Well first let’s start with the big news;
#1 On November 24th representatives from the Government of Nepal and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD / World Bank) signed the final grant agreement for the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries (SREP) Supported Extended Biogas Project in Nepal. The signing took place at the eleventh hour but was successfully completed before the deadline. This now ensures that the 7.9 mUSD grant for subsidies and technical support for large biogas plants – specifically for Commercial and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) applications in Nepal is now ready for action – and my team and I have a lot of work to do. Exciting times!
#2 And for the Nepali readers;
#3 On mid-November I attended the AGM of the Nepal Biogas Promotion Association (NBPA) After years of Government programs, with the support of many international donors, Nepal has a thriving domestic biogas industry “Nepal is known for its house hold size biogas plant implementation. Nepal has been successful in installing more than 300 thousand biogas plants” history. The NBPA represents the various actors in the field and so it was a great opportunity to meet more of the industry players and get talking about the possibilities for large scale plants in Nepal;
#4 At the end of November the Southern Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held it’s 18th Summit in Kathmandu. The preparations for the four-day SAARC summit were fascinating to behold; mass scale building roads and planting trees, cleaning the roads and clearing away all street markets, enforcing reduced vehicle rights – odd and even number plates only allowed to drive on alternative days – and a two day holiday for all government employees, schools and institutions – more on that later. There were also a wide range of events taking place around the summit including here a visit to AEPC from representatives from the equivalent biogas program in Pakistan;
#5 Directly linked to the SAARC Summit I also attended this panel discussion event on gender equality jointly hosted by VSO and Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAAP);
#6 And a few general images from around my working life; close by to my desk is a balcony with a thriving – and as you can see here growing – pigeon population, being taught traditional Nepali counter games during the lunch break and my first entirely Nepali event invite. Last but not least, during the vehicle limitations of the SAARC Summit I suddenly had more colleagues walking to work with me and they introduced me to an Indian delicacy meetha paan a handcrafted sweet morsel wrapped in a leaf – to be eaten whole!
#7 There have been very few truly clear days during my first few months in Kathmandu unfortunately so the distant Himalaya have generally been elusive. Though this is usual during the monsoon season, I was hoping to see more of them during the clearer, autumn months. On one special clear day earlier in November however I got lucky and here’s the stunning view from the top of the AEPC office building. The Himalaya continue out of shot both right and left;