As Denmark is hosting Global Green Growth Forum (3GF), how can a country like Nepal benefit from it?
The Global Green Growth Forum was initiated by Denmark in 2011 together with Korea and Mexico with a view to bring together governments, businesses, and national organizations to work and act together for promoting a transition to a green economy. Now, China, Kenya, Qatar and Ethiopia joined the platform. Again this year the event will be hosted by the Prime Minister of Denmark. Concrete partnerships between the public and private sector are the cornerstone of 3GF´s work bringing concrete green growth solution to scale. It is quite clear that in developing countries around the world, private enterprises and government's institutions have to work together to create sustainable solutions and pave the way for green growth. This is what the Copenhagen Summit is about. In the next 15 years alone the global economy will grow by more than half. This is why we need a large-scale transition – promoting amongst other things, a sustainable use of resources.
Who will attend the Summit?
250-300 high level leaders and decision-makers from all over the world will in the course of next week take part in this year´s Summit. Companies, government representatives and international organizations will take part in discussions and solution building. Vice Minister,National Energy Administration (NEA) from Government of the People's Republic of China,the Governor from the Central Bank of Bangladesh,andVice Minister for Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), Government of Vietnam - to mention just a few – will spark off the discussions. In addition to international companieslike Saint-Gobain (France), Samsung (Korea), Unilever (UK), Welspun Energy (India), Cisco (USA), Hitachi (Japan), and Levi Strauss&Co (USA).
Despite huge potentials for clean energy sources, Nepal is facing energy crisis with over 12 hours of loadsheadding. Denmark is one of Nepal's major development partners supporting clean energy program, how do you look at it in the context of 3GF?
Sustainable energy systems and reducing fossil fuel dependence go hand in hand. In terms of Nepal the question remains: how to overcome one of the major obstacles to transition? How to diversify energy consumption at the same time securing the investments needed to transform the energy production and capturethe potential of Nepal?
Throughout Denmark´s engagement in the energy sector in Nepal, the focus has been on renewable energy and on small-scale projects - hydropower plants – solar energy and energy based on biomass. Enabling small communities - with the support of government and international community to put funds together - for the creation of small hydropower plants and thereby changing the lives in local communities in rural Nepal. The questions to be discussed in Copenhagen is how do you develop viable business models for scaling up these projects – bringing on board the most innovative solutions and strengthen knowledge sharing. In addition it is important for the private sector to play a transformative role in Nepal’s development,for an encouraging environment to be nurtured and new opportunities to be proactively identified and supported. The 3GF2014 platform offers the possibility to test business models, specifically for how to improve access to technology in rural areas, while also making it commercially viable. Partnerships that over time can inspire and influence the development in Nepal.
What will be the focus area?
The theme of the summit this year is “Changing production and consumption patterns through transformative action”. Not particularly relevant to decision makers and or business community in Nepal. And yet! Because behind the headlines on sustainable urbanization, city development, and sustainable energy solutions the many leaders and decision makers will discuss barriers and road maps for sustainable waste management solutions and viable business models for scaling up renewable off grid electrification. And these are topics already highly relevant for Nepal today.
How do we change our waste management and recycle supply chains with a view to transforming high volumes of organic substances into valuable bio-products as biofuel and bio-chemicals?
The technology is available – but the technology needs to be combined with the right policy frameworks and infrastructure. In the long run the establishment of a centre of excellence is envisioned by the 3GF.
During the Summit Denmark also brings to bear her experience – in terms of how to succeed in greening the economy. Denmark has one of the most energy efficient economies and despite high growth rates our energy consumption has for decades remained stable. This proves that with persistent energy policies it is possible for the economy to grow and at the same time harness energy consumption. The challenge is to sensitize huge global companies to the importance of working with sustainable and also commercially viable solutions.
How do you link 3GF with Denmark supported UNNATI Program of Nepal?
The aim for the UNNATI programme (inclusive growth programme) is building economic growthin the Eastern part of Nepal. A programme based on the development priorities of the Government of Nepal. Developing a healthy and sustainable agricultural sector is a must if we are to enable smallholding farmers to produce better products, to sell more, earn more and thereby increase their living standards significantly and create better employment opportunities. In order to support these communities we will be including Green Off-Grid Energy Solutions in addition to improving the infrastructure. For the individual the change often comes in the form of small bio-gas units where farmers, who have a couple of cows, can use manure for bio-gas production giving them enough gas to fuel cooking facilities in their household and water heating. It may be small – but with a huge impact for the individual and for the often remote community.And indeed an example of the very concrete and simple solutions at the forefront of and the very reason behind the 3GF2014 Summit in Copenhagen.
As Kathmandu is an urban centre of South Asia region with highest growth of population, it has been facing crisis in garbage management. How do you see the possibility of reusing this garbage for the purpose of green growth?
As far as the influxes to the cities are concerned, there is a necessity to take hard core political decisions on how to tackle the ever increase amount of garbage and waste. This also applies to the situation in Kathmandu. At the same time waste can also be viewed as energy. This is a very important message to get across. I would like to engage politicians and decision makers in Nepal in discussions on how to explore the possibilities for unlocking the value of waste. This could be in the form of public-private partnership. I think people in Nepal care as much as people everywhere in the world. You have to find a way of demonstrating the possibilities, the technology available –otherwise it simply eludes people's imagination.
What is lacking then in Nepal?
The example from Copenhagen of political leaders, international organisations and global companies discussing global and sustainable solutions for the future is one aspect. But we need to engage with people and more broadly strengthen the awareness and understanding of the issues and possibilities. Already I am encouraged when I see people from different walks of life coming together to clean polluted areas in Kathmandu and I would like to see more young people engaged and active.They should be engaged in finding new and sustainable solutions. One day it may be Nepal harvesting the results of public-privatepartnerships, drawing up roadmaps or establishing demonstration facilities transforming waste into energy.
Are there easy solutions? And why is 3GF relevant for Nepal?
No – reforms are never going to be easy- or acceptable for everybody. In Kathmandu the pollution is evident for us all - and not least due to the lack of sufficient energy supply. People talk about it all the time. For most people the whole idea of unlocking value in the waste management and recycling supply chain seems totally unrealistic. But it is doable – in cities as well as small communities. My hope is that the outcomes of some of the discussions in Copenhagen will find their way to Nepal and over time ignite and inspire the outlook and perception of what is possible with new and advanced technologies - for decision makers and businesses.