Rajendra Shende comes from a unique breed of technologists who create fusion of policy making and diplomacy. He believes that targeting 17 Sustainable Development and marching to achieve their 169 targets need such diplomacy at international platform. At the same time he strongly advocated a simple ‘ just do it’ approach when it comes to life-threatening global issues like climate change and ozone Layer depletion.
As former Director at United Nations Environment Programme ( UNEP) in Paris he used this magic amalgamation to implement the enabling activities for the protection of the stratospheric ozone layer and climate protection. More than 146 developing countries he got into 10 regional and sub-regional networks along with 2-3 developed country representatives in each of these networks. That mega partnership under the international treaty of the Montreal Protocol showed the quick results in policy making and technology transfer. The Ozone Layer depletion was halted
Post UNEP and after a stint as Chairman of TERRE Policy Centre , he has founded Green TERRE Foundation that promotes sustainable solutions to our developmental imperatives. His Motto is ‘To Think is good, to Act is better and to Achieve is the Best ’.
He is a strong believer in the Confucius principle that unless we act and ‘walk the talk’ the transformation will remain a dream. His favourite quote is from Dr Abdul Kalam , former President of India: ‘Dream is not what one gets in sleep , it is the one that does not let you sleep’.
Rajendra Shende is a graduate of Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay ( IIT) considered as a world-recognized institute that selects crème-de-la-crème young students through breath-taking competition. It imparts not only education but incubates ‘technological-wisdom’ to build skills needed to enable their transformation from students to well-groomed global citizens. IITs are acclaimed as mix of 3 universities : Harvard, MIT and Princeton of USA. IITs are centres to harness and nurture potential of youth to skill students to become responsive corporate leaders and responsible stewards for the environmental, social and governance for sustainable future.
Mr. Shende has had a distinguished career in the United Nations starting from Coordinator to Director that illustrates his policy leadership role in the strategizing and delivering of sustainable development agenda at national and international level. His unrelenting efforts and expertise that he gained in the private sector like Tata Chemicals proved to be the effective foundations for his success in UNEP.
He was heading the Energy and OzonAction Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme, Division of the Technology, Industry and Economics ( UNEP DTIE), in Paris with the annual budget of about US$ 25 million, with his team of 50 staff from 35 nationalities. His programme operated from UNEP’s four Regional Offices with Paris office as head quarter.
He closely worked with governments and industry to provide strategic guidance on policy and technology on a multitude of benefits from global environmental accords. ?He is expert on transfer of environmentally sound technologies and the implementation of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in the developing countries and countries with economies in transition ( former Soviet Union countries. His activities spanned across the world and included the specific capacity building and technology support projects in 147 countries that were engaged in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol to protect the Ozone Layer.? He has helped more than 100 national governments in developing their strategies and action plan to comply with the Montreal Protocol.
Before joining the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mr. Shende gained experience of nearly 20 years in one of the well-known corporate sector companies including a group of Tata in India. He rose to a senior corporate management position in charge of large scale project management, research and development, diversification, environmental impact assessment, cleaner production and renewable energy.
His achievements during his work in the private sector include: successfully led the team of engineers and managers in setting up of the large project to manufacture high engineering plastic ( PTFE-Teflon) , developing the cleaner and energy-efficient process to manufacture the semi-synthetic antibiotics, developing alternatives for Ozone Depleting Substances and deployment of renewable energy in the operation of the chemical industry.
In 1988 he was nominated by Government of India on the National Task Force to carve out India’s strategy leading towards its ratification of the Montreal Protocol. Later as, private sector representative and advisor, he was part of India’s international negotiating team for establishing the financial mechanism for the implementation of MEA i.e. the Multilateral Fund for the implementation of Montreal Protocol on the substances that deplete the Ozone Layer. It remains the most successful global environment fund with more than US 3.5 Billion already allocated to the developing countries.
He joined UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics in Paris in 1992 as Programme Coordinator to launch the capacity building and technology transfer programme to implement the Montreal Protocol in the developing countries. As Programme leader he set up the systems for the global cooperation among the developing countries and countries with economies in transition as well as between the developed and developing countries. He pioneered new approaches to mainstream small countries in the implementation of the Global Environmental Accords.
