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Wendy Conway-Lamb

Wendy Conway-Lamb

PhD Candidate


Wendy Conway-Lamb is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra, researching inclusive and deliberative approaches to the multi-level governance of climate change adaptation in developing countries, with a focus on Vietnam. She is interested in how those most directly affected by the impacts of climate change could be better included in decision-making about adaptation. Wendy has fifteen years of experience in international development with a focus on climate change and environmental sustainability, having worked with governments, NGOs, think tanks and international organisations operating in South East Asia and the Pacific. This includes over four years living and working in Vietnam, both for a Vietnamese civil society organisation supporting resilient rural livelihoods, and more recently managing the climate change portfolio and the women’s economic empowerment portfolio of Australia’s aid program in Vietnam. Wendy holds a Masters in Globalisation and Development from the University of Manchester, and a degree in Modern Languages from the University of Cambridge. She speaks fluent Italian and French and basic Vietnamese.


Wendy's PhD dissertation is provisionally entitled ‘A deliberative systems approach to climate change adaptation governance: competing discourses of adaptation and development in Vietnam'. It responds to a concern that people most affected by climate change at local levels are often far removed from national and international decision-making processes about how adaptation activities will be funded and implemented. It aims to get beyond ideas of participation common among academics and practitioners of international development, by applying the concept of the deliberative system to describe and analyse how adaptation is governed in practice by multiple formal and informal actors. Wendy reveals a complex discursive landscape in which some understandings of adaptation take precedence over others, creating the risk of exclusion but also an opportunity for deliberative inclusion.

Conference Presentations

  • ‘If adaptation is the solution, what’s the problem? Framing climate change and development in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta’, Deliberative Democracy Summer School, February 2020, University of Canberra

  • ‘Getting beyond the vertical hierarchy paradigm: a deliberative systems approach to adaptation governance’, IPSA World Congress of Political Science, July 2018, Brisbane

  • ‘Inclusive multi-level adaptation governance: a deliberative systems approach’, Adaptation Futures, June 2018, Cape Town

  • ‘Democratizing Climate Adaptation Governance: Applying a deliberative systems approach to multi-level decision-making about adaptation in Vietnam’, The Emerging Complexity of Climate Adaptation Governance in a Globalising World, May 2017, Stockholm

PhD supervisors

  • John Dryzek (Primary Supervisor)

  • Jonathan Pickering (Secondary Supervisor)

  • Lisa Schipper (Advisor)

Scholarships and Prizes

PhD Scholarship, Deliberative Worlds: Democracy, Justice, and a Changing Earth System, Australian Research Council

News & Press

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