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Frances Seymour was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development based in Washington, DC, where she lead policy research on tropical forests and climate change. In December 2016, CGD published her book, Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change (co-authored by Jonah Busch), to promote the importance of forests to climate and development objectives, and the potential of results-based finance. Ms. Seymour also served as Senior Adviser to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, with a focus on halting deforestation and peatland conversion due to expansion of oil palm cultivation in Indonesia.
From 2006 to 2012, Ms. Seymour served as Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), an international organization headquartered in Indonesia, and was awarded France’s Order of Agricultural Merit for her service there. Previously, she was the founding director of the Institutions and Governance Program at World Resources Institute, and served as Director of Development Assistance Policy at World Wildlife Fund. Early in her career, she spent five years as a Program Officer with the Ford Foundation in Indonesia.
She holds an MPA in Development Studies from Princeton University, and a BS in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Please join the Embassy of France and the Center for Global Development as we honor CGD Senior Fellow Frances Seymour, who has been awarded the title of Officer by the French Republic’s Order of Agricultural Merit (Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole) for her work to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable development as Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) from 2006 to 2012. The Order of Agricultural Merit, consisting of three ranks: Commander, Officer and Knight, is an order bestowed by the French Republic to individuals for their outstanding services to agriculture in public duties or in the practice of agriculture. It also rewards people who distinguish themselves in scientific research or in related publications. To date, women account for only 27% of those receiving this honor and few of these are American women.
Seymour received the honor for her leadership in encouraging dialogue between the worlds of science and policy, developing a culture of impact assessment at CIFOR, establishing the annual Forest Day, and insisting on the highest quality scientific research. As a CGD Senior Fellow, Seymour leads the Tropical Forests for Climate and Development initiative. Her work has focused on creating a global consensus about the importance of forest conservation and promoting results-based financing for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
How can donors know if their aid is making a difference? This question is tougher than it seems. Attributing results to donor inputs seems straightforward if the donor pays for progress on a measurable outcome, as CGD has proposed for Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid). If the desired results are achieved—say an increase above an agreed baseline in the number of kids completing primary school and taking a competency test—then the program has demonstrated value for money, no?
Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online monitoring and alert system that aims to empower people to better manage forests. GFW uses satellite technology, open data, and crowdsourcing to offer timely, reliable information about forests so that governments, businesses and communities can halt forest loss.
President Obama will deliver his 2014 State of the Union speech Tuesday, January 28. We polled CGD experts to find out what they’re hoping to hear when the president addresses Congress and the nation. Check out their oratorical contributions below and read about the development-related decisions and policies they would like to emerge in support of the rhetoric.
Last week I had the pleasure of chairing the 2013 Oslo REDD Exchange, a conference hosted by the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forests Initiative. The conference drew some 500 policy-makers and practitioners working on reducing deforestation around the world -- through strategies ranging from international negotiations to community-level projects – to assess the state of play on REDD+ and to chart a way forward.
Over the last few months, in the context of my new affiliation with CGD, I’ve been making a transition from “Forestry World” — which I inhabited for six years at the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia — to “Development Finance World,” headquartered here in Washington with the World Bank, the IMF, and myriad think tanks and advocacy groups interested in development.
On November 30th, Germany, Norway, and the U.K. (“the GNU”) pledged to provide over $5 billion for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) between now and 2020, “including a significant increase in pay-for-performance finance”. This pledge is a welcome and much-needed continuation of the leadership of these three countries, and consistent with the recommendations of the recent CGD Working Group report, Look to the Forests
The Center for Global Development hosted two side events in Lima during the 20th UNFCCC Conference of Parties. On December 3rd and December 5th, CGD experts Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch presented findings from their forthcoming book, Why Forests? Why Now?, which draws upon science, economics, and political analysis to show that tropical forests are essential for climate stability and sustainable development, that now is the time for action, and that payment-for-performance finance is a course of action with great potential for success. Background paper authors presented highlights from their analyses and discussed how their findings contribute to the mounting evidence of the urgency, affordability, and feasibility of scaled-up funding to reduce the rate of deforestation, particularly through performance-based approaches.