MCII Project Office Team in Bonn

Soenke Kreft (Executive Director)

Soenke Kreft leads the work of Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) which is hosted at United Nations University – Institute for Environmental and Human Security (UNU-EHS). He oversees the policy engagement and public sector strategy work to promote and improve risk sharing and risk transfer schemes for the benefit of climate impacted people and communities.

Mr. Kreft for his entire career has been deeply engaged in international climate policy and sustainability processes, having led the Climate Policy Team at the German NGO Germanwatch from 2013-2016.  This allowed him to provide major input to the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC) and also contribute to other initiatives, such as the G7 InsuResilience.

Prior to his role as Executive Director, Mr. Kreft was familiar with MCII for many years; he participated in the first phase of MCII’s project “Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean” in 2011, and was responsible for a large capacity development and agenda-setting programme with the Least Developed Countries group on climate-induced Loss and Damage, which in turn provided the rationale to launch the UNFCCC loss and damage thematic work and subsequent initiatives, such as G7 InsuResilience and the G20-V20 Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance.

See Sönke's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Kehinde Balogun (Associate Project Manager)

Kehinde Balolgun's overarching professional goal is to promote humanity and solidarity through the use of insurance to manage disaster risks in the face of climate change impacts. She moved from South Africa to Bonn, Germany in 2012 and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Management from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) and a Masters Degree in Disaster Risk Management at the University of the Free State (UFS). Kehinde’s zeal to help vulnerable people and communities led her to work as a researcher and volunteer during her studies for causes such as HIV/AIDS, youth capacity development and disaster risk reduction. This made the move to work at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human security (UNU-EHS) a natural fit.

At UNU-EHS, Kehinde works on topics such as disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and is an expert on slow-onset losses and damages and their impacts on vulnerable populations. In this capacity she provides inputs and submissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) policy discussions. Through her engagement at the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative she presents and contributes to various international events that focus on the nexus between disaster risk management and climate change adaptation through the value of insurance.

As a Nigerian and having had experiences with vulnerable communities in Africa, Kehinde is passionate about continuing to work on the Advancing Climate Risk Insurance plus (ACRI+) project that focuses on designing Integrated Climate Risk Management (ICRM) concepts, gathering experiences from international organizations on ICRM and feeding lessons learned into international policy discussions to help build climate-and-disaster resilient communities in the global south.

See Kehinde's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Eike Behre (Project Associate)

Eike Behre is a Project Associate at MCII and will support the implementation of several climate risk analysis studies applying the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) methodology. The ECA methodology assists in formulating long-term climate adaptation strategies, including risk transfer solutions. He will be responsible for the overall assessment of climate change adaptation options from the ecosystem service perspective.

Prior to MCII, Eike worked for GIZ in the BMU funded project Advancing Climate Risk Insurance Plus (ACRI+) with the focus to apply an Integrated Climate Risk Management approach to the renewable energy sector in Barbados. At GIZ, he was also responsible for the supervision of a Disaster Risk Finance Toolkit, created in cooperation with the risk modeling company Risk Management Solutions. In addition, Eike has gained valuable experience with forest carbon offset projects (REDD+) in Fiji and Vietnam.

Eike holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the Wageningen University and a Bachelor’s degree in Forest and Nature Conservation from Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. Eike's research interests include Ecosystem-based Adaptation, Climate & Disaster Risk Management and Climate Risk Insurance.

 


Samet Sevket Bulut (Project Associate)

Mr. Samet Sevket Bulut works as a Project Associate at MCII and focuses on Climate Risk Management and Disaster Risk Financing. He contributes to the “Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean” (CRAIC) project that is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The project seeks to address climate change, adaptation and vulnerability by promoting weather-index based insurance as a risk management instrument in the Caribbean as part of an overall Disaster Risk Management strategy. Samet also contributes to the “Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme” (PICAP) which has the objective to improve financial preparedness of Pacific households, communities, small businesses, organizations and governments towards disasters through a combination of stakeholder engagements, risk appraisal and research, awareness and capacity building, innovative financing options – with robust linkages to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The programme is jointly implemented with UNCDF and UNDP. Samet also contributes ad hoc support to an ADB Technical Assistance project on “Strengthening Climate and Disaster Resilience of Myanmar Communities”.

Samet holds a Bachelor of Science (Cum Laude) in European Public Health from Maastricht University where he focused on the nexus between health sciences, health care, and international politics. Within his Bachelor programme he also graduated from the Honours programme where he worked on healthcare management related projects. Further, Samet holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Human Development with a specialisation in risk and vulnerability from the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and social Research institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT). He is also a certified expert in Microfinance from Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

Samet is passionate about the interlinkage between disaster risk management and climate risk insurance. He is also interested in adaptive social protection.

