16 december 2013, Experts and environmental scientists have called for cooperative and effective management at regional level to address the issues relating to water resources, energy and climate change.
They were addressing “International consultative workshop on energy cooperation, climate change and water management: initiatives for regional integration”, which was organised by SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SAARC CCI) in collaboration with Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FNCCI) at Kathmandu, Nepal. Umakant Jha, Minister for Energy, Nepal in his inaugural address urged for the need of prudent planning for mega projects at regional level, which could be technically feasible, socio-culturally acceptable, environmentally benign and economically viable to share cost and benefits, required for exploring the huge untapped hydro power potential of more than 250,000 MW in SAARC region. He regarded hydro power as the most productive, competitive and environment friendly source of energy. He was of the opinion that comparative advantage could be gained if water and hydropower of Nepal and Bhutan, gas from Bangladesh, coal/thermal energy from India and Pakistan is optimally utilized to attain proper energy mix, cost competitiveness and to make SAARC Energy grid functional.
Ahmed Saleem, Secretary General of SAARC, conveyed that at the political level, successive SAARC Summits convened over the years have given specific directives in promoting energy cooperation. As a follow up to such directives a number of initiatives have been undertaken including establishment of SAARC Energy Centre, finalization of SAARC Energy Trade Study, holding of South Asian Energy dialogue, energy ring concept and inter-Governmental mechanism etc; which establish energy as priority agenda of regional integration process.
Rajiv Kumar Mishra, Executive Director PTC, India in his presentation at inaugural session asserted for need of shift in energy mix from fossil fuels to renewable resources while highlighting the potential and scope of cooperation in energy trade, as one of the effective means for deepening regional cooperation. In his welcome remarks, Muhammad Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General SAARC CCI, emphasised for flexible regulatory regime, infrastructure development and demonstration of greater political will to encourage and promote energy cooperation at regional level. Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, Chairman SAARC CCI council on water, energy and climate change necessitated for water resource management in effective manner to reap maximum benefits of water sharing and its conservation to make South Asia a greener and cleaner region.