GEF's Walter Lusigi senior environment specialist retires

January 6, 2009


He has been the focal point for Land Degradation activities over the last ten years

Wlater lusigi and Monique Barbut

Walter Lusigi, PhD and senior environment specialist, recently retired after a well-respected tenure at the Global Environment Facility. A native of Kenya, Walter has country work experience in every part of the world; prior to coming to Washington, DC Walter worked at UNESCO and for the Government of Kenya on land degradation and range management issues.


"We have learned a lot from him, but one of the best lesson he is leaving us is his positive attitude towards life, his cheerfulness and enthusiastic way of looking at things" said GEF CEO Monique Barbut during the celebratory lunch held on July 17 to celebrate his distinguished career at both the GEF and previously at the World Bank Group.


Walter has been the focal point for Land Degradation activities at the GEF over the last ten years. In this period, land degradation developed from being only a cross cutting issue to a full fledged focal area with a portfolio of over 1 billion US dollars.

Walter also contributed to the development of four GEF operational programs on Arid Lands, Integrated Natural Resources Management, Agricultural Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Management. He was also instrumental in linking the GEF with several international conservation organizations like the IUCN, Wild Foundation, Unesco MAB Program and many academic institutions with which he is professionally affiliated.

He participated in negotiations of the UNCCD for which the GEF is now a financial mechanism.

As recently profiled by colleague John Mulaa on the World Bank intranet site, Lusigi has over 100 publications to his name and he is a member of several international professional organizations: the International Rangeland Congress, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (which he served as vice-president for 7 years), and the Norwegian Academy of Sciences.

Walter will be retreating to professional advisory roles from his home town of Kakamega in Western Kenya, the home of Kenya's new National University on Science and Technology, Kakamega Forest which is the only remaining remnant of tropical rain forest in Eastern Africa and Kakamega is close to Lake Victoria the second largest fresh water lake in the world.

During his retirement Walter plans to travel with his wife to interesting spots in the world which he has not had a chance to visit and perfect his golf game.

Walter will be sincerely missed both professionally and personally.