A tribute to a life truly and fully lived
Mani Subramanian who died on 24 March 2019 was the first Fund Management and Administrative Officer of the Multilateral Fund Secretariat. Based on his experience, his knowledge of the United Nations system, and most of all his interpersonal skills, Mani had been selected to carry out a short mission to help establish and operationalize the recently established interim Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol.
He arrived in Montreal on 10 February 1991 on the same day as the first Chief Officer of the Fund, Dr. Omar E. El-Arini. Within a year of his arrival Mani had proved himself invaluable. The administrative and financial infrastructure of the interim Multilateral Fund was in place and the staffing structure of the Secretariat had been finalized. Mani played a key role in recruiting 11 candidates from all corners of the globe to bring the fledging Secretariat staff to a total of thirteen allowing the Fund Secretariat to begin its work. Mani thus played a key role in initiating the operation of the Multilateral Fund which was to remove barriers to technology change, incentivize industry to develop alternatives to ozone depleting substances, and assist countries to develop national goals and plans to switch to ozone friendly alternatives.
Recognizing Mani’s value to the Multilateral Fund, then the Chief Officer strongly requested him to stay. Fortunately, he accepted and became the first Fund and Administrative Officer of the Fund Secretariat until his retirement in 2002. Establishing and operating a new Secretariat was not a simple task and required long working hours not only in the initial period but in the months and years that followed. Despite the demands on him, Mani always found time to solve any problem that was brought to his attention, no matter how small and simple or complicated it was. He always provided a sound, speedy solution delivered it with a smile.
During his tenure, all members of the Executive Committee, the representatives of the implementing agencies as well as representatives from the Governments of Canada and Quebec respected and trusted him.
Mani’s administrative and negotiating skills together with his selflessness, generosity, approachability and openness resulted in the infrastructure and operating systems of the Secretariat that we know today, and which are still the embodiment of the Multilateral Fund. The Multilateral Fund and its Secretariat owe their renowned success and stellar reputation to the experience, vision, demeanour and wisdom of our dear Mani.
We are profoundly saddened by the news of his passing but remember our good fortune to know and love him. Each day we spent with Mani was a gift.
Mani, our dearest friend and colleague, may your soul rest in peace.