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GEF Council Welcomes Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, Renowned Marine Ecologist and Advisor to President Obama, as Chair of GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel


GEF Council Welcomes Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, Renowned Marine Ecologist and Advisor to President Obama, as Chair of GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel

Dr. Bierbaum succeeds Dr. Thomas Lovejoy as head of GEF STAP

 Panel to play key role in developing GEF long-term strategy

WASHINGTON, DC, June 19, 2013 – The governing Council of the Global Environment Facility today welcomed Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, a University of Michigan environmental scientist and advisor on science policy to President Obama, as the new chair of the GEF’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP).


Dr. Bierbaum will succeed Dr. Thomas Lovejoy at the conclusion of his five-year term as STAP chair on July 1st.


Under the leadership of GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii, the STAP is playing a critical role in helping the GEF – which funds environmental projects throughout the developing world – advance an agenda of innovation and transformation in addressing threats to the global environment.


 “If we are to succeed in ensuring a sustainable future for our planet we need innovation, fresh ideas, a transformative approach, and practical strategies,” Ms. Ishii said. “Under Tom Lovejoy, the GEF STAP has played a critical role in guiding us through innovative approaches, which we deeply appreciated. I am delighted to welcome Rosina Bierbaum as a worthy successor. Her distinguished career in the environmental sciences and her role advising governments on environmental policy will be major assets to the GEF.”

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

Administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), STAP is an independent seven-member advisory body to the GEF, providing expertise in the environmental focal areas that the GEF finances through grants totaling about US$1 billion per year across the developing world. These areas include climate change, biodiversity, land degradation and desertification, sustainable forests, chemical pollutants, international waters, and – increasingly – projects that cut across multiple environmental issues. STAP provides objective strategic, scientific, and technical advice on GEF long-term strategy, policies, and priorities for funding; reports regularly on technical and scientific aspects of the environment; and interacts with other scientific and technical organizations that advise other international organizations.


UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner praised Dr. Lovejoy for his significant contributions to the environment, for his skill in bringing policymakers and specialists together, and for his holistic approach to global environmental issues.


“Tom has been able to influence our thinking by breaching the disciplinary divides between biodiversity, land and water management, climate change and chemicals pollution,” Mr. Steiner said. He also recognized Dr. Bierbaum’s  well-deserved reputation as a “consensus builder and convener of multi-disciplinary teams – and a very effective communicator for bridging the gap between science and policy.”

Watch full video of Mr. Steiner's message


Dr. Bierbaum is a Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at the University of Michigan. She served as Dean of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment from 2001 to 2011. In April 2009 President Obama named Dr. Bierbaum to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and she has held many leadership posts throughout her career advising the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch on environmental science and policy.


In 2011, Dr. Bierbaum was named as one of the World Bank’s first Fellows, in the area of climate change adaptation. She was also chosen to co-lead the World Bank’s ground-breaking World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change.


Dr. Lovejoy remarked that “it has been an honor and privilege to have contributed to the GEF program over the past 5 years. I am very pleased to know that Rosina, whom I have known and worked with for many years, will continue to raise the bar on the critical role of science in the GEF Program.


Addressing the Council today, Dr. Bierbaum said “I look forward to working with STAP and the GEF to develop the kind of systemic solution needed to tackle the increasingly interconnected environmental challenges we face, and particularly how the GEF and the scientific community can work together to develop these approaches.”


Dr. Rosina Bierbaum’s University of Michigan biography:



Mr. John Diamond
Senior Communication Officer | Spokesperson
Phone +1 202 458 7953

Press Release No: 06192013



About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 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. 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, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $11.5 billion in grants and leveraging $57 billion in co-financing for over 3,215 projects in over 165 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 16,030 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $653.2 million. For more information, visit

About STAP

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel Comprises seven expert advisors, supported by a Secretariat, which are together responsible for connecting the Global Environment Facility to the most up to date, authoritative, and globally representative science. The Panel and Secretariat are hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme.

For more on STAP visit:


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Photo courtesy of IISD Reporting Service/ENB

Photo by Franz Dejon