Malini is an award-winning civil society leader with three decades of experience in the sustainability, climate change and human rights fields. She joined the parliamentary organisation, GLOBE International, in November 2014 as chief executive of the international secretariat. At GLOBE she has developed new initiatives, including treaty coherence & convergence; legislative-judiciary dialogues on climate change; democracy & governance; gender equality; citizenship education and youth engagement, including the Student-MP Climate Surgeries. Under her leadership, GLOBE International has become the Focal Point for the Parliamentary Group at the UN Convention on Climate Change, and a key partner for the other Rio Conventions on biodiversity, desertification and the UN’s Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction.
Over a distinguished international career, Malini has founded an award-winning Indian NGO, Centre for Social Markets (CSM), working on corporate responsibility and climate change; led international campaigns for Oxfam and Friends of the Earth International, including at the UN Beijing Women’s Conference (1995), UNFCCC Kyoto Climate Conference (1997) and OECD Multilateral Agreement on Investment. As Director of the People’s Decade for Human Rights Education she led work on the World Trade Organisation and at the infamous ‘Battle of Seattle‘ (1999).
In the mid-2000s, Malini served in the UK government, where she led on international sustainable development and established pioneering inter-governmental partnerships with China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. She has worked with the United Nations system for 25+ years, including serving as adviser to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on UN-civil society reform; campaigning at the Commission on Sustainable Development; co-authoring the UN’s influential Human Development Reports; and advising bodies including UNICEF and UNCTAD. Presently she serves as an adviser to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and lectures at the UN’s Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.
Malini has served on numerous international nonprofit boards, including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Rugmark International; as well as on the advisory boards of the world’s leading companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Kimberly-Clark, Tetra Pak, BHP Billiton and 10 years on Unilever’s top sustainability body. She has served as Ambassador for Sweden’s Global Challenges Foundation and is an Ambassador for the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Foundation UK. She is the Chair of the Institute for European Environmental Policy UK, advises EcoPeace MiddleEast, and has served on numerous non-profit boards including China Dialogue, India Climate Dialogue, Global Reporting Initiative, Sir Heinz Koeppler Trust and others.
A political scientist and gender specialist by training, Malini has a BA degree in women’s studies and government from Smith College (USA), an MA in Gender & Development from the Institute for Development Studies (Univ of Sussex), and has conducted post-graduate work in India on population policy and politics. She has published on subjects ranging from women’s reproductive rights, climate change, trade and human rights, and sustainable development for local authorities. Her influential 2007 pamphlet, Climate Change: Why India needs to take leadership, was the first to argue a pro-active leadership agenda for the country, and her film In Good Company (2009), launched at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, was the first to highlight the contribution of Indian companies and entrepreneurs to climate action.
Malini’s honours include Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, Asian Woman of the Year, Asia 21 Young Leader of the Asia Society, and CNN / TIME magazine Principal Voice.
An Indian citizen, she has lived and worked across the world and speaks six languages. She is now based in her adopted home of London with her husband and three children. Since 2017, Malini has served as a Commissioner on Sustainable Development to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and she is an Ambassador for London Climate Action Week. She is also the founder of the Teach A Girl to Swim campaign, swimming 500+ km across the world to raise awareness of the hidden global epidemic of drowning.
PERSONAL BACKGROUND AND INTERESTS
Malini comes from the state of Punjab in India and grew up across northern and eastern India. Her family roots are in the cities of Lahore, Amritsar, Delhi and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and the Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh. Coming from a family whose roots lay in two ethnic regions that were divided along religious lines, Punjab and Bengal, she has a lifelong commitment to inter-religious communal harmony and peace-building and works to promote these issues in India, Pakistan and the Middle East. Her mother’s family was active in India’s independence struggle and her great uncle, Pyarelal Nayyar, was personal secretary to and biographer of Mahatma Gandhi. Her aunt, Pushpa Anand, the Reverend Ma, was a personal role model who founded an ecumenical religious centre, the Arpana Trust, which runs some of northern India’s largest social welfare programmes. Malini is a railway child who grew up on India’s great railways, where her father was an IAS officer and entrepreneur who went on to found and lead India’s Institute of Directors (IOD).
Other than work and family, Malini has many interests. She is a keen runner and swimmer and has completed several marathons, triathlons and 10k swims for charity. History is a particular passion (especially political and women’s history), as are gardening and spending time in the great outdoors.