A 2020 New Vision for the GEF presented at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Korea
Jeju, Republic of Korea, September 10, 2012 -
Dr. Naoko Ishii, the new CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, announced today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Korea her vision for a revitalized and ambitious GEF.
In short; "The time has come for transformational change", she said in her keynote speech, stressing the need the scaling up of both the financial resources as well as the catalytic impact of GEF's action.
Dr. Ishii outlined six strategic objectives for a more sustainable world: "We must strive for a world ten years from now in which:
- all citizens recognize the fundamental links between environment and development, and all governments embed natural resource constraints into their decision-making;
- the value of natural capital is fully incorporated in the way decisions are made and progress is measured;
- all key actors – from local communities to national governments, the private sector, civil society organizations and indigenous peoples – recognize the part they must play in finding and implementing solutions;
- international environmental treaties are strong, fair and implemented on schedule; and
- resources are adequately mobilized, and deployed towards programs that reflect the lessons learned from success and failure," she said.
The event convened almost a hundred environmental experts from the public, private, academic and NGO sectors, who used this opportunity to reflect on the GEF achievements and how lessons learned can inform the new strategic guidelines that Dr. Ishii envisages for the GEF to promote greater impact. This event occurred at a strategic moment, given that the next conference of parties to the UN Convention of Biological Diversity will take place in early October in India. The insights coming from the Jeju Conference will help to steer discussions in Hyderabad, contributing to strengthening the role of the GEF as the primary financial mechanism of the CBD.
The world renowned conservation scientist, Dr. Russel Mittermeier, Councilor of IUCN and President of Conservation International, delivered a keynote address on the emerging challenges and opportunities facing global biodiversity, and called the GEF to act on them. Dr. Gustavo Fonseca, the Head of Natural Resources of the GEF, reflected on the need to prioritize scarce financial resources to achieve maximum impact in the delivery of global biodiversity benefits. Several participants raised the paramount question of how to mobilize the financial resources that are necessary to turn the tide for biodiversity and arrest the upcoming extinction crisis.
Dr. Ishii responded by highlighting the need to create a multi-sectoral coalition that includes the private sector: "The GEF remains the largest and most wide-reaching public financial mechanism for biodiversity globally. But to achieve the ambitious Aichi Targets, we must reinforce our role as the partner of choice in dealing with the plight of the global commons, and in identifying the right incentives to engage the private sector."
She reminded the audience that the GEF was the first mechanism to finance and operationalize conservation trust funds as innovative and sustainable financial tools to promote and implement biodiversity conservation and sustainable use at the country level. These investment schemes have now been replicated in more than 30 countries. She also said that the GEF was the first to support the payment for ecosystem schemes in Latin America and that she would push to continue to work under the same innovative spirit, for example as started recently on the implementation of the ABS agreement with private sector under the Nagoya Protocol.
After two hours of engaged debate, Dr. Ishii closed the meeting with a short summary of her vision for transformational change: "The GEF is uniquely positioned to support the stewardship of the global environmental commons. Over the past twenty years, the GEF has accumulated an invaluable body of experience and knowledge, strengthened its culture of promoting innovation, enhanced and grew its network of agencies, and continued enjoying political legitimacy serving the key multilateral environmental conventions. This foundation provides the GEF with unparalleled influence and capacity to take the leadership role in finding and implementing bold solutions to global environmental challenges."
- Full text of the GEF CEO Vision Statement (English, French, Spanish)
- Video of the GEF CEO Vision Statement
Mr. Christian Hofer
Senior Communication Officer
Phone +1 202 458 0936
Press Release No:09102012
About the GEF
The GEF unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.
Since 1991, the GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $10.5 billion in grants and leveraging $51 billion in co-financing for over 2,700 projects in over 165 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 14,000 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $634 million. For more information, visit www.thegef.org.