Statement by Dr. Hafiz Pasha, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Assistant Administrator, at the Inauguration of the Taman Micro Hydro Demonstration Scheme at Taman, Baglung

29 Aug 2001

Statement by Dr. Hafiz Pasha, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Assistant Administrator, at the Inauguration of the Taman Micro Hydro Demonstration Scheme at Taman, Baglung,
29 August 2001

Honourable Member of the National Planning Commission, Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Dr. Bimal Prashad Koirala, Secretary of the Ministry of Local Development Mr. Udaya Raj Soti, UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Henning Karcher, DDC Chairman of Baglung District, Mr. Lil Bahadur Thapa, Distinguishes Representatives of His Majesty's Government, DDC Baglung and VDC Taman, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to inaugurate jointly with the Honourable Member of National Planning Commission Dr. Jagadish Pokharel the Taman micro hydro plant in this remote but beautiful Taman village of Baglung District.

Globally, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supports developing countries like Nepal in their efforts to achieve Sustainable Human Development. In the context of Nepal, the main thrust of UNDP cooperation has been to help His Majesty's Government of Nepal (HMGN) achieve its overriding goal of poverty reduction. Consistent with Nepal's development priorities, UNDP's support areas include governance and decentralisation, energy and environment, gender mainstreaming and rule of law. I am happy to note the praiseworthy results and impact generated by the Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP) implemented jointly by HMGN and UNDP. This Taman micro hydro demonstration scheme is a living testimony to the success of this cooperation.

I would like to draw attention to the holistic approach REDP applies to rural development. The approach is based on six guiding principles. They lead towards a decentralised mode of technology transfer as well as social mobilisation and community participation on a wide-scale. It is satisfying to learn that villagers both men and women have played key roles in decision making for the successful establishment and operation of this micro hydro plant including implementation of a range of social, economic and environmental initiatives with the guidance of the REDP.

Allow me to quote a few figures that reflect the overall results and impact of REDP:
• more than 50,000 men and women have been brought together in community organisations and functional groups;
• over 100 million rupees have been mobilised from various sources for rural energy systems;
• over 16,000 men and women have been trained on different subjects;
• 54 micro hydro schemes have been established and 32 are under construction;
• 900 biogas plants with toilets were constructed;
• 981 solar home systems were installed; and
• more than 4,700 improved cooking stoves were built

It is encouraging to note that REDP’s per unit cost of electricity generation through micro-hydro for remote area is only about US$ 1,700 per kilowatt as compared to large power plants which, I understand, in Nepal cost upto US$ 4,000 per kilowatt. These figures have significant policy implications for the overall electrification strategy of the country.

There is no doubt that introduction of other technologies like improved cooking stoves, plantation of trees for conservation, micro watershed management and undertaking of various income generating activities such as agro-processing plants will pave the way for holistic and sustainable development in this village. I am pleased to learn that HMGN has decided to take the REDP approach to scale by forging a tri-partite partnership among Government, UNDP and the World Bank. I am sure this initiative will further contribute poverty alleviation of rural Nepal in a significant way.

I would also like to express my sincere thanks to you the people of Taman for giving me this opportunity to see the development process carried out by you yourself based on participatory and transparent decision making. The achievements realised by the people of this village are exemplary to us all. I wish you every success in your future endeavours.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all involved in REDP, the District Development Committee, and the District Rural Energy Development Section. I compliment your for a job well done and wish REDP further success in the months and years ahead.

Thank you.