School of Life Sciences

Prof Debra Roberts

Co-Chair for Working Group II

An Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Co-Chair for Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and an Acting Head of the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit at EThekwini Municipality. Interests include Sustainability, Resilience, Biodiversity and Climate Change Adaptation in an urban context.

  • Diederichs, N. and Roberts, D. (2015). Climate protection in mega-event greening: the 2010 FIFA™ World Cup and COP17-CMP7 experiences in Durban, South Africa. Climate and Development (in press).

  • Leck, H. and Roberts, D. (2015). What lies beneath: understanding the invisible aspects of municipal climate change governance. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 13: 61-67.

  • Archer, D., Almansib, F., Digregorio, M., Roberts, D., Sharma, D. and Syam, D. (2014). Moving towards inclusive urban adaptation: approaches to integrating community-based adaptation to climate change at city and national scale. Climate and Development, 6(4): 345-356.

  • Revi, A., Satterthwaite, D., Aragón-Durand, A., Corfee-Morlot, J., Kiunsi, R.B.R., Pelling, M., Roberts, D., Solecki, Gajjar, S.P. and Sverdlik, A. (2014). Towards transformative adaptation in cities: the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment. Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 26 (1): 11-28.

  • Costanza, R., Kubiszewski, I., Giovannini, E., Lovins, H., Mcglade, J., Pickett, K.E., Ragnarsdóttir, K.V., Roberts, D., De Vogli, R. and Wilkinson, R. (2014). Time to leave GDP behind. Comment in Nature, 505: 283–285.

  • Costanza, R., Mcglade, J., Bonvoisin, S., Fagerholm, P., Farley, J., Giovannini, E., Kubiszewski, I., Moore Lappé, F., Lovins, H., Pickett, K., Norris, G., Prugh, T., Ragnarsdottir, K.V., Roberts, D. and Wilkinson R. (2013). The future we really want. Solutions, 4 (4): 37-43.

  • Roberts, D. and O’Donoghue, S. (2013). Urban environmental challenges and climate change action in Durban, South Africa. Environment and Urbanisation, 25 (2): 299- 319.

  • Walsh, C.L., Roberts, D., Dawson, R.J., Hall, J.W., Nickson, A. and Hounsome, R. (2013). Experiences of Integrated Assessment modelling in London and Durban. Environment and Urbanisation, 25 (2): 361-380.

  • Cartwright, A., Roberts, D., Blignaut, J., De Wit, M., Goldberg, K., Mander, M. and O’Donoghue, S. (2013). Economics of climate change adaptation at the local scale under conditions of uncertainty and resource constraints: the case of Durban, South Africa. Environment and Urbanisation, 25 (1): 139-156.
  • Roberts, D., Boon, R., Diederichs, N., Douwes, E., Govender. N., McInnes, A., Mclean, C. O’Donoghue, S., and Spires, M. (2012). Exploring ecosystem-based adaptation in Durban, South Africa: “learning-by-doing” at the local government coal face. Environment and Urbanisation, 24 (1): 167-195.

  • Carmin, J., Roberts, D. and Anguelovski, I. (2012). Urban Climate Adaptation in the Global South: Planning in an Emerging Policy Domain. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 32(1) 18 –32.

  • Roberts, D. (2010). Prioritising climate change and local level resilience in Durban, South Africa. Environment and Urbanisation, 22 (2): 397-413.

  • Roberts, D. (2008). Thinking globally, acting locally – institutionalising climate change at the local government level in Durban, South Africa. Environment and Urbanisation, 20 (2): 521-537.

  • Roberts, D. and Diederichs, N. (2002). Durban’s Local Agenda 21 programme: tackling sustainable development in a post-apartheid city. Environment and Urbanisation, 14(1): 189-201.

  • Roberts, D. (1994). The design of an open space network for the City of Durban (South Africa). Environmental Conservation, 21(1): 11-17.

  • Roberts, D. (1993). The vegetation ecology of Municipal Durban. Natal. Floristic classification. Bothalia, 23(2): 271-326.

  • Poynton, J.C. and Roberts, D.(1985). Urban Open Space planning in South Africa: A biogeographical perspective. South African Journal of Science, 81: 3-37.

