Afghanistan micro-hydro programme wins global green award
Bonn/Eschborn. A micro-hydro programme bringing reliable, renewable electricity for the first time to remote parts of North East Afghanistan has won a coveted Ashden Award. GIZ and consulting engineers INTEGRATION were jointly awarded some £20,000 in prize money at a prestigious ceremony in London this evening, after joining other Award winners at a meeting with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at Clarence House.
The judges said: “This is an astounding example of how harvesting natural sources of energy can bring new sources of income, hope and opportunity in a troubled region. And by working alongside each other, different communities in North East Afghanistan are coming together with a common interest, helping reduce mistrust and conflict.
On receiving the award, David Hancock of GIZ, said: "We are delighted to receive this prestigious award. Financed by the German Government, the programme has demonstrated that a reliable electricity supply can make a real difference to communities, organisations and small businesses, particularly in Afghanistan's remote, mountainous provinces."
Oliver J. Haas of INTEGRATION added: "Working with local communities means that our activities are sustainable and benefit future generations. Tapping into renewable energy for economic development also enhances local governance mechanisms and contributes to stability."
The Award was presented by Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO and Chair of UN-Energy, who in his keynote speech urged governments around the world to use the opportunity of Rio+20 in June to increase their support for clean energy pioneers like GIZ/INTEGRATION.
Said Dr. Yumkella: “The decisions that will be taken at Rio in June will carry consequences for generations to come. Governments around the world must act urgently to agree the right policies and investment incentives that nurture these and other sustainable energy champions, before it’s too late.”
With funding from the German government (some US$6 million in 2011), GIZ and INTEGRATION have worked with the Afghan Government to install six micro hydro plants in Badakhshan. With a total installed capacity of 1.3MW, they are providing 24-hour electricity for the first time to 63,000 people, 110 public organisations and 645 small enterprises.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal organisation with worldwide operations. It supports the German Government in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and in international education work. GIZ helps people and societies improve their prospects and living conditions.