CEO and Chairperson

Naoko Ishii has served as the CEO and Chairperson for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since August 2012. In October 2015, the GEF Council unanimously agreed to extend her tenure for a second term until August 2020.

Ms. Ishii has led the development and implementation of the GEF’s first-ever long-term strategy. It positioned the GEF to address the underlying drivers of environmental degradation and aims to catalyze systems transformation in energy, cities and food systems while protecting critical ecosystems. Throughout GEF operations, she has promoted integrated approaches for greater results and actively pursues opportunities for the GEF to create and participate in multi-stakeholder platforms. She successfully concluded two international replenishment negotiations, both of which mobilized more than 4 billion US dollars for the GEF.

Before joining the GEF, Ms. Ishii was the Deputy Vice Minister of Finance of Japan, and represented the Japanese Government during the design of the Green Climate Fund.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Ishii worked as a Country Director for the World Bank, and has held positions with the International Monetary Fund, and the Harvard Institute for International Development.

Ms. Ishii is a member of the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security, a Special Advisor to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, member of the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and of the Advisory Committee of Future Earth. She also serves on the Global Advisory Board of the University of Tokyo.

Ms. Ishii has published numerous papers and several books, two of which were awarded the Suntory Prize (1990) and Okita Memorial Prize for International Development Research (2004). She is the inaugural recipient of the 2006 Enjoji Jiro Memorial Prize.  She holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo.

TED Talks: An economic case for protecting the planet

In the News

The Stanley Foundation
Suomen Kuvalehti (Finnish)
Friends of the Earth and C40 Cities
UN Environment, "Our Planet" Magazine

CEO Speeches and Statements