Yasemin Biro Kirtman leads the cross-cutting Knowledge Management Work Stream at the GEF. She is an environmental economist with 18 plus years of experience in global environmental issues including climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, water resources/wetland management, multilateral environmental negotiations, ecosystem services, environmental finance and valuation, and environmental and social impact assessment.
Yasemin received her PhD in Energy and Resources at the University of California at Berkeley, her MA in Economics at Tulane University and her BA in Economics and International Relations at Cornell University. She also attended the London School of Economics, focusing on development economics.
Yasemin joined the GEF in 2000 as a Climate Change Program Manager after working at the World Bank as a Young Professional, focusing on energy and the environment. As a GEF Program Manager, Yasemin handled the GEF’s renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport portfolios. She also developed the GEF’s initial adaptation strategy, and identified and managed the first set of adaptation projects financed by the GEF. Later on, she joined the GEF Operations and Business Strategy team to establish the GEF’s Results-based Management Framework and led its first inter-agency annual monitoring review exercise. Later, Yasemin led the pilot initiative to broaden the GEF Partnership and managed the accreditation process that nearly doubled the size of the Partnership.
Over the course of her career at the GEF, Yasemin has also undertaken several senior level “external assignments” at like-minded institutions such as the United Nations Foundation where she coordinated the Global Leadership for Climate Action; the Earth Institute at Columbia University where she coordinated the Applied Research Program on Climate and Society in Latin America and the Caribbean; and the Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences at Istanbul Technical University where she established and managed the European Union Center for Innovation and Joint Research.
She speaks English, Turkish and Spanish and is familiar with German. She is originally from Turkey; plays the violin; loves the outdoors; and enjoys tennis, movies, traveling, dancing, and spending ample time with her son.