful record of proposal writing and project acquisition and acquired funding on SEIs behalf for all these projects.

Prior to doing research, Åse has a programmatic background, including strategy development and management at Swedish, SADC (Africa regional) and international level. She has developed several international programmes, such as Disaster Risk, Climate Change and Women in Water, Cities of the Future and the World Water Monitoring Day (at IWA). At Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) she was project manager for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize linking together about 20 country programmes. She has worked two years for IUCN in a local government office in Botswana, giving technical support to integrated ecosystem management and the regional water programme in Southern Africa, addressing issues from local to transboundary river basin level.

Åse has also good insights in water policy development after her advisory work in UK Government water policy division. In various roles she has also worked with policy advocacy and communication to influence high level policy processes (COP, CSD, World Water Fora, SIWI, UNESCO, UNISDR etc). At Swedish Water House (part of SIWI) Åse facilitated a dialogue among Swedish actors and producing policy recommendations as the cluster group lead on Water and Disaster Risk Reduction.

Åse has also produced educational material for African water classrooms in a UN Habitat project and developed material and organised training for Swedish gymnasium teachers.

Through this work, Åse has much experience of working with a broad variety of stakeholders, and in-depth understanding of different development contexts including inter-cultural and inter-personal collaboration.

Credit: Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

Transforming disaster risk reduction

This article highlights key areas where efforts to reduce the underlying causes/drivers of vulnerability and risk need to be improved to create more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.

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