Lili Ilieva

Specialist areas

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation
  • Ecosystem conservation
  • Agriculture and food security
  • Gender analysis
  • Flood risk reduction


  • Ph.D. in Science and Management of Climate Change
  • M.Sc. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management
  • B.Sc. in Natural Resource Management

Lili Ilieva

In a nutshell, tell us about yourself.

I grew up in the Eastern Balkans, in Bulgaria, where the environmental movement had to promote nature conservation during an unstable transition. Its commitment and passion have been an inspiration for me and motivated me to get involved in the field. In the last 15 years, I’ve lived in different contexts and hemispheres observing how the human – nature relationship is experienced and understood.

I studied environmental sciences through an interdisciplinary lens, learning how social sciences and economics model development paths and global changes. I specialised in climate adaptation intrigued by the challenge that transformational changes have to improve the resilience of both the ecosystem and human societies. At the epicentre of my work, lies the understanding of socio-ecological systems, their vulnerability and capacity to adapt. Previously, I worked as a researcher and practitioner, both in the development and nature conservation sectors on topics such as climate change, agriculture, water resource management and flood risk reduction.

What drives you to do this kind of work?

Knowing that while nature can go on and evolve on its own, humankind must tread carefully to thrive and prosper – this gives me a direction and sense to engage.

When are you happiest?

On many occasions that combine experiencing nature accompanied by my family and friends, and not to forget when I have chocolate.

What is the hardest thing you’ve done in the last year?

I climbed to 5200 m to see one of the springs forming the Amazon river. It was literally breath-taking.

More from Dr Lili Ilieva

Have you read Lili’s article on ‘Boosting climate finance for adaptation actions under the NDCs in Latin America and the Caribbean?’