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Asif Husain-Naviatti

Visiting Fellow in International Climate Governance, Columbia University

Mr Husain-Naviatti is a Visiting Fellow at Columbia University in the City of New York and Writer on international climate governance. He has over 25 years of international experience at the UN and World Bank on sustainable development in multiple field and development contexts. He was educated at Oxford (Musicology) and Columbia Universities (Economic Policy Management)

He is an expert on multilateral governance in highly politicised development contexts, with particular interest in reconciling conflicting development and political objectives. He has high-level strategic and diplomatic experience in the UN as an intergovernmental convener, negotiator and relationship builder, and as a multilateral and interagency coordinator between UN member states, civil society, private sector and other institutions, on a broad range of sustainable development issues, led by governments.

His previous career highlights include appointment as Secretary of the Advisory Commission on UNRWA (a Commission of the UN General Assembly), and Head of Secretariat for eight years. This was a senior management role at the heart of the Middle East conflict situation. He was noted for guiding divergently opposing viewpoints towards consensus on strategic, policy, operational and financial issues in a politicised and volatile context. He was previously appointed Senior Adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on AIDS in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations. This was the Secretary-General’s legacy issue, at a noted time of sea change in the international fight against AIDS, much being attributed to the Secretary-General’s leadership and Call to Action under Mr Husain-Naviatti’s management and coordination.

His experience on climate change includes sustainable forestry in Latin America, coastal zone damage mitigation in the Pacific (an economic perspective linking with social challenges), water resources management in the Middle East (riparian agreements with peace and stability connotations) and a range of interagency climate change, environmental management and disaster response issues in the Philippines. He is also an International LEAD Fellow on Sustainable Development, which incorporated leadership training on climate governance and green energy.

He currently holds select directorships including Barboteca Corporation on sustainable forestry in Central America, and is Chair of Directors of the Mylnhurst Group including the highest-achieving independent Preparatory School in the region, according to the Sunday Times ranking. He has recently published academic and policy commentaries on international climate governance through the Alternative Policy Solutions project under the auspices of the American University of Cairo among others and is a columnist contributor on climate to the Yorkshire Post.

Mr Husain-Naviatti is married with two children. He is an avid pianist in his spare time, and lucky enough in his youth to have performed in concerts, on television in the UK and a tour of Japan in 1983. He was awarded an arts grant by Grotrian-Steinweg in the form of a full-size concert grand piano at the age of 16.


  • –present
    Visiting Fellow in International Climate Governance, Columbia University


  • 1998 
    Columbia University, International Affairs (Economic Policy Management)