When Sara Jane Ahmed was selected for a Climate Breakthrough Award in 2021, she shared a few hopes and goals for her climate action. They were all ambitious and large-scale, and, true to her background as a brilliant finance strategist, they all had specific timelines.
Few people have Sara’s ability to dive deeply into the technical while continuing to foster and strengthen a larger vision. This is crucial as she seeks to support economies that are most exposed to climate impacts in sustaining functionality in a more disruptive future.
Generate renewable energy pathways in climate-vulnerable economies by reducing new sources of financial fragility there and accelerating transformative support from international financial architecture.
“While vulnerable economies bear the majority of the brunt of economic damages from climate risks, they are poorly represented when global agendas are set,” she says.
In her relatively short career so far, she has been credited with a number of wins, a testament to her strategic and collaborative approach. Those wins include a recent government-sanctioned moratorium on new coal-fired power in her home country of the Philippines and the development of the Sustainable Insurance Facility at the V20.
Sara has deep expertise in financial and energy markets and uses this technical expertise to engage senior political and financial leaders around the world directly and thoughtfully. Her visible role as the Finance Advisor to the V20 Group of Finance Ministers from climate-vulnerable countries brings a lot of connections and opportunities.
Sara launched the Financial Futures Center to realize her vision of supporting the countries most vulnerable to climate change to achieve prosperity by increasing resilience and driving a clean energy economy. With funding from her Award, she developed a framework macro-economic model for the creation of Climate Prosperity Plans. The funding also supported her work with local partners in-country on Climate Prosperity Plans across 10 countries of the V20 as a starting point.
“Don’t be afraid to find your unique path,” she said when asked if she could give advice in a conversation with Knox College, from where she received a bachelor’s degree in economics and later an honorary degree. She certainly has found one.
Sara is from the Philippines and Bangladesh. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Financial Futures Center while serving as the Finance Advisor to the V20 Group of Finance Ministers from 55 climate vulnerable countries. She also developed the Sustainable Insurance Facility and the Accelerated Finance Mechanism for V20.
Sara’s previous roles include advisory positions at the Climate Change Commission in the Philippines, the United Nations Development Programme, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Resources Institute. She holds a master’s degree in finance from the Simon Graduate School of Business in the University of Rochester and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Knox College. She also sits on the advisory board of the Global Renewables Congress and Climate Smart Ventures.