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Patrick Verkooijen

Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, Non-Resident Professor of Practice of Sustainable Development Diplomacy at CIERP, is Special Representative for Climate Change at the World Bank. Dr. Verkooijen is also a Visiting Professor in Global Forest Diplomacy at the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. 

Prior to his appointment as Special Representative for Climate Change, Verkooijen was Head of Agriculture and Climate Change at the World Bank. Prior to that he worked as the Senior Partnership Specialist at the World Bank. Within the Sustainable Development Network (SDN) at the World Bank he focused his activities, amongst others, on the development of the international architecture on forest finance within the climate change context, most notably the development of the Forest Investment Program, which is entrusted with approximately US$600 million in donor commitments. 

At The Fletcher School, Prof. Verkooijen co-lectures, together with Professor Moomaw and Professor Hoogeveen a new course on Sustainable Development Diplomacy (SDD). 

Before Dr. Verkooijen’s appointment in Washington, D.C. he acted as key negotiator for the Department of International Affairs at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation in the Netherlands. As such, he has extensive experience in multilateral environmental negotiations and in negotiations within the European Union with a particular emphasis on sustainable development issues.

Prof. Verkooijen acted as senior advisor to the President of the United Nations Forum on Forests, which concluded an international instrument on forests after fifteen years of stalled negotiations within the UN. Prior to his involvement in natural resource policy, he acted briefly as advisor to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Sudan and was stationed in Khartoum.

In his capacity as Adjunct Professor at Fletcher, he is also a Lead Author of the Global Forest Expert Group (GFEP) on the International Forest Regime, as established within the United Nations framework of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. The scientific assessment -bringing together over 50 leading political scientists worldwide - aims to contribute to the international forest deliberations by bridging the science-policy divide.

His professorship at Fletcher focuses on sustainable development diplomacy, with a particular emphasis on the development of a newinternational architecture on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) as currently being negotiated within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Dr. Verkooijen is currently co-authoring, together with professors Moomaw, Najam and Hoogeveen, a book on sustainable development diplomacy building upon his extensive experience in international forest policy and his previous publications in this field. Most recently Dr. Verkooijen has also been appointed as a member of the Pardee Center Task Force designing a vision for ‘Governance for a Green Economy’ as part of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Dr. Verkooijen received his doctorate degree from Wageningen University, in close collaboration with The Fletcher School. His thesis, titled ‘Transforming Sustainable Development Diplomacy: Lessons Learned from Global Forest Governance’, is widely perceived as an important contribution to the emerging field of sustainable development diplomacy. He received his Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University in 2004. Prof. Verkooijen also holds a Master’s degree in social and political philosophy from the University ofAmsterdam and an engineering degree in environmental science from the University of Utrecht. 

Non-Resident Professor of Practice of Sustainable Development Diplomacy


Contact Information

The Fletcher School
160 Packard Avenue
Medford, MA 02155


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Verkooijen calls to step up climate action during Climate Vulnerability Forum