Delfin Ganapin Jr.
Global Manager of the UN Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program
Posted January 2013
When Delfin Ganapin Jr. (Ph.D., '87) came to ESF to further his education in the 1980s, he wasn't convinced he needed to be here.
"When the University of the Phillipines was trying to get me to get a Ph.D., I didn't want to because I thought I knew everything, but they said I had to learn more," Ganapin said.
These days, he passes that same advice along to aspiring environmentalists, telling them, "Do the same as I did. At first I thought I knew it all but then went on for more schooling at SUNY-ESF. And learn, learn, learn from the other experts that are available out there."
"What I value from my schooling here was the broadening of my perspectives," Ganapin said. "I was very good at community organizing and the technical aspects of forestry work, but here I got to learn about economics and policy."
Ganapin is the global manager of the United Nations Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program, where he supervises and coordinates the program in more than 80 countries. He also plans the support allocation for more than 5,000 community projects worldwide.
Prior to arriving at ESF, Ganapin taught forest ecology at the Philippine College of Forestry. Ganapin said ESF was akin to a sister school to the university, so he decided to enroll in the College's Ph.D. program. In the 1960s seven ESF faculty members served assignments at the University of Philippines to help that college rehabilitate and modernize its College of Forestry. The program was sponsored by the U.S. International Cooperation Administration.
Ganapin studied environmental planning and policy at ESF. Upon completing his degree, he returned to the Philippines to teach and act as a consultant to a number of non-governmental agencies. Following the nonviolent People Power Revolution in 1986 that ended martial law, Ganapin was approached by Corazon Aquino's administration and asked to serve in a governmental post.
"After years of trying to change Philippine environmental policy by being an activist," Ganapin said, "I thought maybe by getting into government I would be able to get into environmental policy."
He was named director of the environmental management bureau. "It was a powerful tribunal managing the environmental impact assessment system of the Philippines," he said. "No development could take place without an environmental compliance certificate from my office."
After working under two Philippine administrations, Ganapin returned to teaching when he was approached by the United Nations Development Programme to manage the GEF Small Grants Program.
"I thought I'd try it out because this is global and I would be helping out a lot of communities, not just the Philippines," he said.