In 1999 he was appointed at Director’s level on the higher post as Chief of Energy and OzonAction Branch. It was the first time the UNEP Division initiated the Energy Programme. Policy advice to the governments on energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change activities for the benefit of the developing countries were the key activities that he undertook. He has also organized workshops on Clean Development Mechanism in more than 20 countries under the Kyoto Protocol. His main achievements in UNEP included the innovative mechanisms i.e. South-South cooperation, regional networking, participatory process for developing country strategy for implementation of the Montreal Protocol, decentralized information clearinghouse, training for the customs officers, refrigerant management plans, terminal phase-out management plans were some of such approaches that he developed were highly successful and became models for the implementation of other Multilateral Environmental Agreements . He led the global activity for developing the country programmes and institutional strengthening projects in more than 140 developing countries and countries with economies in transition ( CEITs) .
He was also Review Editor for IPCC Special Report on Technology Transfer. Importantly, he was Coordinating Lead Author for IPCC/TEAP special report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and global climate system which was part of the Climate Change Assessment report of IPCC that won 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He has received the Nobel Peace Prize Certificate and appreciation from Chairman of IPCC and also from Executive Director of UNEP for his contribution to IPCC.
Developing partnerships with the industries, international organizations, academia and NGOs have been his forte. Such an approach has set up new directions to enable countries to meet compliance with the MEAs.
Mr. Shende was instrumental in developing the bilateral cooperation with a large number of developed countries to assist the developing countries for the ozone layer protection and safeguarding climate. It included Japan, Sweden, Australia, France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, Finland, Canada, USA, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Hungary and The Netherlands that provided the resources and also? the expertise to support his programme’s initiative. It resulted into innovative activities like networking (with Sweden), innovative Financing and Recovery/recycling/destruction as well as alternative technology case studies (with Japan), Energy-efficient Phase-out of ODS (with the USA), Green Customs Initiative (with Norway and the Czech Republic).
Programm’s Partnership with Industry in developed and developing countries? His programme has been an active sponsor of Earth Technology Forum organized by The International Climate Change Partnership, The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy with the support of USEPA. Through such active participation and particularly through the developing country round-tables that he helped in organizing, a very effective transfer of technologies have taken place from the developed to developing countries. His contribution to form other partnerships like Voluntary Pledge? by the private sector to assist the developing countries to phase out ODS has resulted in building the partnership of nearly 40 companies in the USA and abroad. His active work on supporting the responsible use of HFCs– guidelines developed by The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and the responsible use of HFCs in Mobile Air Conditioning to reduce emissions and also to improve fuel efficiency has resulted in spreading the awareness about inter-linkages of the Ozone layer protection and Safeguarding climate in India and China. He was able to well integrate the Partnership of energy-efficient buildings into the other Programmes of his Division in Paris.
Leveraging the Synergies between MEAs through very practical examples has been his major contribution to the coherent and coordinated governance of the environmental issues. He has been able to facilitate the partnership for effective enforcement and compliance of the six Convention Secretariats ( CITES, Basel Convention, Montreal Protocol, Stockholm Convention, Rotterdam Convention, Chemical Weapon Treaties, Convention on Biodiversity) and three international organization ( World Customs Organization, INTERPOL and UNEP) to develop a capacity-building programme for the enforcement officers like Customs officers called ‘Green Customs Initiative.’ USDOJ and USDOS are the keen supporters of this programme that has already demonstrated the practical way to achieve the synergy. Government of India through its Central Excise and Customs Board of Ministry of Finance and Government of China are among developing countries that have been keenly supporting and benefiting from this initiative.
Solar Chill Partnership that he initiated includes the international organization like WHO, UNICEF, UNEP and NGOs like PATH, Greenpeace and private sector like Danfoss. The partnership aims at developing the vaccine cooler for the remote rural areas using solar energy without the use of batteries and that employs ozone and climate-friendly refrigerants. The prototypes are now ready for the approval by WHO. This partnership for the development of the SolarChill vaccine cooler won UK Industry award in 2006. President of India bought and installed the two such coolers in his Presidential clinic. This is for the first time that technology was developed in partnership and is in public domain for which commercial production has started.?
