Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar

External Consultant | spgajjar at iihs dot ac dot in

2012    PhD, Sustainable Development, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
2004    MSc, Project Management, University of Cape Town, South Africa
1996    BArch, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi



Countries: India and South Africa
States: Delhi, Karnataka, Western Cape (in South Africa)
Cities: Bengaluru, Cape Town, Delhi
Languages: English, Punjabi, Hindi

Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar has a PhD in Sustainable Development from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. She has a decade’s experience in research, policy analysis and teaching on climate change, public management and urban sustainability. She is a contributing author to Urban Areas (Chapter 8) in Climate Change: Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability, the IPCC Working Group II contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of 2014. At IIHS, she has co-authored book chapters and journal articles on topics such as climate justice, urban risks, and transformative responses to climate change impacts and vulnerability. At Stellenbosch University, Sumetee co-authored book chapters and reports on peak oil, energy access, corporate sustainability and climate change policy.


She has helped build and co-manage the IIHS team for ASSAR (Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions) consortium, part of the CARIAA Research Programme (Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia). She has reviewed knowledge outputs and represented ASSAR at national and international conferences, technical panel discussions and knowledge exchange workshops. In her academic capacity, she has engaged in peer reviews for international journals, conference panel submissions and a multi-disciplinary report on resource requirements for future urbanisation. She serves as an external examiner for the Old Doctoral Programme at CEPT, Ahmedabad.


Sumetee has co-developed and taught programmes for practitioners on climate change and disaster risk reduction and contributed to knowledge synthesis on urban sustainability, climate change, urban risks and ecological resilience. Her teaching portfolio at IIHS includes public talks on climate change, training for working professionals on urban resilience with the UPP (Urban Practitioners’ Programme); and project management for the UFP (Urban Fellows’ Programme). She also served on the IIHS research, conference and post-doctoral committees; and the institutional council.


Sumetee has presented guest lectures at ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in the Environment and Ecology, Bangalore) and the SI (Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch, South Africa), and delivered an elective on Sustainable Design at National Institute for Design (NID), Bangalore. A member of the local volunteer group for the conservation of Rachenahalli Lake, Sumetee has contributed photo-essays and blogs to The Wire, the India Water Portal, and The Nature of Cities, based on experience and knowledge of challenges faced in pursuing urban sustainability.

Research Projects at IIHS

 2013-16 Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR)
2011-2014 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Project
2013 UNDP- IIHS Joint Working Paper Project


Practice Projects at IIHS

2014 India Urban Policy Support Partnership
2013 CDKN Future Cities Project