Peniamina (Peni) Leavai has almost two decades of experience in regional and national capacity building, climate finance, adaptation, and disaster risk planning. Over the course of his career, Peni has worked in 14 Pacific island countries as a climate adaptation and project preparation specialist. He has worked with national and sub-national governments, regional organizations, and major international donors throughout the Pacific islands on climate change adaptive infrastructure. For the last five years, he has been working as the Senior Policy & Finance Advisor for Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu for the USAID Pacific Climate Ready program. Prior to that, he was in various positions with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) under UNDP-GEF, ADB, GIZ, USAID, and UNDP Multi-Country Office Samoa, DFAT Australia, and the Government of Samoa. During his early years as the climate change officer for the Government of Samoa, Peniamina coordinated and authored Samoa’s NAPA, and was the youngest negotiator for Samoa, AOSIS, and G77/China at the UNFCCC COP negotiations.
Peni received degrees in earth science and geography from the University of the South Pacific and holds an international master’s degree in environmental management and sustainable development from the UNEP-Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Tongji University. Peni has been appreciated and awarded by the Pacific Community, the NZ Engineers Without Borders, the Pacific Water and Waste Association for his advocacy and capacity building efforts on gender and climate change in the Pacific. He enjoys playing rugby, football, swimming, tennis, and golf. Peni is an avid musician with Pacific Island roots. He and his wife have three teenagers and two young children.