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Caribbean Biodiversity Fund Announces New CEO

The Board of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Karen McDonald Gayle as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Regional Conservation Trust Fund. Mrs. McDonald Gayle, who had been acting in the position since August 2021, was officially appointed on March 1, 2022.  

CBF CEO - Karen McDonald Gayle

With over 20 years of experience in environmental project design and grant-making, Karen is a regional leader in Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) management. A Jamaican national, she previously served as the CEO of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica and has worked with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Environment Program in the Caribbean. As CBF’s Conservation Finance Program Manager, Karen has been managing the CBF’s Endowment Fund and coordinating the development and continued consolidation of the Caribbean Sustainable Finance Architecture (CSFA).

In making the announcement, CBF’s Chairman Dr. Jens Mackensen noted that “the Board was pleased that Ms. McDonald Gayle accepted the offer and appointment as CEO of the CBF. Her wealth of experience will be invaluable to the continued development and growth of the organization.” He went on to note that “in this the CBF’s 10th year, the Board is pleased with its evolution and with the work of the CBF Secretariat team.”

In addition to the appointment of the CEO, the Board announced the promotion of Dr. Ulrike Krauss to the post of Program Manager for the CBF Climate Change Program that is focused on the implementation of the Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Facility and the appointment of Mr. Hayden Billingy as the EbA Facility Technical Officer. The Climate Change Team is complemented by Program Officer Ibrahim Abdullah who joined the Team in 2021.  Ulrike is a Saint Lucian/German dual national and holds a PhD. from the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology from Edinburgh University and has over 20 years post-doctoral experience in natural resource management throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, covering a broad professional portfolio including management, research, training and outreach. As Program Manager, she currently oversees 19 EbA projects in the region. Hayden is from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and holds MSc. in Natural Resource and Environmental Management with a specialization in Applied Meteorology. He has worked for multiple international multilateral and academic organizations. Based in Trinidad, Ibrahim is a graduate of the University of the West Indies with an MSc in Strategic Leadership and Management where his research focused on the challenges civil society organizations face in accessing grant financing for conservation in Trinidad and Tobago.  About the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF)      CBF is a regional environmental fund whose mission is “to ensure continuous funding for conservation and sustainable development in the Caribbean.” Established in 2012 and with a flexible structure, the CBF was designed to accommodate the receipt, investment, distribution, and monitoring of conservation funding throughout the region. CBF partner donors to date include the Government of Germany (Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development – BMZ) through the German Development Bank (KfW), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) — through the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). These donors have donated to the CBF endowment, which is divided into 13 sub-accounts and currently has a market value of around USD 90 million. CBF has also received two grants from BMU-IKI through KFW to the EbA Facility, constituting a sinking fund with around USD 50 million. The third financial instrument dedicated to Circular Economy will receive an initial contribution from BMZ through KFW of about USD 25 million.  For more on the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, go to 


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