Maryam Golnaraghi

Non-Resident Senior Fellow

Over the last 25 years, Dr. Maryam Golnaraghi’s career has spanned working as an executive, senior advisor, founder and entrepreneur in the industry, government, and the United Nations. She has led, drove and managed transformative multi-stakeholder climate risk initiatives in the private and public sectors, with global impact. In 2020, Maryam was included in a list of those ‘Most Influential on Climate Change’ produced by InsuranceERM.

Currently, she is the Director of Climate Change and Emerging Environmental Risks at The Geneva Association (GA), an international strategy think tank whose members are CEOs of the largest insurance companies. She is leading strategic industry-level initiatives to boost the insurance industry’s contributions as risk managers and investors transition towards a resilient net-zero economy; specifically, the next generation of forward-looking decision-useful climate risk assessment methodologies, linked to TCFD; climate litigation risk; technology commercialization for resilient net-zero business models and infrastructure system in essential sectors; applications of nature-based systems and innovative public-private solutions for building financial resilience to extreme weather events in mature economies.

From 2004 to 2014 Maryam was the Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction Program at the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, where she headed up and built an international program the supports governments with the development of national polices and institutional capacities in climate and disaster risk management.  During her tenure at the UN, she led national development projects in 40+ countries, working with the government and international development partners. Maryam led the UN initiatives in ‘Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems’ and co-chaired ‘The Global Early Warning Survey’ commissioned by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, she served as an adviser to former U.S. President Clinton in his capacity as the UN Special Envoy on Tsunamis Recovery and negotiated international agreements and coordinated activities that enabled the dissemination of tsunami alerts to all countries in less than five minutes.

Maryam was actively engaged in the climate change, disaster risk reduction framework negotiations and developed the initial concept of demand-driven national climate information services, which was later adopted as ‘the Global Framework for Climate Services’ during the third World Climate Conference, to enable access to publicly-funded, climate data and modelling for decision-making in the private sector.

In 1997, Maryam founded and served as the CEO of the first climate risk analytics and research firm, Climate Risk Solutions Inc., headquartered in Boston, MA, which delivered innovative climate-risk assessment and risk management solutions to companies in the energy, agriculture and financial sectors and the US government.

Maryam serves on a number of executive and advisory boards of multi-lateral organizations, governments, NGOs and companies. She mentors high-tech start-ups with a climate change and risk focus. She has authored numerous internationally referenced reports and a book “Partnerships in Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems” (Springer-Verlag 2012).

She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Applied Physics and a PhD in Physical Oceanography from Harvard University  and worked a senior research fellow at the Harvard Business School.  

Her latest articles can be accessed at: https://www.genevaassociation.org/research-topics/extremeevents-and-climate-risk