ISLAMABAD: United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) representative, Esam
Alqararah, said that Pakistan has a great potential in various diverse fields, especially in the renewable
He elaborated that there were a number of localities in Pakistan where residents could easily generate
electricity by putting a small turbine in the water flowing in rivers and their tributaries, and they will
have no need to get connected with any grid station.
At present, the UN body was running six different projects related to energy, environment and capacity
building of business community in collaboration with ministries of Industries, Climate Change,
Commerce, Science and Technology as well as the Chambers of Commerce and Industry,
During the last five years, UNIDO had spent around $ 20 million in different projects, which involved
capacity building of entrepreneurs, promotion of renewable energy, kerbing industrial pollution and
protection of the environment in Pakistan, he added.
In response to a question, he postulated, andquot;The budget is not so important, sometimes a project having
high budget leaves a small impact and sometimes a low-budget project creates a huge impact in the
society.andquot; He then went on to make note of the Clean Technology (Cleantech) project, currently being
executed in eight countries including Pakistan simultaneously, he asserted that it was proving highly
beneficial for entrepreneurs, innovators and start-up companies to grow and take their ideas further.
UNIDO was managing a global programme called Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), which
was a global competition aimed at promoting innovations in the area of clean technologies, he
elaborated. This competition is designed to foster innovation in renewable energy, energy efficiency,
water efficiency, energy waste and green building, and aims to target Small and Medium-sized
Enterprises (SMEs). andquot;Every year, five selected applicants are selected by a panel of judges after
evaluating their novel ideas and given $ 25,000 each besides further mentorship and training in Silicon
Valley, the USA for the global contest,andquot; he said.
Alqararah believed, andquot;We have the policy to create a conducive environment and provide the model role
that promotes innovation in this country, and you (Pakistan) will have to minimise trade barriers for its
entrepreneurs.andquot; The programme was also said to have resulted in such significant effects that now more
than 50 countries were asking UNIDO to implement it for their entrepreneurs, largely because the
Cleantech had encouraged entrepreneurs and the start-up innovators in executing their unique ideas.
In his remarks on the environmental issues, the UNIDO Representative said that the organisation had
planned to set up an industrial waste treatment unit in Karachi similar to ones already introduced in
Kasur and Sialkot in order to minimise environmental hazards. All the projects being executed in
Pakistan by the organisation were innovative, cost-effective and environment-friendly, he elaborated.
With regard to the agricultural sector of Pakistan, he underlined the need of a strong food packaging
industry and an effective grading of edibles to compete in international markets. andquot;Pakistan is a milk
producing country, and it needs an improved packaging system for dairy products. In this field, we are
now planning to launch (a) joint venture,andquot; he maintained. Alqararah also added that Pakistan was the
first country to have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) introduced by UN, of which
chapter nine titled `Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and
foster innovationand#39; related to UNIDO. andquot;This government took the initiative from the beginning to adopt
the SDGs, making Pakistan the first country to adopt the agenda,andquot; he remarked.
The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), currently running in 6 countries, including Pakistan,
is a three year programme that aims at developing a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem, while
supporting clean technology innovations in SMEs and startup entrepreneurs to maximize their
opportunities to achieve sustainable commercial success. The GCIP for SMEs in Pakistan is funded by the
Global Environment Facility (GEF) and is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization (UNIDO) with the support of local and international partners. The Cleantech Open, the
biggest cleantech accelerator in the United States of America, is the programmeand#39;s global partner. The
programme will utilize the Cleantech Openand#39;s proven model to support cleantech startups and SMEs for
the implementation of the acceleration programme in Pakistan.
The Cleantech Programme in Pakistan focuses on fostering emerging and commercially viable clean
technology startups to fuel green industrial growth in the country, while small and medium-sized
enterprises are provided with training, mentoring, and access to potential investors. The Programme will
adopt the GEF UNIDO Cleantech ecosystem approach which, among others, includes close engagement
with the private sector, scaling up the momentum for sustainable industrial development and
strengthening the policy framework as required. By working closely with SMEs, national ministries,
academia, industrial associations, provincial governments, potential investors, partner agencies and
autonomous research centers in the country and abroad, this Programme will establish an effective
awareness campaign and platform to mobilize interest among targeted beneficiaries and ensure the
adequate buy-in of SMEs.