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NAIR BEDOUELLE Shamila photo small

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle is the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle took up her new duties as the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in April 2019. A strong advocate for enhancing womens’ role in science and engineering, she launched UNEP’s first training program for women technicians. Nair-Bedouelle holds a Ph.D. in life sciences from the University of Capetown in South Africa. She pursued her research career at the Institut Pasteur in Paris then within the pharmaceutical industry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has published in numerous scientific journals and is the co-inventor of several patents. She has been the Director of Research at the University of Paris V in France since 2000 and was nominated as the First Class Director of Research at INSERM in 2017. From 2002 to 2007, she was seconded from INSERM to the European Commission to serve as the Scientific Officer and the Deputy Scientific Coordinator of Scientific Programmes. In January 2007, Nair-Bedouelle was seconded from INSERM to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to head its Ethics of Science and Technology program. Eighteen months later, she joined UNESCO’s Sector for Natural Sciences as the Chief of the Unit for Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action within the Division for Science Policy and Capacity-building. Here, she managed the United Nations Cluster for Science and Technology in Africa and represented UNESCO at the African Ministerial Council for Science and Technology. As the Coordinator of the Working Group on Gender Equality at UNESCO from January 2010 onward, she launched the first Science Camp for Girls in South Africa and coordinated science education projects on the continent. Africa remained the focus of her work at the Africa Department, where she evaluated UNESCO’s scientific programs on the continent from January 2012 onward before taking up her new functions as the Director of OzonAction at UNEP.