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Dr Sonja Ayeb Karlsson
Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London
Gower Street
London
WC1E 6BT
Dr Sonja Ayeb Karlsson profile picture
Appointment
  • Lecturer in Climate, Policy and Intersectionality
  • Inst for Risk & Disaster Reduction
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences
Biography
I have conducted field research, lived and worked across countries in South and Central America, Oceania, Africa as well as South and Southeast Asia. I am still affiliated with several UN institutes from this work such as UNU-EHS, UNEP’s International Resource Panel and UNFCCC. I also lead the mental health work of the Lancet Countdown, I am on the SHERA research committee, Hague Mothers, and I was part of the RCPSYCH Climate Emergency and Mental Health Task and Finish Group. I am an associate editor of Frontiers: Climate Mobility, and on the editorial boards of ‘Climate and Development’ and ‘UCL Open: Environment’. My work is well-published and widely covered by media outlets across the world.
Research Summary
My research area is broad and interdisciplinary with a particular focus on the interconnections between climate change, policy and intersectionality, and their overlaps with human (im)mobility and migration, or health and mental wellbeing. My research combines primary and secondary data and includes quantitative and qualitative methods, I am also interested in anthropological narrative approaches that support visual alternative ways to communicate research findings.


At the moment, I am particularly interested in furthering our understanding of psychologically and legally ‘trapped’ populations, gender-based violence and policy protection (or lack of protection), the mental health impacts of humanitarian disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic or specific legal systems (such as the family courts) or policy tools (such as the Human Rights Act, the Istanbul Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Family Law), and non-economic losses and damages in the context of the UNFCCC climate negotiations.


I am currently available for PhD supervision in any of these research areas as well as work linked to specific studies and policy areas around climate, (im)mobility, gender, conflict or disaster policy (UNFCCC, UNDRR, WHO, UNHRC, UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM), policy areas more focused on the UK such as heat and mental health, gender-based violence (conflict, interpersonal, and domestic), wellbeing and policy protection (or lack of protection).

Teaching Summary
Module lead for IRDR0039 Humanitarian Policy (Group Project), contributing to IRDR0012 Masters Individual Project and undergraduate admissions tutor.




PhD Supervision




2022-2025 Shiyi Zhang (IRDR, UCL), Research area: The influence of grassroots movement upon climate policy and sustainability in China and the UK. 




2021-2024 Michael Ruprecht (IOE with Prof Blitz and IRDR, UCL), Research area: Legal recognition and protection of urban internally displaced people in urban areas of Turkey and Colombia due to climate change.




2021-2023 Lillian Norris (SEES, University of Queensland with Dr McNamara and IRDR, UCL), Research area: Experiencing and working through climate-induced non-economic loss in Australia and Vanuatu.

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