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International Women's Day - March 8, 2017 - Message by Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson

March 8, 2017

A Vietnamese woman sells coconuts on a street in Ho Chi Minh City.
A Vietnamese woman sells coconuts on a street in Ho Chi Minh City.

Message by Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility 

Today, the GEF joins the global community in celebrating International Women’s Day.  It is an opportune time to reflect on the important role women play in supporting a sustainable future for all.   

Gender equality and the health of the environment are closely connected. Often, women face unique and sometimes disproportionate burdens when our environment is degraded.  But women are not merely victims. To the contrary, women are agents for change with important perspectives, knowledge, and ideas in a variety of sectors like agriculture, forestry and land management. 

Whether protecting biodiversity and ecosystems or combating climate change, women are advocating for innovative solutions to environmental problems. Investing in these women and supporting their full and equal participation is critical to addressing the environmental challenges that our world faces today. 

To that end, we must ensure that women have an equal seat at the table in decision-making processes that shape environmental investments, policies and natural resources decisions. From local community committees, to national planning processes, to international and multilateral institutions.

At the GEF, we aim to be the champions of the global environmental commons.  Our success hinges on investment in women. The world cannot afford not to.

Please read more about our work on gender