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GEF Council Member and Operational Focal Point Gillian Guthrie is a chemist by training who has worked for decades to support the protection and conservation of Jamaica’s natural resources. In an interview, she reflected on the lessons of COVID-19 for international environmental action.

What do you do for a living?

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Albania’s Deputy Minister of Tourism and Environment Ornela Çuçi serves as her government’s official liaison to the Global Environment Facility and also represents a constituency of 12 countries at the GEF Council. In an interview, she reflected on the ways Albania is raising awareness about environmental protection as a vital part of economic growth, and shared life lessons from her career in public service.

What do you do for a living?

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  • Improved management for 3.8 million hectares of terrestrial Protected Areas.
  • Climate-resilient management for 35,000 hectares of community lands.
  • At least 38,000 people to benefit directly, and approximately 250,000 indirectly.
  • Enhanced protection for 17 endangered wildlife species. 
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Ian Gray is a sustainable forestry expert who has worked in more than 40 countries at the intersection of environmental management and agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, and politics, including five years at the Global Environment Facility.

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Richard Bontjer is Director of the Environment, Oceans and Biodiversity team with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and also represents Australia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea on the Global Environment Facility’s governing body, the GEF Council. In an interview, he reflected on how Australia being an ocean nation and host of many of the world’s biodiversity hotspots has shaped its international environmental and development priorities.

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The Global Environment Facility has published its project data on the platform of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), reflecting the multilateral trust fund’s commitment to making its grant and blended finance support easier to track and understand through timely information disclosure.

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Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, GEF CEO and Chairperson:

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a tipping point in the fight against climate change. Decisions taken by leaders today to revive economies will have crucial implications for targets enshrined in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

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Geeta Batra is the Chief Evaluator and Deputy Director of the GEF Independent Evaluation Office, which assesses the progress and impact of Global Environment Facility interventions. In an interview, she shared life lessons from her work evaluating innovative environmental initiatives and reflected on the importance of mentorship and keeping an open mind to new information and perspectives.

What is the IEO and how does its work to support international environmental action?

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Aileen Lee is the Chief Program Officer leading the Environmental Conservation Program at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a private philanthropic funder which has invested more than $2 billion in the conservation of globally important intact natural ecosystems, in addition to support for scientific research, patient care improvements, and other areas.

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