Dr. Naoko Ishii is a professor and executive vice president at the University of Tokyo, where she is also an inaugural director for the Center for Global Commons, of which mission is to catalyze systems change so that humans can achieve sustainable development within planetary boundaries. She is of a view that academia can and should play an active role in mobilizing movements with policymakers, business and civil society towards a shared goal of nurturing stewardship of the global commons; stable and resilient planetary earth system. Under her vision, the Center for Global Commons has been collaborating with reputable international research institutions in the area of sustainability, and launching projects with Japanese business focusing on energy transition, food system, and circular economy.
Before joining the university in 2020, Dr. Ishii served the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as CEO and chairperson. During her tenure of 2012 to 2020, she formed GEF’s first mid-term strategy, GEF 2020, focusing on the transformation of key economic systems and collaborating with multi-stakeholder coalitions.
Dr. Ishii entered Japan’s Ministry of Finance in 1981, working mostly for the international finance and taxation. She also worked for IMF as economist for Kenya, Uganda and Kyrgyz Republic, World Bank as country director Sri Lanka and the Maldives. She served as Deputy Vice Minister of Finance from 2010-2012.
She holds a B.A. in economics and a Ph.D. in international development, both from the University of Tokyo. She published several books among which two are awarded by academic prizes.