Protecting the nature we all rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods

About the CI-GEF Project Agency

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


Hands full of tree saplings
© Thomas Muller

Our mandate and approach

The Agency serves as a transparent and responsive intermediary between the GEF and Conservation International’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.

Sunrise at coastline of Lombok island, Indonesia.
© Konstantin Trubavin/Aurora Photos

Conservation International and the GEF

As a Project Agency of the GEF, Conservation International 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. Conservation International 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, Conservation International’s structure and experience complements the GEF in the following ways:

  • Conservation International Global Reach
  • Science and Innovation
  • Private Sector Partnerships
  • Operational Capacity and Approach
  • Conservation International Funds and Funding Instruments

Policies and procedures

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:

Learn more about reporting Conflicts of Interest and Grievances.

What we fund

The CI-GEF Project Agency portfolio focuses on funding projects in four primary strategic results areas to best leverage the synergies between Conservation International 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

Awards and Financials

Please visit our Awards page to view Conservation International contracts awarded using a competitive Request for Proposals process for GEF-funded activities implemented by the CI-GEF Agency. To view auditing reports for the CI-GEF Agency, please visit our Financials page. 

Working with us

The CI-GEF Project Agency does not have a pre-defined approach for GEF project executing arrangements, and is open to partnerships with 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

Miguel A. Morales

Senior Vice President, GEF Project Agency and GCF Implementing 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 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

Free de Koning

Vice President, Project Development and Impact, CI-GEF Project Agency 

Free returns to Conservation International 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 Conservation International’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

Orissa Samaroo

Senior Director, GEF Policy & Project Management

Originally from Georgetown, Guyana, Orissa joined Conservation International in April 2011. Before joining Conservation International, 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

Susana Escudero

Senior Director, Grants Management, GEF Project Agency and GCF Implementing Agency

Susana joined Conservation International in 2012 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. Previously, Susana served as the Senior Manager of Multilateral Relations, managing Conservation International’s portfolio of GEF projects through Multilaterals. Susana has also worked for the Inter-American Development Bank as a consultant and Cargill. Susana holds a Master of Public Administration with a focus on non-profit management from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University. Susana is a native of Brazil and has spent her adult life in the U.S.

Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish

Ian Kissoon

Director, Environmental and Social Framework

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

Daniela Carrión

Director of Project Management, CI-GEF Project Agency, Quito Ecuador

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)

Charity Nalyanya

Director, Project Management Africa, CI-GEF Project Agency

Charity is from Kenya and has experience in climate change adaptation, climate change policy development, climate finance, sustainable environmental resource management, community and rural development and gender mainstreaming. She has in-depth understanding of the development of Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Green Climate Fund (GCF) projects. She has also participated in the formulation of national and regional climate change legislative frameworks, and the management and implementation of climate change projects in various anglophone and francophone countries in Africa. For instance, she was the assistant lead author of Kenya’s National GCF Strategy (2018) and Kenya’s GCF Handbook (2018). Further, she was one of the key developers of the Toolkit for Integrating Climate Information and Services into Legislation in Africa (2016) — an initiative funded by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Prior to joining Conservation International, Charity was a Consultant and Business Development Manager at Climate and Energy Advisory Ltd previously known as CAMCO Advisory Services Kenya Ltd. She holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Community Development from Kenyatta University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies (Community Development) (Hons) also from Kenyatta University.

Languages: English, Swahili

Shannon Wiecks

Grants Manager, CI-GEF Project Agency

Originally from Minneapolis, Shannon joined CI in 2017 and currently serves as the Grants Manager for the CI-GEF Project Agency. Prior to joining Conservation International, 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

Courtney McGeachy

Director GOLD+ Program, CI-GEF Project Agency

Courtney McGeachy currently serves a the Director of the GOLD+ Program. The GOLD+ Program aims to reduce the use of mercury in the artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) sector and increase access to finance leading to adoption of sustainable mercury free technologies and access to traceable gold supply chains.

Prior to joining Conservation International, Courtney managed several conservation focused programs with the Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Courtney holds a bachelor degree in Marine and Environmental Science from Hampton University, and a M.Sc. in Marine and Estuarine sciences from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Courtney also serves as a co-chair for Integrity, Diversity and Equity for the Citizen Science Association.

Languages: English

Prapti Bhandary

Manager Project Support, Monitoring, and Evaluation, CI-GEF Project Agency

Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, Prapti joined Conservation International in 2020. Prior to joining CI, she was the Flagship Manager/Senior Research Analyst in the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute. She has worked on several projects related to climate resilience, climate smart agriculture, ecosystem services and natural resource management in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. She holds a Master's degree in Environmental Policy from Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Kathmandu University. Prapti is interested in impact-driven programming that builds resilience of vulnerable communities and enables them to adapt to changing landscapes.  

Languages: English, Nepali

Elizabeth Mast

Grants Manager, CI-GCF and CI-GEF Agencies

Before joining CI, Elizabeth lived in Austin, Texas. For 5 years, she worked as a grants manager for the non-profit Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), which provides support and funding to the local CASA programs in Texas, which advocate on behalf of children in the foster system.   

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  Her studies focused on sustainable development and she did her internship with a solar energy start-up for which she co-authored a peer-reviewed case study on the market barriers the company faced.

Languages: English, French 

Olivia Reed

Coordinator, CI-GCF and CI-GEF Agencies

Originally from Pennsylvania, Olivia joined Conservation International in 2021. Her professional background lies in legal studies and communication strategy. Prior to joining CI, she obtained a Master's degree in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development from SOAS University of London and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Temple University. Her studies and thesis work centered around cocoa-related deforestation and ethical consumption. Olivia has a passion for conservation, working towards corporate social responsibility, and environmental justice.  

Languages: English