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About the CI-GEF Project Agency

The CI-GEF Project Agency at Conservation International (CI) mobilizes and leverages Global Environment Facility (GEF) resources to empower national governments and partners to generate global environmental benefits in support of human well-being, through responsible and sustainable stewardship of natural capital.

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EditSection Heading:Our mandate and approach
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EditText:The Agency serves as a transparent and responsive intermediary between the GEF and CI’s global partners. The Agency designs and implements a portfolio of projects to achieve global environmental benefits and support the needs of partner countries. It seeks to develop inclusive and country-driven projects, to make efficient and effective use of GEF resources, and to operate in a flexible manner to ensure responsiveness to partners and maintain the ability to rapidly leverage strategic opportunities that align with the Agency’s strategic results framework.
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EditSection Heading:CI and the GEF
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As a Project Agency of the GEF, CI brings over 25 years of innovative research and solutions to transform the conservation agenda. With our partners, we have worked to provide the right knowledge, to the right people, at the right scales, so they can build sustainable societies and improve lives while sustaining natural capital. CI serves as a trusted advisor to global decision-makers, providing the data, tools, counsel, and access to funding needed to first identify and then to protect or restore essential ecosystems. Our partnerships, expertise, and experience provide a foundation from which we hope to solve today’s greatest environmental challenges, and successfully contribute to the mission of the GEF.

In particular, CI’s structure and experience complements the GEF in the following ways:

  • CI Global Reach
  • Science and Innovation
  • Private Sector Partnerships
  • Operational Capacity and Approach
  • CI Funds and Funding Instruments
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EditItem Title:What we fund
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The CI-GEF Project Agency portfolio focuses on funding projects in four primary strategic results areas to best leverage the synergies between CI and the GEF in support of country partners to generate global environmental benefits and improve human well-being.

CI-GEF Project Agency seeks projects that contribute to global environmental benefits through:

  • Improving Natural Capital Conservation and Governance
  • Improving Sustainability of Production in Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystems
  • Preventing Loss and Degradation in Ridge to Reef Ecosystems
  • Ensuring a Sustainable Flow of Ecosystem Services
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EditItem Title:Policies and procedures
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The CI-GEF Project Agency is fully streamlined with GEF policies and procedures, reducing the time needed to move a project through the GEF Project Cycle, thus mobilizing GEF resources as quickly as possible. As a small unit integrated within a global NGO, the CI-GEF Project Agency has operational flexibility as a private organization, with limited bureaucracy.

All CI-GEF projects must adhere to the following policies and procedures:

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The CI-GEF Project Agency does not have a pre-defined approach for GEF project executing arrangements, and is open to partnerships will all types of stakeholders, including government agencies and civil society and community-based organizations.

If your organization would like to work with the CI-GEF Project Agency, please request more information by sending an email to CIGEF@conservation.org

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EditItem Title:Miguel A. Morales
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Vice President, CI-GEF Project Agency

Miguel Morales is a professional with over 27 years of experience on issues related to conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in developing countries of the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific region. He has worked extensively in multicultural contexts using adaptive management and rights-based approaches to design, implement, monitor and evaluate conservation and sustainable development projects, as well as building capacity for conservation practitioners, local stakeholders and decision makers.

Prior to joining Conservation International (CI) in 2006, Miguel worked for the Conservation Data Center, Fundación Moisés Bertoni, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in his native Paraguay. At CI he worked as a Protected Areas Management Advisor, Conservation Strategies Director, and Technical Director for the CI-GEF Project Agency.

Miguel holds a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development and a Ph.D. in Environment & Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Doctorate in Veterinary Sciences from the National University of Asunción.

Languages: Spanish and Guaraní (native), English, and Portuguese

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EditItem Title:Free de Koning
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Senior Director, Project Development & Implementation

Free returns to CI after two and a half years at the World Resources Institute in DC, where he directed the Natural Resource Governance Practice. Before WRI, he was at Conservation International for 8 years — based in Ecuador — first as director of the Conservation Strategies Unit of the Center for Biodiversity Conservation (CBC)-Andes and later as technical director of CI’s Ecuador program. He has also worked for the German International Cooperation (GIZ), the University of Göttingen, and Wageningen University and Research.

Free’s experience is in conservation incentive programs, ecosystem services, climate change, protected area management, land use planning and natural resource governance. He holds an M.Sc. in Agricultural Sciences and a Ph.D. in land use change modeling from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

Free is Dutch and likes to explore nature on his bike or hiking.

Languages: Dutch, English, Spanish

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EditItem Title:Orissa Samaroo
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Director, GEF Policy & Project Management

Originally from Georgetown, Guyana, Orissa joined CI in April 2011. Before joining CI, she worked at the Global Environment Facility on the Operations and Business Strategy Team and the World Bank in the Water and Sanitation Program. She has a Masters in International Development with a concentration in Environmental Management from the George Washington University.

Languages: English

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EditItem Title:Daniela Carrión
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Regional Technical Advisor Latin America and the Caribbean

Daniela is from Ecuador and has experience in forests and land use, climate change, and sustainable development in Latin America. She started her career working as a government official at the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador. Before joining Conservation International, she worked as regional technical advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean for the UN-REDD Program at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). She holds a bachelor degree in Economics, an M.Sc. in International Relations, and an M.Sc. in Environment and Development from The London School of Economics and Political Science.

Languages: Spanish (native), English (fluent)

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EditItem Title:Ian Kissoon
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Technical & Safeguards Advisor

Ian hails from the South American country of Guyana and joined the CI-GEF team in February 2015. He holds two masters degrees from the University of Cape Town, South Africa; an MSc Degree in Conservation Biology and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). Prior to joining the Agency, Ian worked at the UNDP’s Office in Guyana where he served as the country’s National Coordinator for the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP). He also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Guyana where he led the work of the Protected Areas Unit, and this included the development of the national protected areas legislation and co-management plans for the Kanuku Mountains and Shell Beach Protected Areas. He developed a passion for ensuring the design and implementation of good conservation projects from having seen the positive impacts such projects can have on the lives of people in communities.

Languages: English

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EditItem Title:Kelly Polk
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Director, Grants Management

Kelly joined CI in 2011 and serves as the Director of Grants Management for the CI-GEF Agency. She focuses on financial management and operations of the CI-GEF portfolio of projects and manages the relationship with the GEF Trustee. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Business from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a native of the Washington, DC Area. Kelly's passion for nature and sustainable development comes from her travels abroad. Outside the office she enjoys to travel, cook, read and spend time with her family.

Languages: English

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EditItem Title:Shannon Wiecks
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Coordinator, CI-GEF Project Agency

Originally from Minneapolis, Shannon joined CI in 2017 and serves as the coordinator for the CI-GEF Project Agency. Prior to joining CI, Shannon worked in finance at an advertising agency in downtown Minneapolis. Her passion for the environment and international development stems from her study abroad travels and interest in nature. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Languages: English

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