Most of the friends and relatives and those I meet around the world ask me the question ‘How did you enter into United Nations’? Frankly, they should ask me more important question: ‘how come I stayed there so long?’ . I am certainly not a very diplomatic person. Nor I had any background of working in the government system. Then how come?

Crossing the boundaries, raising the bars, making the meetings gusty, intense sharing of the ideas to make the dreams come true are my passions. I strongly believe that nothing can stop, not even the powerful missile shield in the world, the implementation of ideas whose time has come. Many call such time as ‘tipping point’.

Action is the core of all the intensions, all the discussions, all the writing and all the speeches that I made. My first job in Tata Chemicals involved making chemicals from the sea water. In the book titled “The Creation of Wealth” by R.M Lala who wrote about passionate and committed CEO , Mr. Darbari Seth, under whom I workd during my first job after graduating from IIT-Mumbai. . He built one of the ‘modern temples’ of India i.e. chemical complex in a desolate, barren and ‘no entrepreneur-dare-put-up-manufacturing-facility’ type of place where nothing was right to set up such complex. But he had one motto: we can do it!

My last job is in UN. My programme is called ‘OzonAction’. I am so happy that the programme did more walk than talk. In a place where bingos take precedence over meaningful actions, I performed.

Bottom Acts while Top Keeps Debating: Climate Awards


When Shanti Tekam, a woman from a remote MP village, walked on to the stage on 13 September  night to receive 2015 Earth Care Award ( ECA) on behalf of her community, for saving forest of her neighbourhood, she represented  disruptive innovations  for Global Climate conundrum. (more…)

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Earth Care Awards : India’s Leading Climate Leadership Saga

ECA Award

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Urban Forestry Project Launched

Urban forestA joint project of TERRE, MOEFCC of India, Tata Motors and Pune citizen.

 ‘THE BEST TIME TO PLANT A TREE WAS 20 YEARS AGO. THE NEXT BEST TIME IS TODAY.’ And if such plantation is done in the middle of urban center like growing city of Pune, this Chinese proverb inspires to act. TERRE policy centre did just that. It launched Urban Forestry Programme by undertaking tree plantation programme on the occasion of World Environment Day of 2015.

In association with Ministry of Environment, Forest, Climate Change (MOEFCC) of India and TATA Motors , TERRE on World Environment Day planted 4000 trees at SmritiVan ( A Forest of Memories) located at the helmet in the heart of city of Pune. Hon’ble Minister Prakash Javadekar, launched the project by planting a tree in presence of thousands of enthusiastic urbanites.

For the first time in the history, according to UN report, half of the world population already live in the cities and by 2050 it will be 70 percent. “Forest lands in urban areas need to be converted into green cover with public participation” said Mr. Javadekar. Earlier, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in New Delhi launched the nation wide ‘Urban Forestry’ project. Urban forest lands in the cities in India will be converted into forest land under the project . Maharashtra State forest minister Mr. Mungantiwar also urged people to take the initiative to plant & grow more trees to help ourselves.

 “ Urban forests will be the essential lungs of the cities and would provide wide range of ecosystem services like clean the air and water, temper floods, provide water and food, and conserve biodiversity”, stated Rajendra Shende , Chairman of TERRE.” The breadth of ecosystem services provided by nature is often undervalued if we consider reduction in noise noise , increase physical and psychological wellbeing, regulate the local climate, sequester CO2, and provide renewable energy”, he added. TERRE Policy Centre urged people to be a part of the mission by planting trees in memory of their beloved.

The site of Smritivan at Warje, Pune is the land under forest department. The total land of 60 Hectors is now reduced to only 16 hectors due to encroachment . The hill which was barren, now has been flourishing with trees. The 1st stage of plantation was done on Jan 2015 and 2nd stage included plantation on 6th June.

Urban forestry is the aggregation of all vegetation and green spaces within urban areas. The main aim of the urban forestry is to provide recreation to the urban people, to decrease the pollution hazard in urban environment and to create the awareness about the nature & environment. It includes multi managerial system such as watershed management, landscape designing, urban park, industrial shelter bed, urban composites and wilderness trial.

Due to industries, vehicles, urban environment is highly polluted. The tree cover in urban acts as the carbon sink which absorbs greenhouse gases like CO2 and many other industrial effluents. Apart from this urban green cover helps to prevent soil erosion, help ground water recharge and augment water conservation, decrease temperature, improve air quality.

