The George Washington University
Engineering Management & Systems Engineering Department (EMSE)
Environmental & Energy Management Program (E&EM)
Fall 1999 (Volume 1, Number 1)

E&EM Students and Faculty Meet with GEF

On November 11, 1999, a group of graduate students and faculty met with representatives of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to explore ways of working together on international environmental issues.  The GEF is a relatively new organization that was established in 
Sherif El-Ramly Explains His Environmental Research in Egypt

1991 to address the world's most important environmental problems.  It is underwritten by the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  It is physically located just a few blocks from GW at 1776 G Street, N.W.

More than 155 countries are members of the GEF, which is a significant increase from the 73 nations that negotiated to restructure the GEF in 1994.  At that, time these original 73 members pledged $2 billion to the GEF's core fund.  In 1998, the member countries added another $2.75 billion, Amjad Ali Bangash Explains His Reseach Work on Environmental Assessment Techinques in the World Bank which is intended to fund environmental projects over a four-year period beginning in 1998.  When one considers that GEF funding, on average, is matched on a 5 to 1 basis by other funding sources, about $3.5 billion per year for the resolution of environmental problems is leveraged by the GEF, making it a tremendous facilitator of environmental problem resolutions on a global basis.

At the present time, the GEF has 155 projects underway in 125 recipient countries.  Funding for these projects totals about $2.5 billion. These projects generally are directed toward four major world wide environmental problems: biodiversity, climate change (mainly renewal energy sources and energy efficiency), international waters (such as major projects in the East Asian Sea and the Caribbean Sea), and ozone depletion.  In addition, the GEF funds a number of "niche" projects.

Representing GW at the meeting were the following E&EM faculty and graduate students:

  • Dr. Jonathan P. Deason (lead professor of the E&EM program)
  • Sherif El-Ramly (undertaking doctoral research in his home country of Egypt)
  • Virginia Alzina (originally from Spain, presently working at the Inter-American Development Bank, and undertaking doctoral research in South America))
  • Marcello Vega (undertaking doctoral research in his home country of Brazil)
  • Rick Santa Cruz (undertaking doctoral research in his original country of the Philippines)
  • Carlos Arboleda (from Colombia and assisting with coordination of E&EM international programs)
  • Amjad Ali Bangash (undertaking doctoral research related to his home country of Pakistan)
  • Guillermo Jimenez (competing his doctoral research focused on his home country of Colombia)

E&EM Faculty and graduate students at the Global Environmental Facility

Rick Santa Cruz Briefs GEF OfficialIn addition to the group mentioned above, other E&EM faculty and students involved in the GW/GEF initiative were introduced at the meeting. There included Dr. Robert Romano (Visiting Professor in the E&EM Program), Uzo Chukwu, Sue Hall, David Guesmas, Khalid Ben-Esse, Sergio Botero, Juan Pablo Bonilla, Li-Chun Wu, and Hui Huang.  All of these additional E&EM faculty members and graduate students also are presently involved in international environmental research but could not attend the meeting due to international travel.

Carlos Arboleda Discusses E&EM ProgramThe principal representative of the GEF was Mr. Hutton Archer, a senior GEF executive.  Ms. Song Li, a recent graduate of GW's environmental law program (who studied in the E&EM program during her law curriculum this past summer), also participated in the meeting.

The principal thrust of the discussions at the meeting focused on four joint GW/GEF initiatives:

  • Internships.  Both GW and GEF see the possibility of GW graduate students serving in intern positions within the GEF.  Specific procedures for pursuing GEF internships for GW students were delineated at the meeting.
  • Research Sponsorship.  The desirability of possible GEF sponsorship of E&EM international environmental and energy research projects was discussed.  Specific procedures for pursuing possibilities in this area also were explained at the meeting.
  • Recipient County Awareness.  Possibilities for GW assistance to the GEF in helping promote awareness of GEF programs and procedures within recipient nations were discussed at the meeting.
  • GW/GEF Initiative.  Possibilities of establishing a formal relationship between GW and the GEF also were discussed.  It is envisioned that such a relationship may be institutionalized by a written instrument between the two organizations.  Such a document would set forth objectives such as those mentioned above, along with implementing procedures.
All of us in the E&EM program look forward to exciting possibilities of working with the GEF in the near future.


Jonathan P. Deason, Ph.D., Lead Professor