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July 2011

UNDP SUPPORTS DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL HPP IN REMOTE AREAS

Source: CARNet, E. Bogombaev, 8.07.2011

Kyrgyzstan is one of the countries that has a wealth of hydropower resources. Rapid mountain rivers rippling along the rough surfaces and slopes of mountains hold huge energy potential which can make generators of many hydroelectric turbines, both giant and quite small, work. The hydropower potential of the country makes up 252 large and medium-sized rivers and is estimated at 185 million kW of power and more than 160 billion kWh of electricity.

Years of research by our scientists, which studied 172 rivers and streams with water flow rates ranging from 0.5 to 50 cubic meters. m / sec show that the hydropower potential of small rivers of the Kyrgyz Republic allows building 92 new small hydropower stations with total capacity of about 178 MW and annual output to 1.0 billion kWh of electricity.

However a set of serious issues need to be addressed to make small hydropower develop effectively. There exist different technical, financial, informational and institutional barriers hampering development of hydropower.

For example:

According to power engineers exploitation of small HPS can significantly influence the energy situation in the republic as it allows to increase generating power and lessen the load during maximal load hours.

Efficiency of small hydro power are determined by the following factors:

Remote rural areas would benefit more from this as they do not have their own sources of energy and are supplied with energy from the common energy system, which is now in critical state because of overloads.

Small HPP can help develop small business like tourism, agricultural products processing, production of construction materials, etc.

Terms of exploitation of small and micro HPP are rather long, some stations work for more 70 years. Modern small HPP can have big validation terms and thus can provide energy for several generations not having impact on environment. It has been proved that investments into small power energy are subject to risks, they are reliable and pay off during several years.

To promote using micro, small HPP and other renewable energy sources in Kyrgyzstan launched the project “Development of small HPP”, supported by UNDP jointly with the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project will provide help in forming of policy for development and implementation priority activities and aimed at facilitating market approaches to small hydropower development in Kyrgyzstan.

The project develops regulatory acts in small energy area, tariffs and norms regulating productive activity of small HPP. The project will help building capacity and training to use RES. In addition, in practice the project plans to install one micro HPPs and photovoltaic equipments in FAPs located in 7 remote villages of the Kyrgyz Republic. Installation of RES equipment is funded from One UN. Project partners are the Ministry of Energy, Directorate of project on small and medium energy, Ministry of Health, WHO, UNIDO and local self-governance bodies. Total budget of the project for 2010-2013 is 1,9 mln.

LANDMARK MEETING OF AARHUS CONVENTION WELCOMES GLOBAL ACCESSION

Source: UNECE, 8.07.2011

Marking a decade since the entry into force of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention last week adopted a decision encouraging the accession by States outside the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region and a simplified procedure for doing so — thus encouraging the propagation of the important and unique protections offered by this international environmental rights treaty on a fully global scale.

The move is widely recognized as a timely one: in a message delivered to the session, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon noted that the Aarhus Convention “is more important than ever”. The “treaty’s powerful twin protections for the environment and human rights can help us respond to many challenges facing our world, from climate change and the loss of biodiversity to air and water pollution. And the Convention’s critical focus on involving the public is helping to keep Governments accountable,” the Secretary-General stressed.

A letter from Mongolia stating its interest in acceding to the Convention, which arrived during the meeting, further underlines the timeliness of the decision to encourage wider membership.

The event featured a High-level Segment on the role of the Aarhus Convention in promoting sustainable development, chaired by Mr. Gheorghe Salaru, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Moldova. Ministers, high-level officials, representatives from non-governmental organizations and international organizations debated the Convention’s successes and failures to advance sustainable development in the UNECE region, and the Convention’s role in inspiring the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) for delivery on Principle 10 beyond the region. Although the Convention has now been in force for a decade, its principles go back much further, to Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, which was adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit by 172 Governments.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Parties adopted the Chisinau Declaration as a lead-up to the Rio+20 Conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, thus bringing one of the fruits of the Rio Declaration back to the city in which it was born. Parties offered to share their experience with all countries that wish to join the Aarhus family or to replicate its achievements. The Parties consider that the preparations for Rio+20 and its deliberations should serve as a model of how to implement Rio Principle 10 and that the participants in the Rio+20 Conference take into account the Aarhus principles in their consideration of the institutional framework for sustainable development to be adopted there. In particular, citizens should be invited to participate in defining and implementing green economy programmes and in choosing the most appropriate road maps to sustainability.

Parties also called for the Convention to continue the work (led by France) in promoting the Convention in international forums and building synergies with other conventions and international organizations involved in environmental matters.

Monitoring Parties’ compliance

A special feature of the Aarhus Convention is its compliance mechanism, which allows members of the public to bring their concerns regarding a Party’s compliance to the Convention’s Compliance Committee based in Geneva. The Meeting adopted decisions on specific cases of non-compliance concerning Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Moldova, Spain, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, as well as a decision on issues of compliance generally. To date, all findings by the Committee have been endorsed by the Meeting of the Parties and all Parties concerned demonstrated their consent with the decisions.

Furthering Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice

In adopting the Convention’s work programme for 2012–2014, the Meeting decided the Task Forces on Public Participation in Decision-making (led by Ireland) and Access to Justice (led by Sweden) will continue with renewed mandates. A third task force has been given a new mandate as the Task Force on Access to Information (to be led by the Republic of Moldova) to, inter alia, promote exchange of information and identify barriers and solutions concerning public access to environmental information, including with regard to products and the promotion of the accessibility of environmental information held by the private sector. The Meeting also agreed that the Task Force and relevant bodies under the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers should engage with the process for the Eye on Earth Summit (Abu Dhabi, 12–15 December 2011) so as to share the region’s experience globally.