Washington, Sep 2 : Costa Rican conservationist Carlos Manuel Rodriguez took up his new role as CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), aiming to scale up action on forestry, food and land use, and biodiversity loss, and to support ambitious results from upcoming international climate and nature negotiations.
Rodriguez, an environmental lawyer and internationally recognized expert on financing for nature conservation, was selected for the post in June by the GEF Council, the multilateral trust fund’s governing body representing 184 countries.
“I am humbled and honored to embark on this journey, and am very optimistic about what the Global Environment Facility will be able to achieve working together with its partners to increase investment in environmental protection at a critical moment for the world economy and for society,” he said.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has driven home just how fragile life is when nature is under strain. We simply cannot have healthy people without a healthy planet.
“While the year ahead holds a lot of uncertainty, it also has enormous potential and I am eager to work with leaders in government, civil society, and the private sector through the GEF partnership to achieve the breakthrough we need after 2020.
“When the Covid-19 recovery occurs, we will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to scale up support for critically needed nature-based solutions to help our forests, lands, and oceans sequester carbon and protect habitats,” he added.
Prior to joining the GEF, Rodriguez served Costa Rica’s Environment and Energy Minister for three terms, and spent 12 years as Vice President for Global Policy at Conservation International where he supported environmental action in 30 tropical countries in Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Rodriguez has participated in all the major multilateral environmental negotiations since the 1992 Earth Summit, including those on climate change, biodiversity, and desertification, as well as negotiations for the creation and implementation of the GEF and the Green Climate Fund.
He takes over from Naoko Ishii of Japan, who served two terms as GEF CEO and Chairperson and is now Director of the Center for Global Commons at the University of Tokyo.
The GEF was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems.
Since then, the GEF has provided close to $20.5 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $112 billion in co-financing for more than 4,800 projects in 170 countries.
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