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Naoko Ishii

Dr. Naoko Ishii joined University of Tokyo on August 1st, 2020, as Professor, Executive Vice President, and inaugurating Director for Center for Global Commons. She will lead this newly established center with the mission to catalyze systems change so that humans can achieve sustainable development within planetary boundaries. It is needed to mobilize movements of multi-stakeholders, including business, policy makers, cities, CSOs, and citizens as consumers and investors towards a shared goal of nurturing stewardship of Global Commons, that is the critical earth system for human’s survival. Her belief is that academia can and should play a much more active role in this endeavor.

Prior to joining the university, she served the GEF (Global Environment Facility) as CEO and Chairperson from 2012 to 2020. During her tenure, she formed GEF’s first mid-term strategy, GEF 2020, with strong focus on transformation of key economic systems, and delivered two successful replenishments.

She entered Ministry of Finance, Japan, in 1981 and worked for finance, tax and international finance bureaus, and served as Deputy Vice Minister of Finance, Japan for 2010-2012. She also worked at the IMF and the World Bank and was stationed in Sri Lanka as Country Director for the World Bank during 2006-2010.

She is currently serving as council member for China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, member to Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, commissioner for Food Systems Economic Dialogue, Ambassador for FOLU (Food and Land Use Coalition), member of the Board of PACE (Platform for Accelerating Circular Economy), co-chair of Advisory Network for High Level Panel for Ocean, and co-founder and principal for Global Commons Alliance.

She has published papers and books, two of which were awarded by Suntory Prize (1990) and Okita Memorial Prize for International Development Research (2004). She obtained BA in economics and Ph. D in international development, both from the University of Tokyo.

Watch Naoko’s TED Talk on Safeguarding the Global Commons.

Follow Naoko Ishii on Twitter @NaokoIshiiTokyo.

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