Cleaner and Greener South Asia – Managing Climate Change and Water Resources Paro, Bhutan

SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) organized one-day Conference on Energy Cooperation and Climate Change at Paro- Bhutan on July 25, 2015 in collaboration with Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry and in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Regional Directorate, New Delhi. The Conference was organized under the theme  “Cleaner and Greener South Asia – Managing Climate Change and Water Resources” which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan while Mr. Suraj Vaidya, Acting President, SAARC CCI delivered keynote speech. Mr. Karma Lotey, Vice President SAARC CCI- Bhutan Chapter, Mr. Subodh Kumar, Executive Programs FNF, New Delhi, India, Mr. Singye Dorjee, Director (ENP), Bhutan - SAARC Secretariat and Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President  SAARC CCI, Pakistan also shared views.


(L-R) Dasho Ugen Tsechup Dorji, Former President, SAARC CCI, Hon’ble Minister, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan,  Mr. Suraj Vaidya, Acting President, SAARC CCI

The inaugural session as followed by two technical sessions. The first technical session on “Climate Change &Disasters: Impact on Water Resources and Food Security in South Asia” was chaired by Dasho Ugyen Tshewang, Secretary, National Environment Commission (NEC), Royal Government of Bhutan and addressed by Mr. Singye Dorjee, Director (ENP), Bhutan - SAARC Secretariat and Dr. Mandira Singh Shrestha, Senior Water Resources Specialist, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development- Nepal, whereas the second technical session was on “Renewable Energy Potential and Economic Prospects“  and chaired by Mr. Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, Executive Chairman at Hydro Solutions & Chairman of the Energy Committee at the FNCCI  &  SAARC CCI Council on Climate Change, Energy and Water Resources  and was addressed by Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, Managing Director, Druk Green Power Corporation  – Bhutan, Mr. D. N. Raina, Senior International Energy Advisor, Entecsol International, India,  Mr. Karma, CEO, SAARC Development Fund, Bhutan.

The conference concluded with release of Paro Declaration, which says that the proposed treaty should focus on facilitation of free trade in energy-related materials, products and equipment based on World Trade Organization rules, recommending that such provision should be included in SAARC energy Agreement signed in the 18th SAARC Summit held in last November at Kathmandu. The declaration emphasize on member states to promote free flow of energy through pipelines and grids while bridging demand and supply gap is equitable manner. Energy agreements and projects at SAARC level must aim to increase affordability among the under-privileged and have an impact on reducing inter-state tensions in the region in addition to fueling economic growth,”

Experts at the conference agreed that a single grid is not possible and that there should be three sub-grid systems in the region – eastern, western and southern grids. According to Paro Declaration, the eastern grid should include Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will form the western grid, and India and Sri Lanka the southern grid.

The conference also called for an agreement among the SAARC nations to standardize rules and procedures to simplify transaction mechanisms to reduce the cost of energy trade. South Asian is among the fastest-growing regions in the world. At the same time, adequate supply of energy needs to be ensured to sustain the momentum of growth.

The conference welcomed the SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation, signed during the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu, Nepal, and described the agreement as “a ray of hope” to deepen regional mechanism.

The participants also discussed disaster management in the region. There is a need for a regional visualization and monitoring system that integrates earth observation information such as satellite imagery and forecast models for timely and improved decision-making process.

“It has been realized that response to disasters have been ad hoc, providing support only when disasters strike,” says the declaration. “There is a dire need of a regional mechanism to respond.”

The conference also noted the importance of overall mechanism or portfolio to streamline disaster risk reduction in the various initiatives through formulation of disaster risk reduction framework.


(L-R) Mr. Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General, SAARC CCI and Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik Vice President, SAARC CCI (Pakistan) .


Mr. Karma Lotey, Vice President (Bhutan) SAARC CCI.

Mr. Subodh Kumar, Executive Programmes, FNF


Mr. Suraj Vaidya, Acting President, SAARC CCI


Dasho Ugyen Tshewang,  Secretary, National Environment Commission (NEC), Royal Government of Bhutan


Dr. Mandira Singh Shrestha, Senior Water Resources Specialist, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development- Nepal

 
Mr. Singye Dorjee, Director (ENP), Bhutan - SAARC Secretariat, Nepal


Mr. D. N. Raina, Senior International Energy Advisor, Entecsol International, India


Mr. Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, Executive Chairman at Hydro Solutions & Chairman of the Energy Committee at the FNCCI  &  SAARC CCI Council on Climate Change, Energy and Water Resources


Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, Managing Director, Druk Green Power Corporation  – Bhutan


Mr. Karma, CEO, SAARC Development Fund, Bhutan


During Press Meet, Acting President, SAARC CCI Mr. Suraj Vaidya, briefing to the media at conclusion of conference, (L-R) includes M. Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General,  Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President (Pakistan), Mr. Karma Lotey, Vice President (Bhutan) and Mr. Shafquat Haider, EC member (Bangladesh) of SAARC CCI

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