Friday, June 27, 2014

Students return home from Israel after agriculture training

Fifty-four students returned home after receiving 10-month agriculture training in Israel.

The students left for Israel for agriculture training – at the joint initiation of Sana Kisan Bikas Bank and Israeli Embassy in Nepal – to get first hand  knowledge on agriculture.

Organising a press meet here today, the returnee students shared their experience from the Israel visit. They also asked the government not to impose any tax on agricultural machines and equipments import, apart from subsidising loan for agriculture-based projects.

They also suggested to focus on only one crop and use scientific and high-tech tools and machines rather than growing multiple crops in the traditional farming system.

Congratulating the returnees, chief executive officer of Sana Kisan  Bikas Bank, Jalan Kumar Sharma said that fifty four students from two districts – Dhading and Makawanpur – have returned home while 205 students from eight districts have been currently receiving training at various training centres and colleges in Israel.

 Likewise, agriculture secretary Jaya Mukunda Khanal, on the occasion, said that the students would have learnt some more knowledge on agriculture.

The preparation is underway to send additional 515 students from 21 districts to Israel for agriculture training.

Monday, June 9, 2014

ADB hands over Nepal's First wind-solar hybrid system to government

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) handed over its pilot project on wind solar hybrid energy system to Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) of the Ministry of Environment here at the Nepal Resident Mission today.
The wind-solar hybrid system was installed in Dhaubadi village of Nawalparasi district in December 2011 under ADB’s regional technical assistance for Effective Development of Distributed Small Wind Power Systems in Asian Rural Areas for which the AEPC was the implementing agency in Nepal.
The $3.8 million regional technical assistance was part of ADB’s 'Energy For All' initiative that supports increasing access to energy in remote rural areas. Along with Nepal, the regional technical assistance covers Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and the Maldives.  
“The project is now providing electricity services to 46 rural households of Dhaubadi," said ADB’s country director for Nepal Kenichi Yokoyama, speaking at the handover event.
It was the pilot for the hybrid wind and solar system in Nepal, he said, adding that the success of this project has demonstrated that it is indeed viable to provide reliable energy access to rural Nepal through solar wind hybrid systems as one of the clean energy options.
He also said that the lessons learned from this project will be very useful in scaling up the systems across Nepal, as well as in other developing member countries of ADB.
The project is based on ‘energy systems’ planning approach and has installed two sets of 5 kW wind turbines complimented by 2 kWp of solar PV panels to satisfy the village’s electricity demand of 43.6 KWh per day.
The electricity from the mini-grid has helped the villagers in Dhaubadi save time and money spent on their search for firewood. Electricity has also eased a hard life by allowing women to cook and clean, children to study after dark and improved overall productivity of households.
Director of the Energy Division at South Asia Department ADB Yongping Zhai and acting executive director at the AEPC Ram Prasad Dhital signed the transfer document of the wind-solar hybrid system from ADB to AEPC starting June 13.
"ADB is now supporting the Nepal to scale up similar initiatives in other rural areas of the country under its proposed SASEC power system expansion project,” Zhai said, after signing the handover document.
"Under the proposed SASEC power system expansion project, the off-grid component with more than 4.0 MW of mini hydro and 500 kW mini grid based solar or solar and wind hybrid system will be added," he said, adding that it will provide access to electricity and facilitate productive energy use activities in rural locations from various sources of energy like mini hydro, wind energy, solar energy and wind solar hybrid energy systems.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Financial sector discuss risk management guidelines for environment-friendly banking

IFC – a member of the World Bank Group – and bankers engaged in a stimulating dialogue today towards developing an environmental and social risk management framework that will assist the financial sector assess environmental risks and develop mitigation strategies when taking credit decisions.
The IFC-hosted workshop was part of the first multi-stakeholder consultation towards streamlining and integrating environmental and social risk management processes across the sector. Participants also discussed monitoring and evaluation tools, and the need for training and capacity building to equip bank staff to make these assessments.

Supported by the central bank, the event brought together officials from the central bank, commercial banks, bank and trade associations, National Banking Institute, relevant government ministries, and development partners.
"Business growth and development objectives have to be met while minimising adverse environmental and social impacts," central bank governor Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada said, adding that the leadership role of central banks is key. "Nepal Rastra Bank will give top priority to environmental and social risk performance improvements in banks and financial institutions."
A robust environmental and social risk management framework helps banks evaluate projects by identifying, managing and mitigating social and environmental risks before confirming to lend. It also helps banks protect themselves from litigation and heavy fines for supporting projects that may have environmentally detrimental outcomes or unethical labor practices.
In Nepal, the initiative will build on experiences and lessons learned from similar interventions in other markets, especially Asia. In the past, IFC and Bangladesh Bank co-developed a national environmental risk management policy and strategy framework, which is now mandatory for Bangladesh’s financial institutions.
"Good environmental and social risk management is good business," IFC resident representative for Nepal Val Bagatsing said, adding that IFC has played an important role in other emerging markets in ensuring sustainability by working closely with central banks in developing guidelines for better risk management in this space and instituting training modules to build capacity.
Globally, IFC sets standards in bringing sustainability to the forefront of the development debate within the financial sector. IFC’s performance standards have evolved into a global environment and social risk management framework for development and private sector banks.