Along with environmental benefits, urban forestry also social benefits . Urban forestry provides employments to local people. It supports livestock, augments human nutrition. Urban forestry reduces the adverse impacts of pollution on human health physically & mentally, ultimately it helps improving the human working capacity. END

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Indian Monsoon : DeFacto Finance Minister of India!

Monsoon Dr. Sabale
While Finance Minister in New Delhi presents India’s finance budget by end of February every year, the real finance minister who is also minister of oceans, skies and soil, starts presenting its budget some time in June every year. (more…)

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Earth Day-Giving Back to Mother

Earth Day 2015 Most of the international days are first declared in United Nations General Assembly. Earth Day of 22 April , is however, one of those days that have emerged through ‘United Peoples’ global assembly. (more…)

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An uncomfortable relationship-divorce or reconciliation?

RDV March 2015

Switching-on lights in your room would affect the life of tribal-women far away. Export of sugar is not only sweet trade. It is also trade in fresh water. (more…)

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Talking and Listening to the Future


Youth are the representatives of our common future. Listening to them is the seminal need of today. TERRE Launched new Initiative in partnership with educational institutes. (more…)

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With India’s Federal Minister Suresh Prabhu, giving awards for Sustainable Leadership

With Suresh Prabhu

21 Industry Leaders including ITC, HPCL, Kirloskar Oil Engines, Schneider Electric and ITC Windsor felicitated at the Parivartan Sustainability Leadership Awards 2014


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Javadekar finally makes it to London Film Festival of TERRE

Lawadekar London

TERRE and Sanskriti organized Environmental Film Festival. Interesting article by Prasun Sonwalkar of  Hindustan Times


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London International Film Festival Hosted by TERRE and Sanskruti

Invitation CardLondon EFF
London International Environmental Film Festival .
Hosted by multi-location TERRE Policy Centre who is partner with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and London-based Sanskruti Centre. The Venue is Digital Theatre, London.12-13 September 2014. The event is supported by Earth Care Award of JSW Foundation.
Hon Prakash Jawadekar, Minsiter of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Information and Broadcasting would speak via video in inauguration.
Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under-Secretary will render the inaugural address on 12th September for State and junior Minister for Energy and Climate Change. Eminent speakers Sally Case, Chief Executive of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and Rajendra Shende, former Director of United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) will also be speaking on the occasion. Films ranging about 5-14 minutes each in duration and connected to the Environment and impact of Climate Change on communities, biodiversity and culture will be screened. Films include Melting of Himalayas, Leopards in the Lurch, the Silenced Witness, The Last Dance etc. by acclaimed directors like Kalpana Subrahmanian, Ashima Narain, Gurmeet Sapal and Sonya Kapoor.

Guests (on both days) must be present by 5.30 pm. Drinks/light snacks are available.
Please RSVP
Ragasudha Vinjamuri , Academic Tutor, University of Sunderland, Fellow, Royal Society of Arts, Director, Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence
“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon”- ― Paul Brandt

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Improving Cookstoves need human face : TERRE’s Policy recommendations

Cook stoves

“ Improving the bio-mass based cook stoves used by more than 2 billion bottom-of-the-pyramid people globally is not a merely technology issue. It needs human face”, said Rajendra Shende Chairman of TERRE, India (more…)

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Energy Efficient low-GWP Room and Mobile Air-Conditioning

Pune round table

  • ASHRAE -Pune Chapter, IGSD , TERRE, and other organizations,  interacted and agreed to continue dialogue with RAMA, BEE, Government of India on Energy Efficiencies , TEWI/LCCP for the alternatives for RAC and MAC.

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Shunya ( Zero) ready to shine

Team Shunya

Team Shunya from IIT Bombay has been selected for Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 in France, where the students will build the solar house for the Indian middle class.TERRE is knowledge partner. (more…)

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Forgotten Opportunity to Reduce Global warming


Rajendra Shende, Chairman TERRE Policy Centre was in the Steering Committee of the project of preparing a report which analyses the sources of N2O, its quantities, future projections and ways to reduce its emissions, its cost and benefits.  (more…)

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Malala Speaks as Action Starts in remote town in India

Malala at UN

We realize the importance of light when we see darkness”, said Malala Yousafzai, today while speaking at United Nations in New York.  On the same day,12th July, TERRE Policy Centre and Barefoot Power India commissioned a solar charging station, in Kanyashala ( girl’s school ) in tiny town of Rahimatpur. (more…)

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World Heritage and Sustainable Local Development

World Heritage and Local development COMPACT

Though they have defined boundaries, World Heritage sites are very much a part of the communities in which they are located. As such, they provide rich opportunities to develop and promote effective models for integrating compatible human uses with the protection of ecosystem functions and biodiversity.

