Naoko Ishii is the CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the largest public funder of programs to benefit the global environment. Dr. Ishii was unanimously selected by the GEF Council in June 2012 and took office on August 1.
Prior to becoming the fourth CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, Dr. Ishii, as Deputy Vice Minister of Finance, was responsible for Japan's international financial and development policies, and for its global policies on environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity.
She led the Japanese delegation at the Transition Committee for designing the Green Climate Fund. Dr. Ishii's career at the Ministry of Finance began in 1981 with a focus on the international sphere, particularly development issues. Later in her career she was Japan's Director for Bilateral Development Finance (2004-2006) and for coordination with Multilateral Development Banks (2002-04).
For nearly half of her career, Dr. Ishii has served in international assignments outside of Japan, including at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. At the World Bank, Dr. Ishii was the Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives (2006-2010). During that period, while based in Colombo, she managed the World Bank program for Sri Lanka amidst that country's quarter-century old civil conflict by building partnership among key stakeholders. She also served as the country program coordinator for Vietnam at the World Bank (1997-2001), project manager at Harvard Institute for International Development (1996-1997), economist at the International Monetary Fund (1992-1995) working for Africa and Asia, as well as visiting fellow at Center for International Affairs at Harvard University (1984-1985).
Dr. Ishii also taught sustainable development and environment at Keio University. She has published numerous papers and several books, two of which were awarded by 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 BA and Ph.D. from University of Tokyo.