Prior to his current position, Samet worked as a Project Assistant at MCII. He also gained practical working experience in the field of health communication and risk communication at the Institute for Public Communication at the Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano (Switzerland). Moreover, he got an insight into the human development sector while he worked as a volunteer on a community based education approach for children in Puerto López (Ecuador). In addition, Samet did a six month internship at MCII where he contributed to the “Advancing Climate Risk Insurance Plus” (ACRI+) project and “G7 InsuResilience Initiative”. Afterwards, he did a three months internship at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Manila (Philippines) where he focused on the nexus between climate change and human rights. 

See Samet's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Jennifer Cissé (Research Manager - Climate Risk Finance and Resilience)

Dr. Jennifer Cissé is a Research Manager for the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII), hosted by UNU-EHS, supporting ongoing work on Small Island States in the Caribbean and Pacific and the development of new insurance products to protect vulnerable populations against extreme weather risk. Jenn is also involved in MCII’s research and M&E work, helping build the evidence base for high-quality climate risk insurance.

She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University, where her doctoral research focus on resilience estimation and the impact of insurance on resilience. Prior to joining MCII, Jenn was a Senior Risk Advisor in the Bureau for Food Security at USAID. She has previously worked for Catholic Relief Services and as a consultant for both Catholic Relief Services and Lutheran World Relief.

Opens external link in new windowSee Jennifer's profile on the UNU-EHS Website


David Daou (Research Manager)

David Daou joins UNU-EHS and MCII as a Research Manager for the ECA Studies team in Bonn.

David has a PhD in remote sensing (Atmospheric Physics), and has been working with ground-based instruments such as Lidar, radar, sunphotometer and starphotometer, as well with satellite active and passive instruments such as CALIPSO, CLOUDSAT and MODIS. He has developed several algorithms on retrieval microphysical parameters like the recent satellite joint future mission by ESA-JAXA called EarthCARE. He has also been working with programming languages and scripting tools such as MATLAB, Python for several years.

 


Rachael Hansen (Project Associate)

Rachael Hansen is a Programme Coordinator at the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative hosted by UNU-EHS. She engages in the Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean project being implemented by the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Building (BMUB) as well as MCII’s support of the G7 InsuResilience Initiative. Rachael completed her undergraduate degree at Utah State University in Journalism and Public Relations and her graduate degree at Edinburgh Napier University in International Event Management. In addition to assisting with the different MCII projects, Rachael coordinates all of MCII's events as well as acts as the team's native English speaking editor. 

See Rachael's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Tara James (Local Coordinator)

Tara is the Local Coordinator for MCII's Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean (CRAIC) project.

Upon completing her BSc in Actuarial Science, Tara specialized in the provision of alternative risk transfer consulting services for geographical and weather hazards. She provided input to and assisted in the management of groundbreaking insurance projects such as CCRIF SPC, the world’s first multi-country catastrophe risk fund. She also conducted in the research, development and implementation activities for weather index-based micro-insurance schemes in small island states. She is also a Fulbright Scholar with an MBA specializing in Risk Management and Insurance from the Wisconsin School of Business.

These experiences and opportunities served to increase her passion to do challenging and impactful work. Her career goal is to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the insurance industries and adaptation to climate change within emerging markets.


Dirk Kohler (Insurance Advisor)

Dirk Kohler is the Insurance Advisor at MCII. His main focus will be on complementing the work of MCII in the Caribbean by adding his long years of profound insurance industry experience to the implementation of two climate risk insurance solutions in Saint Lucia, Grenada, Jamaica, Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. He will also join the MCII team providing technical advice to the G7 initiative on climate risk insurance (InsuResilience) run by GIZ and BMZ. 

Dirk was founder and CEO of CarbonRe AG, a Swiss based expert insurance, specializing in climate change, carbon markets and clean energy technologies. With a background in applied economics (chartered insurer), environmental risk management and insurance, Dirk has been associated with GERLING Group of Insurance companies and GERLING Consulting Group since 1987. In 1998 he initiated the GERLING Sustainable Development Project GmbH (GSDP) to move GERLING into visionary fostering of Sustainable Development. He took over GSDP in a Management Buy Out in 2003. Dirk was a founding partner of United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), its climate change working group, and was accredited by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at COP 6.5 and 15. Dirk was awarded World Finance Carbon Market Awards 2011 for Best Overall Contribution to Insurance (Global). He is a German with strong roots in France and experience in the Mediterranean Regions and North Africa.

