Ian initiated and directed an international action-research project involving 20 NGOs in five continents to independently assess the the World Bank’s lending in the energy sector. The conclusions were published in 2000 as Fuel for Change by Zed Books and were a key contribution to a shift in the Bank’s energy policies away from a neoliberal ideological focus on privatisation and towards an acceptance that good governance of the energy sector, rather than ownership, is the determining factor for a shift towards a sustainable energy future.
Ian directed the Netherlands Climate Assistance Programme on behalf of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2003 and 2009. NCAP provided technical and financial assistance to fourteen governments in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Under NCAP, developing country governments were assisted to formulate, implement and monitor climate change policy. NCAP was instrumental in facilitating a shift away from top down economic sector studies towards a greater understanding of factors that can either increase or reduce social vulnerability from the bottom up. This lay the groundwork for developing country governments to better orient themselves towards prioritising climate finance, which began to flow under agreements that were made in the international climate negotiations as NCAP ended. NCAP partners suggested the concept of an ‘adaptation continuum’ and findings from the programme were documented in a book: The Adaptation Continuum: Groundwork for the Future.
Ian initiated and is helping to coordinate the development of AdaptationWatch, which is an international NGO partnership aiming to catalyze wide scale participation in adaptation planning and action through collaborative research, advocacy and capacity building.
Ian initiated research on adaptation indicators and lead a project to design a framework to measure the effectiveness of adaptation finance under the UK’s International Climate Fund. The framework was adopted by the UK government as part of the monitoring system for the ICF (which allocated 1.4 billion pounds for climate adaptation) and Ian designed and proposed a follow up research project to pilot test the framework in five countries. This project was approved for funding by the UK’s Department for International Development and has subsequently been adopted by the International Institute for Environment and Development.
Ian graduated with First Class Honours in Science, Technology and Society from Middlesex University in London, has been a course leader for the UK Open University’s Environmental Policy in an International Context (EPIC) programme, and is a part time lecturer for the University of Amsterdam’s course in International Development Studies.
In 2012 Ian set up an independent consultancy bureau based in Amsterdam called Adaptify.
- Brooks, Anderson, Ayers, Burton and Tellam, Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development, 2011.
- Devisscher, O’Brien, O’Keefe and Tellam, The Adaptation Continuum: Groundwork for the Future, NCAP, 2009.
- Tellam, I., Fuel for Change, World Bank Energy Policy: Rhetoric and Reality, Zed Books, 2000.