Uma Lele

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Uma Lele

"After 34 years of association Uma Lele retired from the World Bank in August 2005 as Senior Adviser in the Operations Evaluation Department (OED now called the Independent Evaluation Group) of the World Bank, an independent arm that reports to the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors...

"In the environmental area she led the independent, yet highly consultative, evaluation of the World Bank’s controversial 1991 forest policy, addressing issues of biodiversity, poverty, climate change, safeguards, and international trade among others. The evaluation, carried out during 1998 and 1999, resulted in the Bank reformulating its forest policy with renewed engagement in forest management. Considered the most complex evaluation at the time, OED management assessed the forest policy evaluation to have set new standards for the increasingly participatory and multisectoral OED evaluations. In 2000 she was invited by China's International Council on Environment and Development (CCICED) to co-chair (with Professor Shen Gao Feng, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Science) a high-level taskforce to assess the impact of China’s forest policy. Taskforce members came from Australia, Canada and China among others). The taskforce findings were presented to then-Premier Zhu Rongi and have resulted in reforms in China’s forest strategy and its implementation. Two sets of independent impact evaluators, one in China and another in OED, have described it as one of the most influential evaluations...

"The first woman to obtain a PhD from Cornell University’s Agricultural Economics Department, Ms. Lele served as Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida’s Food and Resource Economics Department from 1991 to 1995. She established the University’s Office of International Studies and Programs overseeing the university’s 16 colleges and served as its first Director. While at the University of Florida, she also helped establish President Carter’s Global Development Initiative of economic reforms in newly democratizing countries funded by the Carnegie Corporation, serving as its first director. Also while at Florida, jointly with Professor Ronnie Coffman, a biologist at Cornell University, Ms. Lele initiated and co-chaired the GREAN (Global Research on Environmental and Agricultural Nexus) Initiative, a coalition of scientists from US universities, CGIAR Centers, and developing countries’ agricultural research systems to foster long-term collaborative research, teaching, and technology transfer on a global scale.

"Uma Lele has served on the boards and advisory committees of many organizations including the CGIAR system. She currently serves or has served on Cornell University President’s Advisory Council of Cornell Women, on the advisory board of China's Center for Agricultural Policy (CCAP) and on the High Level Advisory Panel of the External Independent Evaluation of the Global Environmental Facility.

"She is a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association, has written or edited 15 books or book-length publications including the Design of Rural Development: Lessons from Africa, Aid to African Agriculture: Lessons From Two Decades of Experience, Managing a Global Resource: Challenges of Forest Conservation and Development and well over 100 papers on development-related issues. She has also tutored and mentored many students and staff.

"In January 2005 she initiated philanthropic activities to empower girl children and women in India." [1] CV

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Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About, Uma Lele, accessed August 31, 2008.
  2. Management, Institute of Development Studies, accessed August 31, 2008.
  3. Trustees, M.S. Swaminathan Foundation, accessed November 15, 2011.