SolarChill Partnership is now supported by GEF funding and the product has now received the WHO approval for the use in the countries with higher temperature.
The partnership called “RefrigerantsNaturally” that he initiated and supported along with Greenpeace and engaged the partners like Coca Cola, Unilever, Pepsi and McDonalds to utilize the HFC free technologies where feasible has provided a basis for improving the energy efficiency in the operation of these enterprises. The partnership that has resulted in an effective change in the technologies of the supply chain of these enterprises now stands to expand to include Pepsi. The partnership has won the Climate Protection Award from USEPA in 2005.
Partnerships with airlines like Air India, and Air Mauritius,??that he initiated have now developed into the concrete measures that airline industry could undertake in raising awareness on global environmental issues through in-flight magazines and videos, energy-saving, Global Reporting Initiative, sustainable buildings and airports and waste management. Mr. Shende became focal point within UNEP for airlines-forum for the environmental and sustainable development initiative. The Partnership resulted in Air India receiving the 20th Anniversary Montreal Protocol award for the innovative mechanisms to raise awareness.
Some of the innovative awareness activities that he developed with UNESCO and WHOincluded education kit on Ozone layer protection, ‘Remembering our Future’ (inscribing the closed production sites of harmful chemicals as ‘environmental heritage site’ ), workshops for parliamentarians, and workshops for Journalists and media experts on MEAs.
In May 2005 his Programme became first Programme in the UN system to win the award from United States Environment Protection Agency-EPA for its work on the protection of the Ozone Layer.
His Programme received in December 2005 a special certificate from the President of Senegal on behalf of all the African countries for assisting the countries in African continent in building their capacity and providing technical support to implement the Montreal Protocol.
He received 20th Anniversary Montreal Protocol award for the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ in 2007. His programme also received the ‘Implementation Agency’ award in 2007.
In April 2009,?? he won 2009 Climate Protection award from United States EPA for his work in achieving climate benefits from the actions to protect the ozone layer.
In March 2010 he was honoured , on the occasion of golden jubilee year of State of Maharashtra, with the Y.B Chavan Award of the Excellence in Environment.
He received the certificate of appreciation from Environment Minister of Uganda on behalf of 53 African Countries for his dedicated work to assist the African countries.
The Public Private Partnership “RefrigerantsNaturally” initiated by him was awarded Roy Family award of Harvard Business School in 2011.
He has contributed by writing an invited chapter in a book on Technology Transfer –Lessons for the climate Change-supported by GEF and UNEP.
He has been interviewed in on national and international TV, news-papers and journals and delivered key note speakers in number of international conferences in Europe, America, and in developing countries, notably in MIT-USA, Beijing University, Press Club in Beijing, Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. Author of numerous published articles, three of his articles are chosen for the special compilation-book? of significant articles , published on the occasion of 20th?Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol in 2007.
After Dr Shende retired from UNEP, he focussed on the emerging issues and actions on the Climate Change and Sustainable Development.
After a stint as Chairman of TERRE Policy Centre, he founded Green TERRE Foundation and closely coordinated with Government of India and contributed to get UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage status for 39 sites in Western Ghats of India. He continues to engage in community dialogue under UNESCO’s project, by building consensus among local communities and evaluating the progress of the site-management.
Dr Shende provided advice to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on strategic interventions and consensus building at the international negotiations on multilateral environmental treaties.
Recognising that the progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change is slow, he has carved out the strategy to work with youth communities to initiate the ‘Change’, through a network of University Campus. A project called Smart Campus Cloud Network-SCCN, that Dr Shende has initiated and is mentoring has now spread across the globe with support of UNESCO-Paris. The project that he leads as founder Director of Green TERREE Foundation , encourages the practical work in the campus that contributes to SDGs and Carbon Neutrality, by deploying the modern technology and sharing the results of the activities through cloud networking.
The list of the national and international organisations for which Mr. Shende is advisor as well as the awards he is credited with after his UNEP career are listed in his detail CV (see under CV) . END