See Dirk's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Jennifer Phillips (Associate Project Manager)

Jennifer Phillips is a Project Associate responsible for the disaster risk management component of the Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean (CRAIC) project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The project seeks to address climate change, adaptation, and vulnerability by promoting weather-index based insurance as a risk management instrument in the Caribbean. Jennifer specializes in developing disaster risk management products and approaches that can be used by the project partners when introducing weather-index insurance to new communities.

Before starting at MCII, she worked in the Advancing Climate Risk Insurance Plus (ACRI+) team at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, focusing on the Increasing Urban Resilience through Risk Transfer in China project and the Applying Integrated Disaster and Climate Risk Management to Renewable Energy in Barbados project.

Jennifer obtained her Master’s degree in Development Economics from the University of Göttingen, where she investigated the effect of income inequality on environmental legislation for her master’s thesis. She received her Bachelor’s degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University where she double majored in International Relations and Economics and specialized in political economy. She has completed internships for the Michigan House of Representatives and the Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND) in Geneva and has additionally worked in Burkina Faso and Russia.


Alvaro Rojas-Ferreira (Project Assistant)

Alvaro Rojas-Ferreira joins MCII as a Project Assistant for the ECA Studies team supporting with stakeholder engagement and data collection through the different workshops required within the ECA methodology. Additionally Alvaro will be assisting with research tasks related to the recommended adaptation measures, and reporting for the different partners of the project.

Alvaro holds an MSc in Natural Resources Management from the TH Cologne and an engineering degree from the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. He has experience supporting project implementation and evaluation in the fields of GHG mitigation and climate risk management with ICLEI and GIZ, respectively. As part of interdisciplinary and multicultural teams, he has worked in project coordination including monitoring systems for activities and goals, stakeholder engagement, capacity building through workshops and online tools, and ensuring appropriate reporting and documentation. Alvaro is particularly interested in how to integrate adaptation measures to boost synergies in different contexts.


Viktoria Seifert (Associate Project Manager)

Viktoria works as a Project Associate for Climate Policy and Insurance at MCII, and contributes to the work and policy advisory related to MCII’s support of the G7 InsuResilience Initiative. InsuResilience strives to integrate insurance with comprehensive disaster risk management approaches to cover an additional 400 million vulnerable people by 2020. Viktoria also monitors and provides inputs to the policy process under the UNFCCC and other relevant initiatives like the G7, G20 and V20. Further, she is responsible for advocacy and outreach on relevant climate policy and insurance networks.

Prior to taking up her position at MCII, Viktoria worked with several of MCII’s members and partners, such as the Climate Change Division of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Allianz, the Sustainable Investment Forum Germany and most recently with the UNFCCC, where she focused on adaptation knowledge gaps and supported the negotiations on the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform during COP23.

Viktoria holds a B.A. in Philosophy & Economics from the University of Bayreuth, where she concentrated on climate ethics and economics, and an MSc. in International Relations from the London School of Economics with a focus on transnational climate governance. She also holds a certification by the UNEP Collaborating Centre with the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management as an Expert for Renewable Energy and Climate Finance.

See Viktoria's profile on the UNU-EHS website.


Dominic Sett (Project Associate)

Dominic Sett is a Project Associate for the Adaptive Social Protection project, which is jointly coordinated by VARMAP and MCII at UNU-EHS. After completing his Bachelor’s in Geography at the University of Bonn, Dominic started the joint Master’s programme ‘Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security’ offered by UNU-EHS and the University of Bonn. He recently graduated and wrote his thesis on the role of social-psychological factors in the adoption of rainwater harvesting as a measure of adapting to water scarcity in Cape Town, for which he was awarded the Young Professionals “Preparedness 2030” Award by the German Committee for Disaster Risk Reduction (DKKV).

Prior to graduating, Dominic accrued significant work experiences through an internship in international climate policy at the NGO Germanwatch, as a junior expert in remote sensing in the private sector, and as an intern and consultant for UN-Habitat ROAP in Thailand and Laos, where he worked on mainstreaming climate concerns into urban policies and supported Laos’ Adaptation Fund project on strengthening resilience of the most vulnerable in the country’s southern emerging urban settlements. Besides that, he worked as a student assistant and Junior Researcher in UNU-EHS’s VARMAP section, where he was involved in different local and international projects. These included: a global analysis of social protection trends to assess future risks, a vulnerability assessment to heat stress in Bonn, end-user resilience to critical infrastructure failure in Germany, a global assessment of risk and readiness for climate insurance solutions, and transformative urban coalitions to foster enhanced climate action in Latin America. In his current position as Project Associate, he supports the integration of climate change adaptation, disaster risk management and social protection to increase the effectiveness of social protection schemes in Indonesia and thereby increase people’s resilience in a country prone to various natural hazards.

