Dr. Richard Munang is currently the United Nations Environment (UNEP) Africa Regional Climate Change Programme Coordinator responsible for guiding the actualization of UNEP’s climate resilient development strategy for Africa through coordinating implementation of diverse projects in adaption and mitigation in key economic sectors especially agriculture, and energy as well as informing strategy and policy development from project lessons.
He is also the UNEP Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EbA) for Food Security Focal Person currently coordinating and guiding the roll-out of the UNEP-Africa Ecosystems Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly in over 40 countries. Previously he was the Policy & Programme Coordinator for the UNEP/UNDP Africa Climate Change Adaptation Development programme.
Under his coordination, he rallied the entire continent and push for an Ecosystem-Based Adaptation driven agriculture paradigm shift as the approach to address food security and build climate resilience. As a result of these efforts the African Union Commission has considered EBA-driven agriculture approach among priority mechanisms for delivering the Strategy and Roadmap of Malabo declarations to achieve the 2025 Vision on CAADP.
He spearheaded the conceptualization, planning and creation of the first ever Africa Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA). EBAFOSA is, a continental policy institutional framework to harmonize in a participatory way, decentralization of policy and implementation actions toward up-scaling EBA-Driven Agriculture and linkage to value chains to realize climate resilient food systems that guarantee not only food security but incomes and inclusive economic growth, build climate resilience and enhance ecosystems productivity, with the end goal to actualize sustainable agro-industry powered by clean energy. EBAFOSA is also supporting country governments to domesticate SDGs, the Paris COP21 agreement and AU Agenda 2063-across all regions and linguistic jurisdictions as well as fomenting partnerships for policy and concrete actions, resulting in its mainstreaming into national budgets, environmental and agricultural policies to actualize the SDGs.
At the 6th AMCEN special session in Cairo Egypt, EBAFOSA was adopted as the continental policy framework and implementation platform for adaptation and food security in Africa- through policy and technical solutions aimed at optimizing highly catalytic natural capital based sectors – Ecosystems Driven agriculture and its linkage to clean energy, to spur rural sustainable industries, towards achieving the SDGs.
He also coordinated the Africa Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) project bringing together African countries within five regions (Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Africa) to share lessons and solutions to LEDS planning, modeling, and implementation and actualize their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC with aim for job creation, climate resilience, and achievement of low emissions development.
The spatial distribution of these projects has served to inform and complement on-going work on environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive growth at policy and technical levels as well as serve Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other regional bodies and national governments in the diverse linguistic regions of the African continent.
He is the 2016 winner of UNEP’s recognition highest award, the Baobab staff awards for Programme Innovation for enhancing the efficiency and efficacy with which UNEP work on EBA policy integration is being up-scaled nationally and regionally.
He is also the first person to win the prestigious African Environmental Hero Award 2016 conferred by the International Environmental Roundtable for Africa. Awarded for his leadership on environmental policies across the continent demonstrating how climate action can improve food security, create jobs and boost economic growth.
He has been involved in shaping continental level strategic environmental policy position through technical support for the Africa Ministerial Conference for the Environment (AMCEN), as well as informing a coherent continental strategic climate policy position that prioritizes continental priorities at global forums through scientific research and publishing. For instance, he pioneered the Africa Adaptation Gap report series, a scientific analysis in the order of and informed by the UNFCCC IPCC reports, which have helped to galvanize a coherent continental strategic climate policy position. This resulted in the elevation of adaptation to a par with mitigation, an AMCEN priority and provision for voluntary domestic resource mobilization in the COP21, as informed by the 2nd Africa Adaptation Gap Report.
He has been involved in enhancing human and institutional capacity building skills, as well as mentoring and empowering young professionals through the EBAFOSA country-driven model, allowing national stakeholders and institutions to lead in policy and ground actions, transferring continentally and globally sourced best practices to countries which in the processes have helped built both human and institutional capacities. Mentorship being a key pillar of any sustainable programming, he has mentor African youth to optimally apply the skills and knowledge acquired in class towards solving Africa?s environmental and development challenges
He has also worked as a Research Fellow at Trinity College, University of Dublin, and a Lecturer at Nottingham University. As scientist, he is interested in both the rigors of research and generating scientific information and most importantly, in its optimal and practical application to solve contemporary and legacy challenges and leverage opportunities in addressing climate change and development in Africa.
He has participated in a wide variety of research projects and has published over 200 articles in both international peer reviewed journal and magazines. He holds a PhD in Environmental Change & Policy from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. He also holds an Executive Certificate in Climate Change and Energy Policy Making for the Long Term Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, USA