UN Outer Space Office to have Indian-origin British expert at the helm

Aarti Holla-Maini who has been appointed director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. Photo: IANS

United Nations: Indian-origin expert Aarti Holla-Maini has been appointed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as the head of the Office for Outer Space Affairs.

Announcing the nomination, Guterres’s Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Monday that she “brings to this position over 25 years of professional experience in the space sector including in managerial and advocacy functions”.

Haq also said that Usha Rao-Monari of India will be leaving her position as the associate administrator of the UN Development Programme which has the rank of Under Secretary General and will be succeeded by Haoliang Xu of China.

The Vienna-based UN space office “works to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of space, and in the utilisation of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development”, Haq said.

Holla-Maini, who is from Britain, has been the Secretary-General of the Global Satellite Operators Association, Executive Vice President at NorthStar Earth and Space, and founder and President of Orbitz Consulting.

She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Satellite Industry Association of India.

Rao-Monari, who is an infrastructure investment expert, previously served as CEO of Global Water Development Partners, a Blackstone company where she was also a senior advisor before her appointment to the UN post in 2021.

She was also a director of the Sustainable Business Advisory Group at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

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