Our people


Our NDC Support Programme team draws on a diverse group of specialists in governance and policy, finance, climate change, energy and development. Together, we work with countries on strengthening local capacities to meet the national climate and development targets as outlined in the NDCs.

Our team comprises a global support team, as well as a national project team which includes focal points at UNDP’s country offices, a dedicated project manager and governmental focal points in each of our programme countries. Building on UNDP’s country knowledge and expertise, we provide services that are tailored to local needs and growth targets.


Global NDC Team

Rebecca Carman

Rebecca first joined UNDP in 1998 and has supported developing countries on a range of climate change issues, including Nationally Determined Contributions, National Communications, GHG inventory systems, adaptation, mitigation and climate finance. Prior to UNDP, Rebecca worked in the Environment Division of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France. She holds an MBA from one of Australia’s top-ranked business schools.

Countries: Bhutan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam

Focal point:  IKI NDC Support Cluster’s groups on Data and Transparency and Sectoral Approaches, NDC Partnership


Verania Chao

Verania has worked for UNDP for more than a decade, where she has developed strong expertise in gender and environment issues. As her work has focused on the integration of gender equality and women's empowerment into national planning and capacity building processes, she is currently spearheading the piloting of gender-responsive NDC implementation in 10 programme countries. Previously, she oversaw the environment, energy and climate change portfolio in UNDP’s country office in Mexico, where she worked with national and subnational governments, civil society organizations and at the community level. Verania holds an MSc in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Countries: Bhutan, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Philippines, Uganda, Zambia.

Focal Point: Gender-responsive NDCs


Alana Craigen

Alana leads the organization of the UNDP/UNFCCC series of Regional NDC Dialogues. She coordinates the participation of government ministries as well as implementing partners, private sector representatives and other experts involved in NDC implementation. In this capacity, Alana also contributes to the evaluation and reporting of said dialogues. Alana has supported global UN events in different areas, including forced migration, Palestinian rights, climate change, and long-term low GHG emissions and development strategies and has previously worked in both the public and private sector. Alana holds a BSc in Economics and a MSc in Sustainable Development from Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.

Michael Comstock

Michael provides technical support to countries on climate change mitigation, NDCs, and low-emission development.  He also coordinates the UNDP/UNFCCC series of Regional NDC Dialogues to build capacity and exchange national experiences on NDCs.  Prior to joining UNDP in 2014, he was the Senior Manager of International Climate Dialogue at the Center for Clean Air Policy.  In his five years at CCAP, Michael helped launch a technical support initiative on NAMAs, worked with UNFCCC negotiators to advance the climate negotiations, and led CCAP’s engagement with the Green Climate Fund and NAMA Facility.  Previously, he spent two years in El Salvador implementing sustainable development projects.  Michael holds a Master's degree in international development from Georgetown University.

Countries: Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay

Focal Point: IKI NDC Support Cluster working group on Political and Institutional Frameworks, NDC Dialogues


Katharina Davis

Katharina connects the dots within UNDP and beyond to advance policy research and advocacy strategies on NDCs. Her technical focus is on urban climte planning and policy coherence. She brings more than 12 years of experience in the international development and private sector, having worked at GEF, UNICEF, the Global Fund, as well as renowned companies in investment research, economic consulting and global communications.  Katharina completed her M.A. and post-graduate studies in Political Economy at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEI), Geneva, where she studied the social impact of economic shocks, innovation and capacity building. She also earned an MPA with a focus on Urban Planning from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and is currently studying City Resilience Design & Management at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona.

Focal point: Urban areas, NDC Policy Advocacy


Catherine Diam-Valla

Catherine is an expert on energy access with a particular focus on enterprise development, GHG emissions reduction from household appliances, monitoring and evaluation, and gender and social inclusion. She has been in the environmental and renewable energy sector for more than 12 years and holds a Master of Sciences degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University.

Countries: Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria


Fabiane Flesch

Fabiane is in charge of programme operations and leads on budgeting, forecasting, analysis, and presentation of financial performance in order to enable data-driven and strategic decisions. Working with UNDP since 2004, she brings a broad range of experiences including UN field and headquarter experience, as well as public sector expertise from the Brazilian Ministry of Education. As the resident operations expert, Fabiane provides solutions and guidance to the team on all operations issues. She guides country focal points on monitoring national project delivery and assists the country teams on their financial information and budgeting. Fabiane is originally from Brazil and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Public Relations from Centro Universitário de Brasília.


Gianluca Merlo

Gianluca is an engineer with deep experience in the fields of energy, oil & gas and water management. Since 2006, he has been consulting on emissions mitigation projects, greenhouse gas inventories, climate finance and climate change adaptation projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. He was the chief executive of the Latin American Carbon Program CAF. Based in UNDP’s Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama, Gianluca holds an M.A. Cum Laude in Environmental Engineering from the Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas and a specialization in Hydrogeology from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain.

