The Global Environment Facility CEO, Naoko Ishii, was one of the main speakers at the annual ICCF gala in Washington DC last week. Each year, the U.S. Congressional International Conservation Gala offers an opportunity to recognize the outstanding work being done by government, non-governmental, and business leaders in furtherance of good conservation.
“What unites us here is our conviction that protecting nature is a good investment,” said Naoko Ishii, CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), in remarks at the event. “It is one of the most cost-effective investments we can make to fight poverty in the developing world. Protecting nature also ensures that we have a healthy planet for our societies to thrive, for generations to come.” Ishii continued: “We have partnered with ICCF to build conservation caucuses in parliaments across Africa and Latin America, which was built on the remarkable experience of the US Congress. The result of this work is stronger anti-poaching laws that protect park rangers who risk their lives on the front lines fighting against poaching day after day.”
Guests at this year’s gala, held on September 25th in Washington, DC, included the President of Botswana, who delivered the keynote address; members of the United States Congress; international policymakers from Botswana, Colombia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Peru, and Zambia; diplomats; global business leaders; and leaders from the international NGO community.
The next day, the GEF hosted parlimentarians from Botswana, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique who were visiting Washington DC as part of the Parliamentary Summit funded through the GEF’s expanding Global Wildlife Program. The parlimentarians had discussions with representatives from US government agencies, the World Bank, and various non-profit organizations to learn about ongoing efforts to fight wildlife trade and to develop new strategies for how they can better support good stewardship of natural resources. The parliamentary caucuses supported through this program have already passed much needed updated wildlife legislation in Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique.
The GEF will be sharing lessons learned and updates on its investmets in wildlife protection at the upcoming Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in the UK that will be held from October 11-12, 2018.
Read more about the 2018 Gala in the ICCF website story, which says the following:
At the 2018 Gala, ICCF presented three awards to individuals and organizations whose conviction to conserve nature is manifest through their exemplary work.
In a showing of true bipartisanship, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Honorary Co-Chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus, on behalf of ICCF, presented Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) with the 2018 ICCF Teddy Roosevelt® International Conservation Award, recognizing outstanding conservation leadership in government. A proven leader on ocean conservation in the U.S. Senate, Senator Whitehouse co-founded and has galvanized the growth of the U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus. He has spearheaded legislation such as the Save Our Seas (S.O.S.) Act and the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015. He led efforts in the Senate to ratify four fishing treaties, including the Port State Measures Agreement. In his role as Co-Chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus, Senator Whitehouse continues to recruit, educate, and inspire a new generation of U.S. Senators committed to oceans conservation.
Recognizing outstanding conservation leadership by an individual or organization, the 2018 ICCF “Good Steward” Award was presented to African Parks. African Parks, one of the foremost conservation organizations working on the ground in partnership with governments, is credited with pioneering the concept of public-private partnerships in protected area management. They are achieving great success by implementing an effective, sustainable, and scalable model in which they assume full responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks currently manages 15 national parks and protected areas in nine African countries, protecting 10.5 million hectares. Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN), a Co-Chair of the International Conservation Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, presented the award to Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks, accepting on behalf of the organization.
ICCF presented its 2018 Conservation Leadership in Business Award to Vulcan Inc., a Paul G. Allen company. Vulcan is working to integrate technology, data, policy, partnerships, and powerful storytelling to save endangered species and improve ocean health, among many other initiatives. In 2016 Vulcan completed the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first-ever continent-wide aerial survey of African savanna elephants. Vulcan also provides technological platforms to assist in detecting and identifying vessels fishing illegally; to help park rangers and managers address technical challenges monitoring wildlife; and to help understand, promote the health of, and map coral reefs and the animals that depend on them. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), a Co-Chair of the International Conservation Caucus in the Senate, presented the award to Dave Stewart, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Vulcan Inc.