European Union
Skardu News

On May 29, 2024, the European Union (EU) has launched two flagship programmes to promote skills development and clean energy in Gilgit Baltistan.

The EU and the German government are working together to change Gilgit Baltistan’s vocational training scene through their youth skill development initiative. Through the provision of focused support, a number of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools around the area have improved their facilities, staff training, and curriculum to better meet the needs of the labor market. The British Council is collaborating with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to carry out this initiative.

Rural people in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral will have better access to renewable energy under the EU-funded Energy Plus initiative. The program’s investments in energy generation, transmission, and distribution are intended to support a sustainable shift to renewable energy sources. Additionally, it will promote energy efficiency to encourage growth driven by the private sector, integrating civil society and local government. Through this strategic relationship between the EU and its implementing partner, Aga Khan Foundation, a total of 350,000 individuals are projected to benefit.

The Honorable Chief Minister, Haji Gulbar Khan, the EU Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Dr. Riina Kionka, the Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy, Dr. Sebastian Paust, and Mr. Akhtar Iqbal, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan, were all present at the launch event, which was held at Gilgit Serena.

The Honourable Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan, Haji Gulbar Khan thanked the European Union and German government for their assistance and added, “The skills development and clean green energy initiative will play a pivotal role in socio economic development of the region. Due to its unusual geographic position, Gilgit-Baltistan presents both benefits and disadvantages. We have no doubt that these initiatives will advance regional development.

Dr. Riina Kionka, the European Union’s ambassador to Pakistan, expressed Team Europe’s unwavering support for the people of Gilgit Baltistan by saying, “These initiatives are not just about development; they are about empowering people and communities in Gilgit-Baltistan.” Through creative, sustainable, and renewable solutions, the Energy Plus program will revolutionize rural communities; in Gilgit-Baltistan, the TVET project will open doors and give people the power to create a better future, particularly for women.

“We are committed to ensuring that no one is left behind,” stated Dr. Sebastian Paust, Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy in Islamabad, during his speech at the event. Through these programs, everyone in Gilgit-Baltistan will be able to participate in and profit from the economic expansion of the area.

The two new initiatives are a component of the larger Team Europe Initiative, which aims to “build back better through green jobs creation” by combining the capabilities of the EU, France, Germany, and Italy. Additionally, they support the EU’s largest investment initiative, the Global Gateway Initiative, which aims to combat the world’s most serious issues, including combating climate change, enhancing health systems, and enhancing the security and competitiveness of international supply chains.

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