Naoko Ishii

Professor & Executive Vice President, University of Tokyo

Naoko Ishii has dedicated her career to safeguarding the global commons – our stable and resilient earth system, that serves as the bedrock of human prosperity and yet is under threat by the current economic system. In her efforts to bring about a transformation in this system, she founded the Global Commons Dialogue, a multi-stakeholder platform that eventually led to the formation of the Global Commons Alliance. This was during her tenure as CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) from 2012 to 2020. In 2020, she joined the University of Tokyo and established the Center for Global Commons (CGC). CGC aims to build a multi-stakeholder coalition in Japan and forge partnerships with international allies for systemic change.

In addition to her roles at the University of Tokyo, she serves on the Board of the UN Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, Emergent and Global Pandemic Monitoring Board, and the Advisory Board of Capitals Coalition and EAT Foundation. She is also a member of the Independent High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), and Global Commission on the Economics of Water (GCEW),

Her career began in 1981 at the Ministry of Finance, Japan, where she focused on international finance and development. Subsequently she worked for the IMF as well as the World Bank (Vietnam and Sri Lanka). She also studied at the Harvard Institute of International Development (HIID). Prior to her election as CEO of GEF in 2012, she held the position of Deputy Vice Minister at the Ministry of Finance.

Dr. Ishii is a distinguished alumna of the University of Tokyo, holding both a BA in Economics and a PhD in International Studies. She has authored several books, two of which have received academic awards.