Who is he? Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister Carlos Manuel Rodriguez has been selected as the next CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, the largest multilateral trust fund supporting environmental action in developing countries and the main financing mechanism for multiple United Nations environmental conventions.
The GEF Council, meeting virtually, selected Rodriguez today as the trust fund’s next CEO for an initial term of four years. He will succeed Naoko Ishii, who became the GEF’s CEO and Chairperson in 2012 and served two terms marked by an expansion of the trust fund’s approach to better-address environmental degradation at its root causes, including a greater focus on transformation of key economic systems that are driving climate change, deforestation, and ecological damage.
Over his three terms as Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica doubled the size of its forests, made its power sector 100 percent renewable, and made the country a top ecotourism destination. Rodriguez, who also worked for 12 years at Conservation International, has been a pioneer in the development of payment for ecosystem services, ocean conservation, and de-carbonization strategies, and is a world-renowned expert on environmental policies, multilateral negotiations, and financing for nature conservation.
He joins the Washington-based intergovernmental organization at a crucial time for international environmental action, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has raised the urgency of addressing illegal wildlife trading and ahead of high-stakes negotiations next year regarding climate change, biodiversity, oceans, and more.