Delhi-Born Economist Geeta Batra Named As First Woman Director Of World Bank’s GEF

In a groundbreaking achievement, Geeta Batra, a 57-year-old economist hailing from Delhi, has been appointed as the first-ever woman director of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) at the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a part of the World Bank. Currently serving as the Chief Evaluator & Deputy Director for Evaluation at the GEF’s IEO, Batra’s unanimous recommendation for the esteemed position was made during the 66th GEF Council Meeting in Washington on February 9.

Expressing her vision for the role, Batra emphasized her commitment to delivering robust evaluative evidence on the GEF’s results and performance. Based in Virginia, US, she spoke with IANS, outlining her key priorities, which include maintaining the GEF IEO’s leadership in environmental evaluation, strengthening teams, and investing in skills. Beyond internal focus, she aims to foster partnerships with various agencies, foundations, and networks, sharing knowledge and insights on effective environmental practices.

Geeta Batra’s impressive journey from New Delhi to becoming a pivotal figure at the GEF spans educational milestones in Mumbai and Chennai, including an MBA in Finance and a subsequent move to the US for a PhD in Economics. Following her academic pursuits, she held roles at American Express before joining the World Bank in 1998, where she contributed significantly to competitiveness projects in East Asia and Latin America.

Transitioning through roles at the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), Batra eventually joined the GEF’s IEO in 2015. In this capacity, she manages a team overseeing the design, implementation, and quality of evaluations, assessing the progress and impact of GEF interventions globally.

Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the GEF has been a major player in the environmental sector, disbursing substantial grants and co-financing over 5,700 projects in 170 countries. Geeta Batra’s new role signifies a historic moment not only for her but also for developing countries, as she becomes the first woman from a developing nation to assume this influential position.

With a strong background in managing evaluations, co-authoring books, and contributing to over 100 evaluations, Batra’s interest lies in promoting feasible and practical approaches in monitoring and evaluation to achieve better outcomes. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband Prakash and their daughter Roshini, contributing her expertise and dedication to the global environmental cause.

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