Gabriele Köhler

Gabriele Köhler

Honorary Associate

As an Associate of IDS, Gabriele is affiliated with the Institute’s research, notably the of the Centre for Social Protection, and a keen advocate of the IDS’s seminal work in food security, social policy, and development visions more generally. From 2010-2012, Gabriele was a Visiting Fellow at IDS, and undertook research on the objectives and instruments of social policy in South Asia as expressions of a possible distinct welfare state approach in the region. This resulted in a volume on Development and Welfare Policy in South Asia, 2014, Routledge: London and New York, co-edited with Dr Deepta Chopra.

She is currently a Senior Research Associate of the UN Research Institute on Social Development, working on the role of the rights-based developmental welfare state in the post-2015 development process and the SDGs. She has recently been advising UNICEF in Nepal and Myanmar on social protection reforms, and worked with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on Asian welfare states.

Gabriele’s background is in international development, with a UN career spanning almost three decades. At UNCTAD, she led work on policy coherence, coordination, communications and outreach and undertook policy-related research on international trade, commodities, and investment. As the UNICEF South Asia regional advisor on social policy she advised on policy innovation opportunities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

As the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident-Representative in Latvia, she directed programmes on social inclusion; good governance, public policy and judicial reform; environmental management; and youth and health. At UN ESCAP, Gabriele worked on development planning, economic and social policy, and the LDCs. She read macro-economics and development studies at the Universities of Regensburg, Tübingen, Munich, Wuppertal, and Ottawa.

Gabriele serves on several advisory boards, including Munich City Council’s committee on municipal development cooperation, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), and the German United Nations Association (DGVN). She is an elected member of the UNICEF National Committee Germany.



Centre for Social Protection

Supporting a global network of partners working to mainstream social protection in development policy and encouraging social protection systems and instruments that are comprehensive, long-term, sustainable and pro-poor.



Development and Welfare Policy in South Asia

This book sheds light on social policies in six South Asian countries introduced between 2003 and 2013, examining the ways in which these policies have come about, and what this reflects about the nature of the state in each of these countries.

18 February 2014


Trade and Development – A Forgotten Issue?

The UN system has invited international organisations, governments and local government bodies, academic institutions and think tanks, civil society organisations, the private sector, trade unions, foundations, religious groups, individuals to offer their ideas and views on the next development...

3 December 2012

Journal Article

Social Protection for Social Justice


The articles in this IDS Bulletin are drawn from a conference hosted by the Centre for Social Protection at IDS in April 2011.

3 October 2011

Gabriele Köhler’s recent work


Rural Futures

Through our research, policy engagement, teaching and training, we support the emergence of development pathways that deliver both greater social justice and sustainability for rural people and places, while recognising their important interconnections with urban areas and the links between...