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GEF Council Member and Operational Focal Point Gillian Guthrie is a chemist by training who has worked for decades to support the protection and conservation of Jamaica’s natural resources. In an interview, she reflected on the lessons of COVID-19 for international environmental action.

What do you do for a living?

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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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Nancy Khoury is an assistant to Lebanon’s operational and political focal points to the Global Environment Facility, coordinating the work of a regional constituency also including Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen. In an interview, she reflected on her country’s efforts to ease pressure points on the environment and shared her hopes for her country and the planet.

What are the main environmental issues of concern to Lebanon?

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Stéphanie Bouziges-Eschmann is Secretary General of the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) and serves as France’s Alternate Council Member at the Global Environment Facility. In an interview, she reflected on the connections between biodiversity protection and climate change action and shared insights from France’s decades of experience supporting integrated solutions that prioritize both environmental protection and economic development in partnership with the GEF.

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For its first 30 years, the Global Environment Facility has worked on all environmental fronts to support a productive, resilient planet that benefits human health and well-being. Over the decade to come, these efforts will also include a high-ambition drive to underwrite a clean, resilient, green, and blue recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Making that recovery stick and endure is among the ambitious goals of the multilateral trust fund’s next four-year investment cycle, known as GEF-8, which runs from 2022 to 2026, and will also shape the next one, GEF-9, leading to 2030.

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Karin Kemper is the Global Director of Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy at the World Bank, and a member of the Global Environment Facility’s COVID-19 Task Force. In an interview, she reflected on the ways GEF financing has opened the door to innovative solutions to both environmental and development challenges and shared her advice to young people contemplating a career in the development and environment field (“go for it”).

What do you do for a living?

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Laksmi Dhewanthi is Indonesia’s Operational Focal Point to the Global Environment Facility and a Senior Advisor to the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry. In an interview, she reflects on the role nature-based solutions can play in an inclusive green recovery, and the need to take care of forest and indigenous communities, women, and young people in a difficult time.

What are the most important environmental issues facing Indonesia?

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Dr. Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu is Malaysia’s Operational Focal Point to the GEF and Deputy Secretary-General in the Ministry of Environment and Water. In an interview, he reflected on why both international cooperation and individual action are needed to confront plastic waste and protect endangered species, from pollinators to apex predators.

What are the most pressing environmental concerns in Malaysia?

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The past year has been marked by bleak news for the global environment, intensifying public interest in climate change, ocean health, plastic waste, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. Important and alarming scientific research has underlined the scale of the future threat.

At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed jobs, health, and short-term economic remedies to the top of government agendas, often ahead of environmental commitments.

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Sara El Choufi studied as a biologist in Lebanon before deciding to dedicate herself full-time to bridging the gap between scientific research and environmental policy. In an interview, the analyst at the GEF Independent Evaluation Office reflected on the importance of impartial reviews of environmental projects’ performance and shared her optimism borne out of observation.

What is the IEO and what does it do?

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