First BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Conference
4th October 2005, New Delhi
Speech of H.E. Binod Kumar Shah
Assistant Minister for Water Resources, Nepal


Honorable Chairperson, Minister of Water Resources, Govt. Of India

Ministers from BIMSTEC member countries,

Excellencies,

Distinguished personalities,

Delegates from member countries,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, I would like to take this opportunity to renew the close and cordial relationship with BIMSTEC member countries and express my gratefulness to the Government of India for inviting us to participate in the Ministerial Conference on Energy Cooperation being organized in this historic city of New Delhi.

I feel honored to participate at this august gathering and share my views regarding the development of the energy sector for the mutual benefit of the member countries.

Excellencies;

We are all aware that the energy sector plays a crucial role in the overall development of the member countries and has the potential to contribute substantially to the economic growth and prosperity of the region. Access to energy of the rural households and micro entrepreneurs is instrumental in reducing the poverty prevailing in the region.

The region covered by BIMSTEC member States possesses enormous energy resources including hydropower, biomass, coal and gas. Even then, significant proportions of the population do not have access to efficient and effective energy sources. There is a need to develop efficient, environment friendly and affordable energy technologies for the benefit of all the people in the region.

Furthermore, the escalating prices of fossil fuels and inaccessibility of the majority of the population to renewable sources of energy has directly impacted on the economies of the member states. The present surge in fuel prices has obviously generated shock waves throughout the globe. Therefore, we are now confronted with the formidable challenge of exploring sustainable, reliable and environmental friendly energy sources for substituting fossil fuels.

Nepal’s abundant possibility of hydropower generation as a renewable energy source can contribute to provide clean energy to the region to some extent. His Majesty’s Government of Nepal has, therefore, formulated policies, strategies and plans to develop the hydropower sector through the promotion of national and international private sector participation and attraction of foreign investment. Nepal’s project portfolio offers a wide array of hydropower projects ranging from a few hundred megawatts to meet domestic demand to over ten thousand megawatt of installed capacity for export purposes. In addition, the number of potential micro hydropower projects across the country is legion.

Excellencies;

In view of the high dependency on biomass among the majority of the member countries including Nepal, despite the yet largely untapped potential for alternate energy resources, the present need is to either increase the efficiency of biomass energy by promoting and implementing appropriate environment friendly energy technologies or replace it through alternative energy.

In this context, Nepal in its tenth plan, 2002-2007, has emphasized development and expansion of alternative energy to reduce dependency on imported energy sources, create employment opportunities, and maintain environmental sustainability in order to improve the living standard of the rural people.

Excellencies;

I would like to refer to the BIMSTEC Expert Group meeting of September 15-16, 2005, which had proposed to utilize its interaction for concretizing the cooperation activities in renewable energy at this Ministerial meeting. The meeting had also decided that Nepal would share its experience in micro hydro best practices and resource assessment. In this context, it is my privilege to submit that micro hydro technology in Nepal is used for milling and agro¬processing as well as lighting purposes in the remote scattered settlements, particularly in the hilly regions of the country. By mid July 2004, the total number of micro hydro schemes installed was 3574 with a total installed capacity of 16 Megawatt. I believe that the experience gained by Nepal in the micro-hydro sector would be worth sharing with the BIMSTEC States. We would be pleased to share our experience and expertise in this regard.
I would also like to submit that in view of the encouraging success of community managed forestry combined with increased use of biogas plants in some member countries like Nepal, the prospect and opportunities in carbon trading within the region and the world at large be explored. This prospect would be all the more enhanced if bulk trade of renewable hydro energy to displace carbon emitting thermal plants were to materialize amongst the member States.

Moreover, the efficient use of biomass energy in the region has to an extent contributed in reduction of green house gas effects. Therefore, an effective carbon trading arrangement for our benefit and of the world could be determined.

In view of the win-win situation that would arise as a result of concerted collaborative efforts between and amongst the BIMSTEC States in enhancing living standards of the rural people and maintaining a clean environment for all. I believe that we should work together to harness the efficient, environment friendly, affordable energy technologies and share our knowledge and experience to achieve our development goals. I am confident that this Ministerial Conference will prove to be a milestone to bring us ever closer together in formulating, amongst a host of other things, a practical and results oriented Action Plan for Energy cooperation amongst the member countries.

Nepal firmly believes that all developmental goals inclusive of energy sector can be attained in a milieu, where peace, functioning democratic institutions and devolution of authority for the empowerment of the people at the grass roots level are enabled to flourish. His Majesty’s Government of Nepal is firmly committed to the maintenance of peace, multiparty democracy and free and fair elections in order to streamline our developmental efforts in a spirit of international friendship and cooperation.

Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Government of India, for providing such a warm hospitability to the members of my delegation during our stay in this historic and beautiful city.

Thank you.

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