As a Global Environment Facility Country Officer, Seo-Jeong Yoon helps government officials across Asia and the Pacific plan and advance GEF-supported projects to address environmental degradation and protection. In an interview, she reflected on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her work across 14 time zones and how growing up in rural South Korea shaped her views about land stewardship.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

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A recent GEF-funded project in the Philippines, implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Bureau, supports safe informal recycling in Camarin and Bagong Silang, two low-income districts in the Manila metropolitan area.

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“We can no longer accept the devastating wildfires, extreme weather, species loss, and disease outbreaks that are afflicting our planet.  We must take the necessary steps to secure a sustainable future with resilience and protecting nature at its heart.”

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility

Watch Carlos Manuel Rodriguez speak at the Leaders Event.

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Many artisanal miners use mercury to separate gold from the ore, exposing themselves, their communities, and the local ecosystems to the negative health and environmental impacts of mercury. A lack of access to education, land title, resources, finance, training and alternative clean and efficient mineral processing technologies hinders miners from switching to alternative, mercury-free gold processing methods.

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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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To build back greener from the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its partners are enhancing support for climate governance across a network of interconnected programs.

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