FSD Africa

Prof Richard Calland

Director of CISL South Africa

Richard Calland has thirty years of experience in law, politics, and sustainability. As a member of the London Bar, he practiced law for seven years before coming to South Africa in 1994, where he was based at the University of Cape Town as Associate Professor in Public Law. In June 2023, Richard started his new role as the Director of CISL South Africa.

In the field of sustainability strategy, Richard is a Fellow of the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership and as such has served as a member of faculty on numerous CISL leadership programmes for organisations such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, PWC, Network Rail, Namdeb, Tata, Anglo American PLC, and Nedbank.

He was the co-chair, with Amar Bhattacharya of the Brookings Institute, of a technical task team of experts appointed by the UN Secretary-General to prepare a report on the state of international climate finance ahead of his climate summit in September 2019 and was re-appointed to provide an updated post-COVID report in late 2020 and in 2022 was a member of the High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance, which reported to COP27 in Egypt.

One of his passions is the intersection of education and sustainability, to which end he is the co-founder of the Sustainability Education (sused.org) initiative, which is working with schools and other partners around the world to create opportunities for critical reflection by school leaders on questions of what, where and how they teach. A programme director at Idasa from 1995-2011, Prof Calland has founded several organisations including of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC), the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) and the Open Democracy Advice Centre.

In the realm of political economy and political risk, he is a Founding Partner of The Paternoster Group: African Political Insight, whose past and present clients include Citadel, RCL Foods, Nando’s, VWSA, CitiBank, Merril Lynch Bank of America, Discovery Health, MTN, Anglo American PLC as well as the French Development Agency and the Embassies/High Commissions of Norway, Australia, and New Zealand in South Africa.

In February 2019, Prof Calland was appointed by the South African Minister for International Relations to chair an eight-person Ministerial Task Team to make recommendations on the design and establishment of a new diplomatic academy, a process that was completed on schedule in August 2019. In 2020, he was asked by the Minister of Trade & Industry in South Africa to be part of an informal advisory team to help him develop a coherent vision for the post-COVID economy.

A prominent political analyst, and a columnist for the Mail & Guardian newspaper in South Africa since 2001, his latest book – The Presidents: From Mandela to Ramaphosa, Leadership in The Age of Crisis – was published in late 2022. Earlier books include Anatomy of South Africa: Who holds the power? (2006), The Zuma Years (2012) and Make or Break: How the next three years will shape South Africa’s next three decades (2016).