  • Roberts, D. and Poynton, J.C. (1985). Central and peripheral urban open spaces: need for a biological evaluation. South African Journal of Science, 82: 464-466.
  • Roberts, D., Morgan, D., O’Donoghue, S., Guastella, L., Hlongwa, N., and Price, P. (2015). Durban, South Africa: Working Towards Transformative Adaptation in an African City in Satterthwaite, D. and Bartlett, (eds Cities in a Finite Planet, Routledge (forthcoming).

  • Roberts, D. (2015). City action for global environmental change: assessment and case study of Durban, South Africa in Seto, K.C., Solecki, W. and Griffith, C. (eds), Handbook on urbanization and global environmental change. Routledge, (in press).

  • Mather, A. and Roberts, D. (2015). Climate change and the coasts of Africa: Durban case study, in Glavovic, B.C., Kelly, M., Kay, R. and Travers, A. (eds) Climate Change and the Coast Building Resilient Communities, CRC Press (Taylor and Francis Group) Boca Raton, Florida, USA.

  • Revi, A., D.E. Satterthwaite, F. Aragón-Durand, J. Corfee-Morlot, R.B.R. Kiunsi, M. Pelling, D.C. Roberts and Solecki, W. (2014). Urban Areas in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects.Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [C.B. Field, V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 535-612.

  • Carmin, J.C., Roberts, D. and Anguelovski, I. (2012). Preparing Cities for Climate Change: Early Lessons from Early Adaptors in Hoornweg, D., Freire, M., Lee, M.J., Bhada Tata, P. and Yuen, B. (eds.), Cities and Climate Change: Responding to an Urgent Agenda, Volume 2. Washington, DC: World Bank.

  • Anguelovski, I and Roberts. D. (2011). Spatial justice and climate change: multi-scale impacts and local development in Durban, South Africa in Carmin, J. and Agyeman, J. (eds) Environmental Inequalities Across Borders: Local Perspectives on Global Injustices, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • Mather, A., Roberts, D. and Tooley, G. (2011). Adaptation in Practise: Durban, South Africa in Otto-Zimmermann, K. (ed) Resilient Cities. Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change – Proceedings of the Global Forum 2010 ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Springer, Heidelberg.Roberts. D. (2009). Thinking globally, acting locally – institutionalising climate change at the local government level in Durban, South Africa in Bicknell, J., Dodman, D. and Satterthwaite, D. (eds) Adapting cities to climate change: understanding and addressing the development challenges. Earthscan, London.

  • Roberts, D., Boon, R., Croucamp, P. and Mander, M. (2005). Resource Economics as a tool for open space planning in Durban, South Africa in Ted Trzyna (ed) The Urban Imperative. Urban outreach strategies for protected area agencies, California Institute of Public Affairs, Sacramento, California.Roberts, D. (2005). Durban’s Local Agenda 21/Local Action 21 Programme: A vehicle for social inclusion? in Herrle, P. and Walther, U-J. (eds) Socially inclusive cities. Emerging concepts and practice. Lit Verlag, Munster.

  • Roberts, D. (2003). Sustainability and equity: reflections of a local government practitioner in southern Africa in Agyeman, J., Bullard, R.D. and Evans, B. (eds) Just sustainabilities. Development in an unequal world, EarthScan, London. Also MIT Press.

  • Roberts, D. (2003). Using the development of an environmental management system to develop and promote a more holistic understanding of urban ecosystems in Durban South Africa in Berkowitz, A.R., Nilon, C.H. and Hollweg, K.S. (eds) Understanding urban ecosystems. A new frontier for science and education, Springer/Verlag, New York.

  • Roberts, D. and Diederichs, N. (2002). Durban’s Local Agenda 21 programme 1994-2001: Tackling sustainable development. International Institute of Environment and Development. Natal Printers, Durban.

  • Roberts, D., Mander, M. and Boon, R. (2002). An urban challenge: Conserving biodiversity in the Ethekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal in Pierce, S.M., Cowling, R.M., Sandwith, T. and MacKinnon, K. (eds Mainstreaming biodiversity in development. Case studies from South Africa, World Bank, Washington.

  • Roberts, D. (1996). Urban environmental planning and management – the challenge of sustainable development in Reddy, P.S. (ed) Readings in Local Government Management and Development: a Southern African Perspective, Juta & Co, Kenwyn.