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Global Environment Facility Appoints New CEO

Press Release No:2006/449/GEF

Media contacts:

Global Environment Facility (GEF):
Sarwat Hussain, (202) 473-5690, Mobile: (202)725-1856



United Nations Environment Programme (Paris):

Robert Bisset, +33 1 4437 7613, Mobile: +33 6 2272 5842,



Washington, D.C., June 9, 2006 – The Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) yesterday appointed Mrs. Monique Barbut, a French national, to a three-year term as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. 


Mrs. Barbut, who is currently the Director of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), will succeed Mr. Leonard Good who is retiring in July 2006.


Mrs. Barbut’s appointment is effective July 15, 2006.


“It is a privilege to be appointed CEO of the Global Environment Facility, the world’s leading financier of projects to protect the global environment,” said Mrs. Barbut.  “In partnership with GEF member countries, I look forward to building on the GEF’s core strengths and increasing its impact with respect to the implementation of international environmental agreements.”


"Monique Barbut's appointment brings valuable skills and experience to GEF, which are vital for strengthening the Facility's effectiveness," said Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank Group.  "We look forward to working closely with Barbut and her team to ensure that the world's poor benefit from sustainable development while protecting their natural environment."


As a member of the French government delegation, Ms. Barbut was a key player in the financing negotiations at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, and played an active role in the creation of the GEF. 


Mrs. Barbut has a distinguished track record of public service, including a long and varied career in France’s economic development bank, la Caisse Centrale de Cooperation Economique, and subsequently with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), France’s principal executing agency for foreign aid. 


Prior to joining UNEP in September 2003, she served as Executive Director for all Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean activities at AFD.


Monique Barbut brought a wealth of invaluable experience in the field of international sustainable development finance and management to UNEP,” said Shafqat Kakakhel, Officer in Charge and Deputy Executive Director of UNEP.  “As a key member of UNEP’s senior management group she will be greatly missed, but as one of the implementing agencies of the GEF, UNEP looks forward to working closely with her in our joint efforts to combat environmental degradation.”  


“We were unanimous in our recommendation that Monique Barbut was the most qualified candidate to lead the Global Environment Facility,” said Ad Melkert, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and chairman of the international selection committee. “Through our role as one of the three implementing agencies of GEF, UNDP is committed to the mainstreaming of global environmental concerns into the national development strategies of all developing countries, and we believe that Ms. Barbut’s appointment will greatly further this work.”


About the GEF


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an international financial mechanism with 176 member countries that addresses global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. GEF grants support projects in developing countries in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants. GEF’s three implementing agencies—the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and The World Bank—share credit for GEF’s measurable on-the-ground achievements.  Since its inception in 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record of support to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $6.2 billion in grants which has leveraged $20 billion in co-financing for over 1,800 projects in 140 countries. GEF has also made more than 6,000 small grants, up to $50,000 each, directly to nongovernmental organizations and community organizations.


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