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GEF CEO Naoko Ishii Opens 44th GEF Council Meeting

GEF CEO Naoko Ishii Opens 44th Council

Agenda includes positive GEF performance review; updates on long-term strategy; plans to fund new mercury convention; work program

Photo courtesy of IISD Reporting Service/ENB
Photo by Franz Dejon


WASHINGTON, DC, June 18, 2013 – Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, opened the 44th meeting of the governing GEF Council today with reflections on her first year in office and a look ahead to new approaches for addressing deepening global environmental challenges.

 “At this one year anniversary, I want to reflect on my first year, what I have found out, and how I want to go forward,” Ms. Ishii told the Council in opening remarks. Summarizing her activities over the past year, including trips to two dozen countries, meetings with 21 heads of state, 49 ministers and 27 international environmental conferences, she added, “The knowledge, advice and feedback I have gained from these exchanges has greatly helped me think through what is the GEF’s value proposition, how we should position the GEF in ever evolving architecture, and in what way we can maximize the impacts of the GEF support.”

The agenda for the 44th Council includes approval of the upcoming GEF work program, discussion of the GEF’s new role as financial mechanism of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the welcoming of the new chair of the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), and discussion of planning for the four-year GEF-6 funding cycle that begins in July 2014.

Ms. Ishii welcomed the 183rd and newest member country to the GEF – South Sudan. And the Council opened the meeting by naming Council member Josceline Wheatley of the United Kingdom as co-chair, along with Ms. Ishii, of the Council.

Among the items outlined in her opening remarks, Ms. Ishii noted that thanks to timely actions taken by the governments of France, Germany, and Japan to release deferred contributions to the GEF, along with timely payment of installments by other donor nations, a funding shortfall of an estimated $590 million has been reduced to an estimated $184 million.

Ms. Ishii also reported to the Council on the accreditation process in which new agencies can become GEF Partner agencies with access to GEF funds for environmental projects. World Wildlife Fund-US and Conservation International have received approval from the independent review panel to become GEF Partners.

On the Minamata Convention, Ms. Ishii noted that international negotiators earlier this year named GEF to serve as financial mechanism providing funding for projects to address the threats of mercury pollution. She called the decision “one of our great achievements of the past year. It not only reflects strong international confidence in the GEF, it also underscores my believe in the vital importance of the conventions as the foundation of the GEF’s work.”


Council members attending the GEF 44th Council Meeting