Pilot Experiences Sharing National Workshop
Development of Sustainable Energy for Rangelands (DESER)
CHITRAL: Looming energy crisis is becoming a fundamental barrier to sustainable livelihood and environmental security in rangelands which occupy over 65 % of HKH region. Global warming is already making rangeland environment more vulnerable threatening the ecological security and hitting poor the hardest making it further difficult to escape from deep rooted poverty in the absence of alternatives mean of livelihood. Realising this, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) with financial support from the Austrian Development Agency is implementing a pilot project “DESER in four Himalayan countries though its national collaborating partners in Bhutan, China, Nepal and Pakistan. The long term objective of the project is to design and support development of environmentally friendly, socially equitable and economically sustainable energy resources and technologies in rangelands areas to enhance the livelihoods of the people and their environment. During its one year pilot phase, the project established knowledge base on households’ livelihood cum energy demand situation and carried out pilot installation and testing of suitable renewable energy technologies (improved metallic stove, solar cookers and solar lamp etc) at the project site.
Against this backdrop, a one day national workshop (organised by the project partner AKRSP in collaboration with ICIMOD) was held on
The district Nazim of Chitral, Haji Mafirat Shah during his inauguration speech attached great importance on the role of sustainable energy for addressing sustainability of rangelands. He assured his continuous support for this type of interventions in the remotes areas like Chitral. Mr.Sardar Ayub RPM of AKRSP stressed how the provision of RETs can be a critical entry point to make a difference in the lives of rangeland dependent people and their environment in the face of growing global warming threats to the vulnerable rangelands communities. During the sessions, the entire pilot results and experiences including survey finding and performance of installed technologies were presented by ICIMOD and AKRSP supplemented by the video documentary on the impacts of piloted technologies at the Momi project site. During the second session Farid Ahmad, Head of Strategic Planning ICIMOD, Bikash Sharma, Coordinator DESSER Project ICIMOD shared their experiences about the importance of the project and its potential benefits to the people. Impressed by the innovative pilot action with its huge potential positive impacts on sustainable management of rangelands, the Tehsil Nazim Chitral, Sartja Ahmad during his closing remarks committed to offer RS 100,000 as grant for the promotion of project as a seed money.
At the end of the workshop, the participants came up with the following recommendations for the next phase of the project through the identification of strategies to address three broad criteria of sustainability, availability, affordability and acceptability:
· Energy technology and service should be addressed by creating an enabling support mechanism such as awareness raising campaign and setting up pilot demo in other neighbouring villages to create potential demand, promoting local private entrepreneurs for technology development through their skill training and exposure, upgrading the existing technologies, uploading new technologies
· Affordability should be addressed by establishing innovative financing scheme such as revolving loan fund ( seed money) for micro financing and leasing, consumer financing through LSOs and linking it to micro financing institutions, provision of soft loans from banks with comfortable lending term (low interests and longer maturity loan under several instalment basis) for technology development
· Government specifically local government, energy institution like green alternative power, LSOs, private entrepreneurs, financial institutions, local communities were identified as the potential stakeholder to play a role in this process. Public private partnership should be developed as a cross cutting strategies for addressing these sustainability criteria. Knowledge sharing workshop, empowering women and local entrepreneur through capacity building , exposure visits are other priority actions recommended
G.H. Farooqi PO Box No. 50 GPO Chitral