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GEF Launches 2020 Strategy Effort to Focus on Long-Term Environmental Goals

CEO Naoko Ishii announces effort at biodiversity conference high-level negotiations; strategy will emphasize GEF's role as innovator, partner of choice


HYDERABAD, India, October 17, 2012 – The Global Environment Facility is launching an effort to develop a "GEF 2020 Strategy," setting long-term goals for the environment and positioning the financing institution as an innovator and partner of choice in supporting the achievement of global environmental targets, GEF CEO Naoko Ishii said today.

The announcement came in remarks at the opening high-level negotiating session of environment ministers from around the world gathering at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP11) this week in southern India.

"We need to be catalytic in building our respective strengths and prioritizing the precious resources at our disposal. That is why it is so important that we at the GEF make use of our strategic position in helping all of you in the quest to mobilize the necessary resources," Dr. Ishii said. "To fulfill our role in meeting these bold commitments, I am pleased to announce today that I am launching a process to formulate a new long-term strategy for the GEF – the GEF 2020 Strategy."


GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii addresses High Level Segment of the 11th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, meeting in Hyderabad, India. Dr. Ishii announced the launch of a GEF 2020 Strategy process that will set long-term goals for the environmental financing organization. From left to right, Rachel Kyte, Vice President, World Bank, Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forest, and Chair of COP11, India, Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator, UNDP, and Dr. Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson. Photo by GEF/Gustavo Fonseca.


In the context of the biodiversity negotiations, Dr. Ishii assured delegates to the Convention that the GEF Strategy would be in concert with the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets and align with the guidance the GEF receives from the CBD COP. The meeting in Hyderabad is particularly important, she said, in the context of the targets identified at the 10th CBD COP in 2010, which met in Nagoya, capital of the Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

The Aichi Targets lay out a 10-year plan to develop policies worldwide aimed at protecting endangered species and threatened ecosystems, expanding protected areas, and promoting a broader understanding of the economic value of biodiversity. The CBD at Nagoya also committed to generate funding to support the Targets.

Dr. Ishii was joined in the high-level meeting by Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development; Jayanthi Natarajan, India's Minister of Environment and Forests and Chair of the COP; and Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

"Over the 20 years of the CBD's lifetime, we have learned – through long and often hard experience – that good nature conservation is possible. It can also be affordable and cost-effective as well as beneficial to poor communities when it's done right," said the World Bank's Kyte. "To do it right – especially in an era of diminishing public expenditures for biodiversity conservation – we need innovation, communication, and effective partnerships between governments, communities, financial institutions, companies and conservation organizations."

Dr. Ishii began her tenure as the fourth CEO and Chairperson of the GEF on August 1st after being unanimously selected by the GEF Council last June. The announcement of the GEF 2020 Strategy process follows the release of her Vision Statement in which Dr. Ishii laid out her broad goals for the GEF in its role as the leading environmental financing institution in the international community.

"The Strategy will further emphasize GEF's role as a risk-taking innovator, a partner of choice of those sharing the same goals, and a champion of the benefits provided by a healthy environment at the local, regional, and global levels. We will promote the valuation of natural capital to be integrated in decision making at all levels as a unifying theme," Dr. Ishii said.

"For the first time, we have a set of ambitious targets for biodiversity that has been fully agreed to, and we have a decision by the parties to start mobilizing the needed resources at all levels," Dr. Ishii said. "This COP must bring these two key decisions closer together."

In biodiversity, as well as in the other environmental areas where the GEF provides support – including climate change, forest preservation and international waters – Dr. Ishii said the GEF's long-term strategy must focus on scaling up programs to achieve global impact.

"Incremental gains will not suffice if we are to reach the year 2020 able to count on natural capital as the foundation of sustainable development," Dr. Ishii said. "I firmly believe that the Aichi Targets provide us with the framework to help us achieve that."

Talks at the CBD COP, placing a heavy emphasis on financing biodiversity programs worldwide, conclude later this week. 

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

Press Release No:17102012



About the Global Environment Facility
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


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