World Heritage sites have the potential to show- case the effective integration of sustainable local development with conservation by demonstrating how conservation can contribute to local and national economic development, culture, and pride.

TERRE Policy Centre has undertaken to work in the Western Ghats of India in its northern cluster to demonstrate that without development conservation is not possible and sustained conservation needs sustainable development of local communities. READ Updated Report Card as of June 2013.


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Small First Steps to begin the Long March

Grama Sabha in Kasai Devi temple

Grama Sabha in Kasai Devi temple

Small Progress with Big Prospects

World Natural Heritage Kaas Plateau

Within a space of less than one year, a small and symbolic progress made by the local community around Kaas Plateau –one of the 39 sites in the Western Ghats of India that is inscribed by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage- goes on to support the doctrine that Heritage sites can be leveraged for the sustainable development of the local com m unities.

UNESCO during the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in 2012 targeted communication campaign, with a focus on World Heritage linked to the Sustainable Development and the Role of Local Communities.

With Local MLA and legislators

With Local MLA and legislators

TERRE Policy Centre along with RANWATA and the local community took the challenge in association with the local forest officers to make a small beginning towards leveraging the Heritage site for sustainable development. We strongly believe that sustainably developed community can conserve the nature in sustainable way.

What follows in this brief report is glimpse of these hopes.

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Save Kaas: Save Heritage

KaasKaas Plateau, at the Northern end of the Western Ghats of India, at the height of 1500 meters is the nature’s wonder. It blooms with extraordinary variety of 450 species of colorful wild flowers annually. (more…)

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DrKalamA project conceived in Africa,   a land that conceived the humanity

Like many inventions, the origin of SolarChill was happenstance. Serendipity is the word!


During the International Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in 2000 in Ouagadougou, some delegates participated in a field visit that took them through the Burkina Faso countryside. While watching rural villages pass by their bus window, I , as the representative of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and  the representative of Greenpeace, Janos mate ,  noticed that the communities there are financially poor but rich in two key elements: children- the wealth of the country, and sunlight, a limitless energy source if it could be tapped.

The activity that I started with WHO ( World Health Organization) , for replacing the CFCs in the vaccine refrigerators by non-CFCs was quite fresh in my mind. Such replacement was essential as CFCs would be eventually be phased out as per the requirements of the Montreal Protocol.

Looking out of the bus window at the children of the rural poor and thinking about their fragile health situation, it occurred to me that plenty of sunshine does not mean plenty of health. Some children, carrying their sick younger brothers and sisters, were looking at us as if we were from other planets. I thought that if we could develop a vaccine cooler that uses the solar energy so abundant in Burkina Faso and other developing countries, and if we develop vaccine cooler/refrigerator that uses the solar energy so abundantly available there, and non-CFC (  ozone friendly) , non-HFC (climate friendly )  refrigerants it will be environmentally perfect product . Such product, we  will be able to reach to these and millions of the poor children and improve their health. I mentioned my thoughts to Janos .

I also said that it is not necessary to return to live in ‘caves’ to protect the environment as some may think. We can use modern technology like that of refrigerator with innovative techniques that are environment friendly, pro-poor, health-focus and pro-development at the same time.

Janos was very receptive, Greenpeace has been instrumental in spread of the Hydrocarbon refrigerators in the world. . he understood the importance of the idea that I mentioned to him.

What started as an idea became an investigation of possibilities and finally transformed into action through partnership. Thus was born SolarChill.   Africa is the origin of humanity. So also that of SolarChill!

As we all know, the vaccination programmes of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have been instrumental in saving millions of lives, particularly in developing countries. It is rightly known as one of the success stories in human history. The eradication of diseases like polio and smallpox would not have been possible without such vaccination programmes. The vaccine coolers used in such immunization programmes worked very inefficiently due to non-availability or inadequate supply of grid electricity. In cases where kerosene is used for the vaccine cooler, supply of kerosene was not satisfactory and it contributed to pollution and global warming. Use of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) makes these coolers ozone depleting and use of alternatives to CFCs i.e. Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) makes them global warming.

The SolarChill that we imagined had obvious advantages over the prevalent vaccine coolers.

We, UNEP and Greenpeace , decided to contact WHO and UNICEF, to explore the possibility of forming the partnership to develop such ‘dream’ vaccine cooler by forming the partnership. We were joined later by other partners in the private sector as well as technical institute i.e. Danish technical Institute who was toying with such idea for some time already.

