In her role as Capacity Development Director Åsa leads the development of SEI’s global capacity building work among external partners and stakeholders. Responsibilities include developing the SEI capacity development strategy, developing an on-line institutional repository of SEI’s capacity development infrastructure; representing the Institute’s capacity building function in dialogues with external partners, stakeholders, funders and clients; supporting in fund-raising activities; and coordinating the development of tools, methods, strategies, approaches and processes to enhance SEI’s capacity building impact. She is a member of the SEI Executive team as well as the SEI Research Directorate.
Other ongoing work include a co-leader role of the SEI Initiative on Climate Services and contributing to research projects such as HazardSupport and UNLOCK: Understanding Local Government Action towards Sustainable Consumption. Since 2016 Åsa is a member of WWF Sweden’s Council of Trustees. As from 2017 she sits on the Steering Committee of the International Network of Climate Change Centers of Excellence and Think Tanks for Capacity Building (INCCCETT 4CB) and serves on the Board of the Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development (SWEDESD) at Uppsala University.
In previous years Åsa has served as theme leader of the global SEI research theme Transforming Governance (2010-2015). She spent over six years as affiliated researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (2008-2014), which included a co-leader role of the Stewardship theme; and of two previous research themes, on Adaptive Governance of Social-Ecological Systems; and Knowledge Management, Learning and Social Networks. She has led SEI’s work on a number of larger projects and programmes such as the Mistra-SWECIA programme on Climate, Impacts and Adaptation (2008-2015) and the European Commission funded projects Urban Lifestyles, Sustainability and Integrated Environmental Assessment (ULYSSES) (1996-1999) and Methods and Tools for Integrated Sustainability Assessment (MATISSE) (2005-2008). Swartling was contributing author of the Global Environment Outlook 5 report, Working Group 4 (2011-2012); has served on the Advisory Committee of the Brock University Environmental Sustainability Research Unit (ESRC), Ontario, Canada (2011 – 2016) and has acted as SEI representative on the Swedish government-led Programme Council of the Swedish National Forest Programme (2014-2015).
Åsa holds a PhD in Sociology from University of York, UK. Her doctoral thesis (2002, PhD awarded after parental leave July 2003) explored the role of local expertise and potentials for involvement of citizens in technical matters of sustainable development policy in Sweden and the UK.