Press release (embargoed to Dec. 13th, 21:00 CET)
Tbilisi, December 14th, 2020 – Tobias Muenchmeyer has started today as Executive Director of the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF), taking over the management of the project offices in Tbilisi, Georgia and Yerevan, Armenia. He succeeds Geof Giacomini, who is leaving CNF after 5 years.
As a long-standing Greenpeace employee, Mr. Muenchmeyer has extensive experience in environmental policy and its practical implementation, and the new Executive Director stated: “The Caucasus is a treasure trove for biodiversity. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia are currently severely shaken by both political crises and Covid-19. This indirectly also increases the risks biodiversity is exposed to. With CNF, I want to strive to ensure that the unique species that have their home in the Caucasus survive these difficult times.”
The Caucasus Nature Fund was established in 2007 by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Germany, and Conservation International and currently provides direct financial assistance to the most biodiversity-valuable Protected Areas in the South Caucasus. Supporting salary increases, the purchase of modern equipment and technology, CNF has not only maintained but developed better management practices and outcomes for nature.
The outgoing Director Geof Giacomini noted both progress over the past five years, and remaining challenges: “CNF has a much stronger funding base than when I arrived and a new strategy to guide us and our partners at the Protected Areas, Ministries and communities and NGO to achieve our very ambitious goals. Improving biodiversity monitoring as well as outcomes for biodiversity is a challenge but one that we must rush towards and embrace, not walk away from.”
David Morrison, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Caucasus Nature Fund commented: “CNF is deeply indebted to Giacomini. He established the foundation as a central institution
in the conservation of biodiversity in the Caucasus. Our Supervisory Board has great confidence that Muenchmeyer will continue the successful development of the CNF. And it wishes Mr. Giacomini success and luck in his further professional career. ”