Beijing: Rajendra Shende, chairman of TERRE Policy Centre, an IIT alumnus and former director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has recently been appointed as Honorary Chairman of the International Advisory Council of the ‘Operation Earth’, a China-based civil society organisation dedicated to biodiversity conservation and global climate change.
It is the first ever high-level appointment by any civil society organisation in China after President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s informal Wuhan Summit at the end of April that emphasised the need for ‘people to people’ dialogue. Shende has been appointed for a five-year term from 2018 to 2023.
The mission of Operation Earth, a partner member of International Union for Conservation of Nature, is to provide scientific basis for the response plan for global climate change and the conservation of ecosystems. It aims to contribute to the sustainable management plan of natural resources.
Engaging the youth and building their skills in environmental field research programs, which aren’t usually taught in academics, are the unique focus domains of Operation Earth. Efforts to conserve the Amazon rainforest ecosystem, East Africa black rhinos, Arctic ecology, the wetland ecosystem of Mekong, the marine ecosystem of the Galapagos, the Mt. Altay ecosystem in China, and of the giant pandas are some of the initiatives by Operation Earth.
“I welcome Rajendra Shende to head the International Advisory Council of Operation Earth in China. Mr. Shende is already acquainted with China’s environmental challenges since his UNEP days. Operation Earth would benefit greatly from his global expertise on protection of Ozone Layer and addressing climate change,’ said Chen Liangzhong, founder CEO of Operation Earth and former World Bank consultant.
Reacting to the appointment, Shende, who was recently on a lecture tour in China on invitation by some of the top universities, including Nanjing University and Tsinghua University, to talk on climate change and world peace, said, “This is tremendous opportunity to build youth to youth contact between China and India to address common environmental challenges.”
Shende is also a member of the advisory board of Panda Guide, a CSR programme of China’s third largest public sector company Sinochem, which has global business in energy and agriculture.
He has also accepted the invitation by Professor Jinfeng Zhou, a professor at the Institute of President Xi Jinping Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era at Beijing University, to join the board of advisors of China Biodiversity Conservation Global Development Foundation.