KARACHI: SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) in association with Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) supported by Freidrich Nauman Foundation, Fur Die Freihet, organized two-day conference on Climate change and Energy Cooperation in South Asia in Paro, Bhutan.
Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Thinley was the chief guest of the conference. He inaugurated the conference in the presence of Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck, Minister for Economic Affairs, Bhutan, Patali Champila Ranawaka, Minister for Power and Energy of Sri Lanka, Dr Pema Jamtsho, Minister for Agriculture Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck, Minister for Economic Affairs Bhutan, Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President , SAARC CCI, Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President Pakistan and Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, Vice President (Nepal) of SAARC CCI & the guest of honor, Dasho Topgyal Dorji, President BCCI, Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General SAARC CCI, Subodh Kumar, the executive programs FNSt and other dignitaries present at the occasion.
During the inaugural address, Bhutan Prime Minister stated, “Shared vision and collaborative efforts at public and private sector level can mitigate the impact of climate change and cooperation in energy can help South Asia for its transformation from energy constraint to energy surplus region.”
He offered the policy makers and SAARC secretariat at Kathmandu to work together to formulate doable action plan for users of power generated through hydroelectric and non-conventional energy sources. He shared that investors from India have considerable interests in investing and transferring skills and technology in the energy sector of neighbouring countries.
Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President SAARC CCI, in his low keynote address stressed the need for collaborated efforts to devise mechanisms to tackle adverse effects of natural calamities due to climate change; for instance, sharing knowledge common positions on climate change. For this, he said, a SAARC Climate Change Fund could be created to finance projects directed towards climate and environment protection.
Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President, SAARC CCI (Pakistan), Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, Vice President SAARC CCI (Nepal), Subodh Kumar, Executives Programs FNF, Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General, SAARC CCI and the guest of honor Dasho Topgayl Dorji, President BCCI, also shared their views at this occasion.
The first technical session on climate change was chaired by Dr Pema Jamtsho, Minister for Agriculture and Forest while Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck, Minister for Economic Affairs Bhutan chaired session on energy, which was addressed by prominent academics, experts from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka and Pakistan including speakers from Pakistan including Ms Raina Khan, environment expert, Engr GR Bhatti, Member PEC and former GM KESC.
The conference suggested policy framework for energy cooperation and address various challenges faced by SAARC countries as a result of climate Change. It is pertinent to mention that according to the global database on disasters over the past 40 years, South Asia has faced as many as 1,333 disasters that killed almost a million people, affected 2.4 billion lives and damaged assets worth $105 billion.
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