See Dominic's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Maxime Souvignet (Project Manager)

Dr. Maxime Souvignet is a Project Coordinator for the Munich Climate Risk Insurance Initiative (MCII) hosted by UNU-EHS in close collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The project ("Promoting Integrated Mechanisms for Climate Risk Management and Transfer") aims to develop a strategic framework for low income countries and emerging economies in finding ways to implement climate risk insurance solutions in an integrated climate risk management approach.

He holds a PhD. in Climatology and Hydrology from the University of Leipzig in Germany, which was conducted in close collaboration with the Center for Advanced Studies in Arid Zones (CEAZA) in Chile. Dr. Souvignet has a broad interest in climate change adaptation, climate risk modelling and uncertainties related with natural catastrophes. Much of his work focuses on developing concepts and methods for the spatial assessment of risk in the context of climate change and natural perils. In previous project work, he adapted the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) methodology and its modelling tools (Climada) in order to assess climate adaptation potential in poor urban areas in San Salvador.

See Maxime's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Simon Wagner (Phd Researcher)

Simon Wagner works as a PhD Researcher at MCII and he is deployed to conduct research within the German-African inter- and transdisciplinary project CLIMAFRI which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) on the potential role of insurance mechanisms for adaptation to flood risk and how they can complement or improve existing risk management and risk sharing strategies.

Prior to taking up his position at MCII, Simon has collected working experience as an intern at the NatCatSERVICE database of Munich Re, at the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as well as with MCII. He additionally worked as an interviewer for the United Nations University – Institute of Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in the project “CIRMin - Critical Infrastructures Resilience as a minimum supply concept” and as a working student in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Data Management at AED Synergis GmbH.

Simon holds a B.A. in Cultural Geography with side subject Economics from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in which he focused on Urban Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Additionally, he is a graduate of the Master’s programme “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” (M.Sc.) at UNU-EHS which focusses on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation and in which he worked as a GIS tutor in the Master’s module “Using GIS in the context of Disaster Risk Reduction”. In the scope of his Master’s thesis he completed field work in Lagos, Nigeria on factors which are enhancing collective adaptation to floods through comparative case studies of communities.

See Simon's profile on the UNU-EHS website.


Florian Waldschmidt (Project Associate)

Florian Waldschmidt joins MCII as a Project Associate supporting the implementation of climate risk analysis studies applying the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) methodology in different settings. Florian's responsibilities include the identification and valuation relevant assets, the definition of corresponding damage curves, as well as social- economic scenarios.

Florian holds an MSc in Economics and Development Economics from the University of Nottingham, UK and a BSc in Economics from the University of Kiel, Germany. He is also a certified expert in micro-insurance form the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

He has previously worked with KfW, GIZ and Sparkassenstiftung für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (SBIFC). At his previous position as an advisor with the GIZ, his role was both coordinative as well as technical. As country focal point in Ghana, he prepared the Ghana-Roadmap, including an economic and risk analysis focusing on the agricultural sector and a recommended implementation plan toward an integrated climate risk management. His responsibility also extended to supporting the development of the agricultural insurance market in Ghana as well as the exchange with the African Risk Capacity during Ghana’s accession process as part of the comprehensive risk management approach developed. He has technical skills in econometrics and is a trusted user of STATA and Eviews. His analytical skills combined with his technical knowledge of the topic at hand area great asset to the team and the position.

Florian has a broad interest in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, climate finance including climate risk transfer, as well as actively leveraging unavoidable effects for productive and sustainable purposes, especially for particular vulnerable population groups.


Michael Zissener (Initiative Coordinator)

Michael Zissener is the Initiative Coordinator for the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII). As an expert on the application of different types of risk transfer tools, such as index-based approaches, microinsurance, regional risk pools, Michael’s focus lies on the resilience and livelihood security of people and communities vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Michael is well-versed in linking different stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds (incl. the UN-system, private sector, academia, NGOs, etc.) to distill objective-driven results. He has substantive experience in project management of different types of projects, including working with international partners and a variety of different donors. Michael mainly worked on the projects “Innovative Insurance Solutions for Adaptation to Climate Change” funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); and “Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).

See Michael's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Sabrina Zwick (Programme Associate)

Sabrina Zwick is a Programme Associate at the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative. She is responsible for the management of grants and contributes to the project "Promoting Integrated Mechanisms for Climate Risk Management and Transfer". This project aims to develop concepts for the integration of insurance solutions into climate risk management approaches in low income countries and emerging economies.

Sabrina Zwick holds a Master in Public Policy and Management from the University of Konstanz in Germany. She previously worked for UN-Water and the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). Furthermore, her work experience includes the implementation of technical assistance projects in developing countries and countries in transition with a focus on public administration and environment.

See Sabrina's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.