Rest is the story of 6 years that included series of meetings of partners, assembly of the prototype, trials in the laboratory and in the field, monitoring of the results and mobilization of resources. Each partner leveraged its inherent comparative advantage in developing the technology. UNEP used its convening power to get the stakeholders over the common platform to start and facilitate the consultations through out the process.

The award is result of all that hard and collective work of the partners, the team of OzonAction in Paris that worked on the project and encouragement received from the Director of Paris office of UNEP.

President of India became first buyer of SolarChillThe President of India ,  DR. A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM in 2005 invited me for a brief chat on OzonAction programme of UNEP DTIE, when he heard of the award  OzonAction programme won for the ‘ Innovation and Leadership’ for assisting the developing countries to implement the Montreal Protocol. I took the opportunity to inform him about the partnership to develop the SolarChill technology. He was very keen and requested to keep him informed on the progress. The President could see the huge importance of SolarChill for the developing countries , particularly in saving the lives of the rural children and women who do not have access to the electricity and effective vaccines.

Later when all the partners of the SolarChill gathered at Paris office of UNEP DTIE after the field trials were successful and when the strategy for the deployment of the SolarChill technology was being discussed, it was felt that it is important  to get SolarChill known to the world community. One of the ways to do this was to position the working models in the international meetings and at the visible places.  Recalling my discussions with the President in 2005 and based on the wishes from the partners, I wrote to his office. The President’s office immediately  informed that the President t is not only keen to install and operate two units in the clinic of the Presidential Complex ( around Rashtrapati Bhavan) but was very keen to buy these units and not to get them free.

Mr. Ashok Mangotra , Joint Secretary in the office of the President, himself an enthusiastic supporter of renewable energy, facilitated the whole process of installation.

The ceremony of handing over of the SolarChill by the partners to the President and handing over of the cheque by the President to the Partners took place place on 1st November 2005.

That was just part of journey of SolarChill. The development continues.

See: and

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Making the river flow

Stream Restoration Project

Kamandalu Rivulet of Rahimatpur-Western India

30 Jan 2010

This project  proposal is about the water stream restoration project envisioned for the rivulet   called ‘Kamandalu” –a tributary of major River-Krishna in India. The rivulet runs through the town of Rahimatpur in District Satara, State of Maharashtra. I am quite attached to this project and also to the town where I studied as student for some years .


The present state of this rivulet is witness of the adverse impacts of so called development and growth in the Indian towns. People of Rahimatpur, nearly three   decades back, were dependent on water of this rivulet for drinking as well as for other purposes..  Hence the rivulet was maintained well by the people of the town. I used to carry the water from rivulet to my house in the pots when I was student there. Then as part of the town development, in 70’s the water distribution scheme was implemented in Rahimatpur. The water from river Krishna is now pumped, filtered, stored and distributed by pipes to the households. As the tapped water is now available for last 30 years, the Kamandalu rivulet is totally neglected and is used as dumping place for the solid waste from the town and to let the drainage flow into the rivulet. This has created health hazard, loss of water body, loss of flora and fauna and natural resource for the population of the town.

Expected outcomes of the water stream restoration project will include improved health and sanitation conditions,  improved riverine ecosystem, improved quality of water, minimize and hopefully eliminate the stream contamination and pollution arising from tributaries of the stream originating from the town, possible harvesting of useful biomass from around the stream buffer area, re-establishing the living character of stream water, improving biodiversity which will help the surrounding agriculture as well.  One major benefit would be effective waste management of the town which at present uses the rivulet for dumping the town waste.

The scope includes capacity building measures for all the stakeholders to ensure participative approach in designing and operating the restoration, survey and detailed assessment of land use and water use, ensuring measures and interventions such as root zoning, introduction of in-stream vegetation, bank stabilization through introduction on riparian vegetation, energy plantation for tributary de-contamination, introducing grasses and reeds for harvesting as also sanitation facilities for the upstream temple complex, measures to minimize impact of social events like annual festivals and weekly bazaars etc.


This proposal therefore targets an integrated approach to remedy and help local stakeholder groups initiate and sustain preventive management of its water resource. The logical framework that binds these interventions highlights the need for locally relevant practices guided by empirical evidences regarding the qualitative and quantitative profiles of the resource and the impacts of perturbations.

Duration of the proposed project is for 3 year and expects at the end of this period to have consolidated local capacity to continue to monitor and manage ongoing progress of the stream and associated natural assets.  The idea is to develop capacity with field work for restoration whereby the local community looks at water source as a central theme in overall land use and other civic services planning.

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Cool House Project

coolhouse2Cool House without AC project description

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