UNIDO to facilitate Pakistan in utilization of renewable-energy resources
ISLAMABAD: United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) representative, Esam Alqararah, remarked on Thursday that Pakistan had a great potential in various diverse fields, especially in the renewable energy sector and only needed a proper mobilization of its available resources in this regard.
In his interview with the media sources, he noted that UNIDO was extending all possible support to Pakistan in utilizing its renewable energy resources with innovative ideas and had involved both federal and provincial governments on top of “brilliant and vibrant” entrepreneurs. He further elaborated that there were a number of localities in Pakistan where residents could easily generate electricity by putting a small turbine in the water flowing in rivers and their tributaries, and “they will have no need to get connected with any grid station.” It was also said that at present, the UN body was running six different projects related to energy, environment and capacity building of business community in collaboration with ministries of Industries, Climate Change, Commerce, Science and Technology as well as the Chambers of Commerce and Industry,
During the last five years, UNIDO had spent around $ 20 million in different projects, which involved capacity building of entrepreneurs, promotion of renewable energy, kerbing industrial pollution and protection of the environment in Pakistan, he added. In his response to a question, he postulated, “The budget is not so important, sometimes a project having high budget leaves a small impact and sometimes a low-budget project creates a huge impact in the society.” He then went on to make note of the Clean Technology (Cleantech) project, currently being executed in eight countries including Pakistan simultaneously, he asserted that it was proving highly beneficial for entrepreneurs, innovators and start-up companies to grow and take their ideas further.
UNIDO was managing a global programme called Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), which was a global competition aimed at promoting innovations in the area of clean technologies, he elaborated. This competition is designed to foster innovation in renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency, energy waste and green building, and aims to target Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). “Every year, five selected applicants are selected by a panel of judges after evaluating their novel ideas and given $ 25,000 each besides further mentorship and training in Silicon Valley, the USA for the global contest,” he said.
Alqararah believed, “We have the policy to create a conducive environment and provide the model role that promotes innovation in this country, and you (Pakistan) will have to minimise trade barriers for its entrepreneurs.” The programme was also said to have resulted in such significant effects that now more than 50 countries were asking UNIDO to implement it for their entrepreneurs, largely because the Cleantech had encouraged entrepreneurs and the start-up innovators in executing their unique ideas.
He also talked about the semi-finalists, who despite being unable to make their place in the global competition were not abandoned by the organisation and facilitated to develop their potential industries. “In future, we are planning to provide incubation centres for this type of entrepreneur and launch venture capital fund,” he noted, further adding, “I think the money is not the problem of Pakistani entrepreneurs as I have been dealing with the industrialists who are billionaires, they just need viable ideas to increase their capacity and knowledge of doing business.”
In his remarks on the environmental issues, the UNIDO Representative said that the organisation had planned to set up an industrial waste treatment unit in Karachi similar to ones already introduced in Kasur and Sialkot in order to minimise environmental hazards. All the projects being executed in Pakistan by the organisation were innovative, cost-effective and environment-friendly, he elaborated.
With regard to the agricultural sector of Pakistan, he underlined the need of a strong food packaging industry and an effective grading of edibles to compete in international markets. “Pakistan is a milk producing country, and it needs an improved packaging system for dairy products. In this field, we are now planning to launch (a) joint venture,” he maintained. Alqararah also added that Pakistan was the first country to have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) introduced by UN, of which chapter nine titled `Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation’ related to UNIDO. “This government took the initiative from the beginning to adopt the SDGs, making Pakistan the first country to adopt the agenda,” he remarked.