Towards resilient low-carbon economies

Climate risks and policies

22 - 23 Mar 2021

Follow the conference on Twitter: #PEGNet2021 @PEGNetKiel

The Covid-19 pandemic creates an acute crisis. It also highlights the need for international development cooperation to anticipate better the coming systemic challenge of climate change. Like the current pandemic, climate change is a risk multiplier: It increases risks, fragility, inequalities and the vulnerability of economies, in particular in the developing world. Responding to the challenges of climate change requires a comprehensive approach to transition towards resilient low-carbon economies. Achieving this transition requires an understanding of the socio-economic and socio-political factors that enable and constrain a “just transition“. Decarbonization policies and instruments have to consider the social and economic consequences and the corresponding political economy. They will have to be implemented pro-actively with a focus on disadvantaged people and those negatively affected. At the same time, prospective climate change impacts need to be better understood and anticipated, in particular their interaction with other socio-economic systemic failures, including fragility, poverty and vulnerability.

The PEGNet Conference 2021 will provide a platform for leading development scholars, practitioners and policy-makers to reflect on relevant topics in the field of development economics.

PhD Workshop

In addition to high-level dialogue and exchange of ideas, the two conference days will feature a workshop for PhD researchers from developing countries. The objective of the workshop is to facilitate exchange between PhD candidates or junior researchers from developing countries and senior researchers in the absence of the more fluid, in-person conference format. Participants will be matched with senior researchers from the Kiel Institute (IfW), the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in small groups to discuss their research. Senior researchers will serve as discussants and provide feedback on the papers submitted. The workshop will be scheduled on both days before the keynote sessions. The submissions do not have to address the conference theme but can be on any topic in the field of development economics.

PhD Workshop - Call for Papers

2.45-3.00 pm | Opening

  • Rainer Thiele (PEGNet)

  • Lucia De Carlo (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development - BMZ) [TBC]

3.00-4.00 pm | Keynotes

  • Vikram Widge (Climate Policy Initiative) - Priorities for climate policy in rich and poor countries [TBD]

  • Ottmar Edenhofer (PIK) - Mitigation & carbon pricing in developing countries (working title)

Moderator: Jann Lay (GIGA)

The keynotes will be followed by a Q&A.

4.00-4.15 pm - Break

4.15-5.15 pm | Session 1: Mitigation policies in developing countries – Recent evidence and policy implications


  • Mitigation efforts and development: Effectiveness, trade-offs, and distributional impacts.
  • Regional and country specificities, for example scope for redistribution, use of biomass, heterogeneity of energy systems.
  • Governance and political economy of mitigation policies.

5.15-5.30 pm | Break

5.30-6.30 pm | Session 2: Putting just transition towards low-carbon development into practice


  • The role of innovation and technology (competitiveness of renewables).
  • Structural change, industrialization and green economy, in particular phasing out of coal, oil and gas.
  • Policies for a just and politically inclusive transition and the role of the private sector.

2.45-3.00 pm | Opening Day 2

  • Rainer Thiele (PEGNet)

  • Jürgen Keinhorst (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)) [TBC]

3.00-3.45 pm | Junior Keynote

Meera Mahadevan (University of California) - How can poor countries transition towards cleaner sources of energy?

3.45-4.00 pm | Break

4.00-5.00 pm | Evidence on climate change impacts – Parallel sessions

Session 3a: Migration, Climate & Conflict

Moderator: Claas Schneiderheinze (IfW Kiel)


  • Climate and environmental changes have both a direct impact on migration decisions and an indirect impact through their influence on conflicts.
  • Especially in less developed regions, they can cause and exacerbate conflicts and thus lead to hunger, terror and flight and potentially destabilize entire regions.
  • Negative consequences then also affect countries away from climate change hotspots (e.g. in Africa). There are very different estimates of the actual extent of these effects. The session is intended to provide some clarity here.

Session 3b: Climate Change and Health

Moderator: Milena Baumert (PEGNet)


  • The WHO estimates at least 250.000 additional deaths/yr between 2030 and 2050 directly attributable to altered health conditions due to climate change.
  • The change of global weather and in particular extreme weather events affect human health directly (e.g. clean air, safe drinking water, crop production and secure shelter).
  • Areas fragile to the effects of global weather conditions paired with weak health infrastructure and low economic power, mainly developing countries, will likely be the most effected and the least able to respond.

5.00-5.15 pm | Break

5.15-6.15 pm | Session 4: Policies for strengthening resilience and managing risk

  • Annett Grossmann (GWS)
  • Expert from partner institution/ GIZ project Risk Assessment and Management for Adaptation to Climate Change [TBC]

Moderator: Sebastian Homm (GIZ)


  • Approaches to understand climate risks economies in developing countries, with particular reference to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Policy priorities to respond appropriately to the impacts and risks, and to strengthen resilience and risk management of developing countries in the context of climate change.

6.15-6.30 pm | Wrap-up and close of conference


The conference is co-organised by the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), and the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and supported by the KfW Development Bank.

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