Helen O'Connor

Principal researcher (climate finance), Climate Change

Helen O'Connor's picture
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3463 7399
Languages: English, French (intermediate)

Helen has more than 20 years' experience in climate-focused policy and programme development, implementation and monitoring working for UK government in partnership with organisations across the world.

She has worked extensively on issues of climate impacts, adaptation and resilience, financing adaptation, governance and political economy of climate policy, livelihoods, humanitarian response, and gender and inclusion.


Adaptation and resilience, humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction, climate finance and national climate funds, donor and government policy and programme design, South Asia climate and governance, nature finance and nature-based solutions.

Before IIED

Over 20 years' experience with UK government, most recently:

  • Head of reducing demand on nature team, international biodiversity and climate, UK Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (focus on reducing forest loss and degradation and links to biodiversity loss and climate change)
  • Senior climate change adviser, Africa Regional Department, DFID/FCDO (focus on adaptation programming, capacity building, climate finance and COP26)
  • Senior climate change adviser and team leader, conflict, humanitarian and resilience team, DFID Pakistan (focus on disaster resilience, climate finance, gender and inclusion, shock responsive basic services)
  • Senior climate change adviser, DFID Bangladesh (focus on adaptation, gender and inclusion, climate finance)


  • Masters, environment and development, University of Cambridge
  • BSc, biological sciences (Hons), University of Durham

Current work

Helen's work focuses on the Money Where it Matters line of research – enabling money to flow to communities who are most vulnerable to climate change and embedding the principles of locally led adaptation in climate finance

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