Team Members

Bhargavi Rao

Environmental Support Group

Bhargavi S. Rao works at the intersections of community action with law, policy, planning and governance. She has 25 years of experience across research, advocacy, campaign and teaching on a variety of human rights, governance and people-centred efforts in areas of environmental and social justice. She is currently Deputy Director, Centre for Financial Accountability and a trustee at ESG where she guides research initiatives and legal interventions. She has worked with the Public Health Foundation of India, Azim Premji Philanthropic initiatives and was Co-Director, International Honours Programme (Boston University & SIT) & Minnesota Studies in International Development, University of Minnesota. Her areas of research include environmental decision-making processes in the context of Mega Infrastructure Projects, Renewable Energy, Biodiversity, Waste Management, Governance, Public health, Urban issues and Traditional Livelihoods. She was a member of the SDG committee, GOK on goal 15. She teaches on faculty led Study Abroad programmes & is guest faculty at universities abroad, local educational institutions and corporates. She has contributed research papers in leading science journals, chapters to books and articles in magazines and dailies. She has contributed research papers in leading science journals, chapters to books and articles in magazines and dailies. The last year she has anchored a series of webinars on various public health and environment related themes and has been a speaker on many topics related to environmental and Social justice issues.

Leo Saldanha

Environment Support Group (ESG)

Leo F. Saldanha is full-time Coordinator of Environment Support Group (ESG), a research and advocacy initiative based in Bangalore, India. He has wide-ranging experience in Environmental Law and Policy, Decentralisation, Urban and Regional Planning and a variety of Human Rights and Development related issues gained from working across many sectors for about three decades. He is actively engaged in advancing research and advocacy initiatives on critical environmental and social justice concerns across India, and with several global research and advocacy networks. In addition, he is involved as Principal Investigator of the India component of the international project entitled ‘Governance of Socio-Technical Transformation’, a collaborative initiative of Harvard Kennedy School (USA), Helmholtz Institute (Germany), SPRU-Sussex University (UK), African Centre for Technology Studies (Kenya) and ESG. He is a key researcher in the multi country research project on COVID controversies initiated by Harvard Kennedy School and Cornell University. Leo has guided several initiatives to promote progressive environmental laws, and decentralisation and devolution of governance, to support effective participation of local communities in decision making. He was the Country Coordinator and Faculty of the “Cities in the 21st Century” and “Health and Community” courses of the International Honours Programme, Boston University, now part of School of International Training, USA (2002-2009), and served as Co-Director of the Minnesota Studies in International Development, University of Minnesota, USA (2014-2017).

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