Natalie Unterstell

Natalie Unterstell

MPA ’16
BBA '04, Fundacao Getulio Vargas
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Natalie Unterstell

Natalie Unterstell is a climate policy and finance expert and a Harvard Forward candidate. As Senior International Expert at the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund and founder of a groundbreaking, cross-sector data initiative to protect the Amazon rainforest and its Indigenous inhabitants, she’s working to build a zero-carbon economy and deforestation-free world.

“I’ve experienced firsthand the effects of climate change in my home, Brazil, where Harvard has owned extensive land holdings. I believe Harvard has a responsibility to lead on climate action and racial justice through research, education, responsible investments, and recognizing the impact of climate inaction on the most vulnerable communities throughout the world.”

Unterstell has worked in public and private sector roles across Latin America, Europe, and Africa. She served as Head of Sustainable Development for the Brazilian Presidency and Head of Climate Change and Forests at the Brazilian Environmental Ministry. As a climate negotiator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, she helped develop signature agreements on forests and on international obligations regarding Indigenous rights when fighting climate change.

She is the founder of multiple think tanks and policy advocacy groups focused on climate leadership, democracy, and good governance, and she serves as advisor and board member to various initiatives, including the world’s largest climate action fund.

Unterstell received an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government and co-founded its Climate Justice Caucus. She holds a BBA from the Fundação Getulio Vargas and is a Climate Adaptation Finance expert certified by the Frankfurt School of Finance.

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