Dr. Kanta Kumari Rigaud is a Lead Environmental Specialist at the World Bank and has more than 25 years of professional experience in natural resources management, environmental management, and climate change adaptation. She joined the World Bank in 2004 and has worked in the Middle East North Africa Region, the Climate Change Group, and is currently working in the Africa Region as the Regional Climate Change Coordinator. She serves as co-chair of the Technical Working Group on Environmental Change and Migration in KNOMAD.
Kanta’s professional work has focused on advancing climate policy and action on the ground through frontier analytics and knowledge development. She is the lead author of the Bank’s flagship report Groundswell - Preparing for Internal Climate Migration working with a multidisciplinary team from leading institutions to provide insights on the plausible scale of climate induced migration. She also co-led the Bank's engagement with the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research to develop the Turn Down the Heat flagship report series which focuses on the nexus of climate science and development. Kanta was subsequently the course instructor when this report series was translated into the Bank’s first Massive Open Online Course: From Climate Science to Action to promote widescale learning. On the knowledge front, Kanta led the development of the World Bank's climate and disaster risk screening tools to inform project design and national/sectoral plans and strategies as a contribution to climate mainstreaming across the institution. Recognizing the critical importance of climate informed decision support, she went on to develop an online learning platform on weather and climate services resilient development for policy makers and practitioners on why and how to develop of high quality climate information products and services.
As the Bank’s focal point for the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, one of the programs of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), for more than six years, she provided strategic advice to multiple country programs for climate resilience in more than 25 countries spanning Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and fostered policy dialogue, shared learning and knowledge exchange through communities of practice to advance the climate resilience agenda. She went on to distill key PPCR Lessons for wider dissemination and uptake by other country programs.
Kanta is currently leading the update of the Africa Climate Business Plan, and pursuing engagement with countries, including Uganda and Kenya, on their Nationally Determined Contributions. Earlier while working in the Middle East and North Africa Region she spearheaded and managed adaptation and conservation initiatives involving agricultural and rural landscapes in Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia, and Morocco and helped countries mobilize climate financing. From 1997-2004, she was a program manager for the biodiversity focal area at the Global Environment Facility (GEF), where she also worked on policy issues and on monitoring and evaluation.
Kanta holds a Ph. D. from the University of East Anglia and was the recipient of the British Chevening Scholarship and the World Bank Graduate Scholarship award for her doctoral dissertation. She was also a senior research associate at the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment at the University of East Anglia. Prior to her Ph. D., she worked with the World Wildlife Fund in Malaysia for several years leading the development of conservation strategies for provincial states in Malaysia and supporting policy-oriented research and dialogue with government and other key stakeholders. She has a Master’s degree in Behavioral Ecology from the University of Stirling, UK; a First-Class Bachelor of Science honors degree in Ecology; and a Diploma in Education from the University of Malaya. She has more than 30 publications and reports on natural resources, environmental and climate issues.