“I’m thrilled to be back.” That was the sentiment that Roger-Mark De Souza relayed to me, in his famous lilting baritone, about becoming the new vice president of research and director of the climate program at Population Action International
(PAI). De Souza has long been a leading voice on integrated development programs that feature population, health, and environmental (PHE) dimensions
. But three years as the Sierra Club’s director of foundations and corporate relations took him away from day-to-day work on these issues.
In his new posts, Roger-Mark will lead PAI’s research team in establishing a strong evidence base and engaging new allies in the effort to support healthier women and families, according to PAI. “Roger-Mark’s diverse research experience makes him an ideal fit for PAI as we undertake critical projects on reproductive health, population and environment issues,” said PAI President and CEO Suzanne Ehlers in a press release
PAI is a research-based advocacy NGO long known for innovative work connecting demographic considerations with other key development realms: mainly environment, security, and poverty. PAI’s policy-friendly briefs on population’s links with water, forests, and biodiversity provide practical meta-analysis of these complex and evolving connections. The organization’s more recent work on demographic security has been instrumental in advancing research and policy in that largely neglected arena.
De Souza captured his insights last year for our Focus series, in his brief, “The Integration Imperative – How to Improve Development Programs by Linking Population, Health, and Environment” (see also his follow-up interview on NSB). He combines lessons learned from community-based development efforts in Southeast Asia and East Africa with a savvy sense of the policy debates among donors and recipient countries alike.
This move reunites De Souza with Kathleen Mogelgaard, with whom he made key contributions to the PHE field as colleagues at Population Reference Bureau earlier this decade, and who is now Senior Advisor for Population, Gender, and Climate at PAI.
De Souza returns to his former focus on PHE issues at a time when the field is collectively searching for the best ways to respond to the challenges of climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as ongoing hurdles such as scaling up, sustainability, and labeling.