France, in colloboration with the European Union, has signed an agreement that will fund a hydropower training institute in Pakistan.

Mr. Ali Reza Bhutta, Joint Secretary of Economic Affairs Division (EAD), His Excellency Mr. Philippe Thiébaud, Ambassador of France, and Mr. Denis CASSAT, Country Director of the French Development Agency (AFD), in the presence of Mr. Berend de Groot Director of cooperation at the European Union signed the Grant funding agreement for the establishment of Pakistan Hydropower Training Institute (HPTI) at Mangla in mid-December.

The grant was delegated to the AFD by the European Union to complete rehabilitation of the existing training centre of Mangla and transform it into a "centre of excellence for hydropower" in order to increase the capacity of both public & private hydropower operators.

The HPTI is expected to integrate the latest international standards by:

• Ensuring adaptation of large dam infrastructures to climate change (droughts and floods);
• Improving the resilience, safety and profitability of hydropower projects;
• Benefiting from carbon finance by presenting eligible projects under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM);
• Selecting projects in line with the best environmental and social practices, therefore attracting international funding more easily.

Besides the grant of EUR 2.5M provided to the Government of Pakistan, France, through the AFD, is a major contributor to the energy sector in the country.

To reduce the power demand and improve energy efficiency, the AFD is co-financing with the Asian Development Bank a programme on energy efficiency in the domestic and industrial sectors. In addition, the AFD is supporting the development of renewable energies in order to improve the power supply in Pakistan. There are three projects currently being developed:

• Jaggran II hydropower project (48MW run-of-river hydroelectric power plant on the Jaggran river, Neelum Valley, AJK , EUR68M);
• Munda / Mohmand hydropower project located in Mohmand Agency (EUR11M – detailed design studies and initial phase);
• Harpo hydropower project in the Gilgit-Baltistan Skardu region (EUR50M).

In the future, the AFD said it will explore additional potential to fund the rehabilitation or extension of hydropower plants in various places in association with WAPDA and provincial operators.