Countries: Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru


Susanne Olbrisch

Working with UNDP since 2008, Susanne focuses on climate finance issues. She has been co-developing UNDP methodologies for climate finance and biodiversity finance, and has been leading the work on investment and financial flows assessments for mitigation and adaptation. Prior to this, she worked on adaptation with UNESCO in Bangkok, as well as with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).  She also worked with UNEP in Nairobi on environmental education and training and with GIZ in India on water and sanitation issues. She has a Master’s degree in economics, politics and geography from the University of Bonn, Germany.

NDC Countries: Morocco. Finance work: Chile, Haiti, Thailand, Vietnam, El Salvador, Nigeria and Uzbekistan

Focal point: NDC Cluster Finance (UNDP focal point)


Alexandra Soezer

Alexandra is an expert in climate change mitigation and carbon finance. She supports countries in a variety of areas to enhance NDC implementation, including private sector engagement, structured finance, MRV, NDC mitigation action design and implementation. Previously, Alexandra worked with MDG Carbon, UNDP’s corporate framework for carbon finance for nearly seven years, building on her experience that she gained at the Austrian JI/CDM Programme, managed by Kommunalkredit. Alexandra earned her PhD in Environmental Sciences at the Austrian Institute of Technology with a specialization on fluctuating micro-climatic stresses on plants.

Countries: The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lao PDR, Uganda, Vanuatu

Focal point: Nairobi Framework Partnership, Paris Climate Bond


Sangji Lee

Working with UN since 2014, Sangji brings a broad range of experience working in the field, regional office, and at HQ. She provides technical support to countries in NDC planning and implementation, focusing on mobilising climate finance, and guiding evidence-based NDC making and just transition through the provision of assessment tools. Before joining the NDC Support Programme team, Sangji worked with UNDP Mozambique, the UNDP Global Policy Centre in Seoul, the OHCHR Regional Office in Fiji, UN Department of Political Affairs in HQ, research institutes, and government. Sangji holds a Master’s degree in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and earned a certification from the Korean Ministry of Environment with her specialty in environmental economics and market-based climate mitigation instruments.

Countries: Indonesia, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Nepal,

Focal Point: The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, Just Transition (ILO-UNDP’s pilot initiative to measure social and employment impacts of NDC measures), and Carbon Pricing.


Twitter: Sangji_climate

Allison Towle

Allison focuses on programme oversite, knowledge management and exchange, and helps support the newly launched gender-responsive component of the NDC Support Programme. After joining UNDP in 2010, Allison started working on the National Communications Support Programme before moving on to the Low Emission Capacity Building and NDC Support Programmes. She holds a Master’s degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University. Prior to UNDP, Allison worked in international education and lived in Jerusalem, Kyoto, New Delhi and San Francisco. 

Countries: Lebanon

Focal point: IKI NDC Support Cluster  


James Vener

James is an environmental engineer with more than 10 years of experience in providing on the ground technical assistance on climate change issues. Working for UNDP and UN Environment, he focused on policymaking, mitigation actions, and monitoring and reporting systems. James has an environmental engineering background and professional PE certification, and previously worked extensively in construction management, clean-up of contaminated work sites, and M&A environmental due diligence. James holds a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Florida and an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.

Countries: DRC, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Zambia

Focal point: IKI NDC Cluster Sectoral Approaches Working Group



Stephen Gold

Stephen is the Global Team Leader on Climate Change for UNDP. He is also the Global Environmental Finance unit’s GEF Principal Technical Advisor for low-emission and climate-resilient development. In this capacity, he manages a global team that is supporting countries on a wide variety of climate change issues to prepare and implement NDCs, and access and implement climate finance. He has over 30 years of professional experience in the field of environment, energy and sustainable development working with UNDP, the U. N. Institute for Training and Research, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, state and local governments and the private sector. Stephen holds an M.A. in Public Policy with a focus on public participation, governance and development.

Focal point: NDC Partnership, LEDS Global partnership, Long-term Strategies Working Group


Louis Da Costa

Louis joined UNDP’s climate and disaster reduction unit as a junior communications consultant after graduating from the London School of Economics with an MSc in Environment and Development. In this capacity, he also supports social media (@UNDPClimate) and communications for the NDC Support Programme. He takes a particular interest in renewable energy and climate finance, evolving from his Maths and Economics undergraduate degree from the University of Leeds and his financial services background.

Focal point: Social Media and Communications for UNDP Climate


Priyanka Chaudhary

Priyanka keeps the programme running, providing programme, financial management and operational support. Prior to this assignment, she was supporting the roll out of UNDP’s Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Project and the Integrated Climate Risk Management Programme. She also worked at the UNDP Nepal Country Office, served as a UN Volunteer in the United Nation’s Mission in Liberia and worked in UNDP’s Sub Regional Resource Facility SURF. Prior to UNDP, Priyanka worked as a conference consultant for UNICEF, and had other assignments in the United Mission to Nepal.  Priyanka holds an MBA from Sikkim Manipal University.