The Oldest Civilisation with the Youngest Population

INDIA’S ASSETS FOR THE SUSTAINABLE WORLD (Invited  article that appeared with its translation in Marathi in the special issue of " Vanarai " published on the occassion of its 25th Anniversary in 2011. Vanarai is NGO founded by Dr. Mohan Dharia , Former Minister of Commerce of India and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, India ) Every one, when young,  plays with the ball. We throw it, kick it, bounce it, and catch it. Later in the life we do the same, but with another enormous ball called “the Earth”. We play with the Earth. That Earth  is presently bruised, worn-out and deflated  but  we continue  throwing it and kicking it. Many of us even neglect that ball  like a dust bean kept in the corner. In our quest to so called 'prosperity' , we do not recognize the urgent need to care for this wonderful ball-our only home in...
Read More
Compliance with the Chinese Character

Compliance with the Chinese Character

Beijing was bathing in bright sun. Chinese people were waking up to the new reality of ‘socialist market and economic reforms’ started in late 1980s and I saw them upbeat in their pace.  An inspiring event was unfolding at Xidan Commercial area, a major shopping complex in Beijing. Mr. Xie Zhenhua, former Administrator of SEPA (and now China’s leading negotiator on Climate Change) and other high government officers stood at the huge entrance of the market. Why at all the high  ministerial level official was standing at the market place? Should not he be in the decorated hall with UNEP officials to discuss public awareness strategy? (more…)...
Read More

Reflections on the Montreal Protocol:

A Treaty that goes beyond Ozone Layer Protection By Rajendra Shende, Dec 2009. When I travel from Argentina to Afghanistan, from Mexico to Micronesia, and from Bhutan to Bolivia in my pursuit to assist the developing countries to enable them to comply with the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, I do get some rare moments to reflect on the  ‘most successful  multilateral environmental  treaty’ that the world has implemented so far  . We all know that the ultimate objective of the Montreal Protocol is to recover the Ozone layer damaged by our indiscriminate use of Ozone Depleting Chemicals. Will the Montreal Protocol would be remembered only for achieving this objective only? There are many achievements that would be remembered by the world community in future. The Montreal Protocol has now been ratified by each and every country in the world –a fete achieved by no other Multilateral...
Read More

Piloting the Environment– Business & Diplomacy Middle East way

Rajendra ShendeBy Rajendra Shende, rmshende@unep.org 26 March 2010 ‘Diplomats & Businessmen’ That is the signboard at Jeddah Airport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia directing the arriving Diplomats and Businessmen through a special and privileged lane for passport control  and immigration clearance. I had seen such special lanes only for the diplomats in number of countries. However I had never seen a single special lane for both diplomats and businessmen. Jeddah must be the only airport in the world that equals diplomats with businessmen, when it comes to passport control. After all, why not? Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of United Nations in 1999 at the World Economic Forum said: “..... I told you about hopes for creative partnership between the United Nations and the private sector. …..that the everyday work of the United Nations -- whether in peacekeeping, setting technical standards, protecting intellectual property or providing much-needed assistance to developing countries...
Read More

Bail-out and Stimulus Package: Yes for Economic crisis, No for Climate crisis?

When markets collapsed and when most of the major banks around the world went kaput, the governments around the world rushed to bail out the market. Almost overnight stimulus packages got prepared, approved by cabinets, politburo, senates, and parliaments and even by executive order depending on the political governing system in the countries. (more…)...
Read More

China OzonAction

The day was 16 September 1995. As Beijing’s sky was being lit with the  autumn morning sun, an inspiring event was unfolding place at Xidan Commercial area, Mr. Xie Zhenhua, then Administrator of NEPA and now Minister of SEPA, and Mr. Liu Yi, then the new Director of China’s Ozone Layer Protection unit, were standing at the huge entrance of the market along with other high government officers and UNEP’s representatives. They were distributing UNEP posters translated into Chinese to the consumers that had come there for holiday shopping. The message Mr. Xie and Mr. Yi were giving with the help of UNEP was simple: do not buy products containing Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) – they destroy the Earth’s ozone shield. To attract the shoppers’ attention, NEPA had arranged for a band of school children to be present to sing songs about environmental protection. There were no international consultants, no scientific...
Read More

Green Customs

Environmental crime is a big and increasingly lucrative business – a multi-billion dollar global enterprise. Local and international crime syndicates worldwide earn an estimated US$ 22-31 billion dollars annually from hazardous waste dumping, smuggling proscribed hazardous materials, and exploiting and trafficking protected natural resources. Illegal international trade in commodities such as ozone depleting substances (ODSs), toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes and endangered species is an international problem with serious consequences. It directly threatens human health and the environment, contributes to species loss, and results in revenue loss for governments. Illegal trade in environmentally-sensitive commodities strengthens criminal organizations that also traffic in drugs, weapons and prostitution.  It also seriously undermines the effectiveness of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) by circumventing rules and procedures agreed in international treaties. National and international regimes for integrated chemical management rely on customs to monitor and control flows of regulated chemicals at borders. International agreements related to chemical management...
Read More