Serving the Organisation that serves Humanity

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My UN odyssée 

I had 20 years of dream that did not allow me to sleep quietly . On UN public service day today I recall OzonAction Programme that I started with my 2 colleagues in 1992 in UNEP’s Paris office to assist 146 developing countries to enable them to comply with the Montreal Protocol. by 2012 , when the Montreal Protocol was declared as the singularly successful programme of UN ever, my OzonAction  Programme had 50 colleagues of 35 nationalities and with perfect gender equality at all levels, in its 5 offices -Paris, Bangkok, Bahrain, Panama city and Nairobi.  

The objective of the Montreal Protocol was achieved by setting the Stratospheric Ozone Layer on unwavering path of recovery. What could be more satisfying than playing humble role of serving the humanity by protecting the life from disaster of ozone layer depletion? It was not only me, it was collective, consolidated and comprehensive efforts by other UN agencies, countries and most importantly scientists. 

I recall today, the scientists who led the hypothesis that later proved to be right beyond any doubt.  The cause and effect dynamics of man-made chemicals and their impact on  complex atmospheric chemistry which I call it as ‘ balanced chemistry’ made imbalanced by man’s intervention.

Dr Rajendra Shende with Lt.  Mario J. Molina

Three Nobel Laureats,  Paul J. Crutzen who died  recently on 28 January 2021,  Mario J. Molina who left us on 7 October 2020 and F. Sherwood Rowland  who was first of the three Laureates to leave the world on 10 March 2012 but not before CFC was phased out from the world, did very real service to the humanity by providing the  ‘ Early-warning’ of the impending disaster, unlike the present pandemic sudden crisis of COVID19. 

The Montreal Protocol, whose implementation I experienced from the close quarters, being part of it in the thick of crisis and even led the team that did Herculean efforts of capacity building of the developing countries made me learn the book of lessons of 21st century. Had we learned these lessons  three centuries back when Industrial revolution started, the world would have been better plan place to live. Ironically we are preparing to leave the world! 

The United Nations Public Service Day is celebrated every year on 23 June with the aim to appreciate the value of public service to the common people. It highlights the contribution and role of public service in the development process all over the world.

This day acknowledges the work done by public servants, their dedication towards the effort, and encourages young people to pursue careers in the public sector or office.

Theme for United Nations Public Service Day 2021 is “Innovating the Future Public Service: New Government Models for a New Era to Reach the SDGs”.I am fortunate that after my work in UNEP now I am leading a team to work with Universities to mainstream SDGs in the lives of youth-tomorrows policy makers- through an innovative project of TERRE Policy Centre ( see: i.e. Smart Campus Cloud Network ( see: . The project with 350+ registered campuses of educational institutes are making small beginning of the  long-march towards 17 SDGs, that include one of the goals ‘ Well Being and Health’, so crucial for the pandemic that the world is facing now. . What more: the project uses the latest digital technologies for implementation and monitoring. I am also fortunate to continue my service as  India’s nominated Senior Expert to UNEP’s Technology and Economic Assessment Panel ( TEAP). 
My journey is from global service to local service that is poised to go global again. On this day let me salute the  public who accepted my modest services and allowed me to continue to serve them.  END

Notes : 

1. United Nations Public Service Day celebration in 2021

Due to the ongoing pandemic and lockdown in many countries, the event this year will be a virtual one where the Division of Public Institutions and Digital Government of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, are coming together with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to host a one-and-a-half-hour event online.

This event will bring together key stakeholders, public servants and UN officials from all over the world to respect and honour the work of public servants.

2. Origin of United Nations Public Service Day

The General Assembly on 20 December 2002, selected 23 June as Public Service Day after adopting a resolution 57/277. To recognise the day, the United Nations established the UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) programme in 2003, which was later reviewed in 2016 to align with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Meanwhile, the UNPSA aims to reward innovation and excellence in public services that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide.

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