Sri Lanka hosts UNDP’s strategic steering committee meeting on trilateral cooperation project
Posted on June 24th, 2024

Courtesy Adaderana

The Strategic Steering Committee meeting and summary workshop of the Biogas, Biomass and Solar South-south and Trilateral Cooperation Project was successfully held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 12-14 June with the participation of 30 key stakeholders from the Strategic Steering Committee Board, with thematic focus on presenting the project’s results and achievements, alongside an independent evaluation to assess lessons learned and provide recommendations for ensuring the project’s continued sustainability.

Participants also engaged in a two-day visit to project sites in Wennappuwa, Kurunegala and Trincomalee. The project, in partnership with the governments of China, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the aim of improving local access to clean and renewable energy in Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. The project also facilitated two-way exchanges of expertise and technologies, as well as mutual learning among China, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka.

Specifically, the Project was a collaboration between the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM), the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST), the Ministry of Water and Energy of Ethiopia (MoWE), Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA), Administrative Center for China’s Agenda 21 (ACCA21), China Agricultural University (CAU), coordinated by UNDP China and implemented by UNDP Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. 

Under the banner of South-South and Trilateral Cooperation modality, in Sri Lanka, UNDP Sri Lanka implemented the ‘Biogas, Biomass and Solar Trilateral Cooperation (TSSC) Project’ from 2019-2024. 

The project spanned five provinces, delivering 262 Solar Powered Renewable Energy Technology(RETs) Applications, including solar PV systems, solar-powered greenhouses, cold rooms, solar-powered aerators for shrimp farms, solar-powered sprayers, solar animal repellers, and solar insect traps to over 233 beneficiaries including 80 women and 200 vulnerable groups. Key outcomes of the project included the development of an Energy Data Management System (EDMS) to monitor energy savings from these RETs with the support of the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA); the distribution of IT equipment among the 5 provinces for data collection and updating EDMS; development and handing over of 5 Provincial Energy Plans for the agriculture sector for the Eastern, North-Western, Northern, Southern and Uva provinces.

Commenting on the impact of the project over the years at the summary workshop, Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka stated, UNDP’s Biogas, Biomass, and Solar Trilateral Project exemplifies the success of South-South and triangular cooperation in promoting innovative development solutions and fostering transformative change towards net-zero development pathways. The Project has supported Sri Lanka’s national targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions and has greatly supported vulnerable farmer communities in Sri Lanka, enabling them to secure a sustainable income through the transfer of renewable energy technologies.”

From the Government of Sri Lanka’s perspective, Dr. Sulakshana Jayawardena, Secretary, Ministry of Power & Energy commented, We are looking forward to deeper and larger opportunities to cooperate with the global South in our journey of national development. This pilot project clearly showed the greater mutual understanding of partners and brought experience from China on renewable energy technologies and provided opportunities for Sri Lanka to exchange ideas and lessons learnt with China and Ethiopia. We foresee the ever-broadening space for South-South cooperation in our accelerated energy transition programme launched to reach carbon neutrality”.

From the Chinese perspective, Mr. Chen Qizhen, Deputy Director General, ACCA21 noted, Throughout the project implementation, we not only shared advanced technologies and experiences in the field of renewable energy with our partners, promoting technology transfer and innovation, but also jointly explored new paths to address energy poverty and advance green, low-carbon development. From solar energy, and biogas, to biomass energy, and from technical training to the construction of project demonstration sites, every step reflects the dedication and wisdom of all experts and representatives involved. Each achievement stands as a testament to our collective commitment to pursuing a green future.”

Adding to this, Ms. Charu Bist, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Ethiopia also highlighted the impact in Ethiopia Ethiopia is the third-highest country in Sub-Saharan Africa facing electricity access deficits. Only around 35 per cent of its population is connected to on-grid electrification, with an additional 13 per cent utilising off-grid pre-electrification, resulting in a combined electricity access rate of 48 per cent. Addressing these energy disparities not only enhances social equality, particularly for vulnerable populations and women but also mitigates health issues, and improves access to essential services, education, and information.”

Played as the bridge between China, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, Ms. Beate Trankmann, Resident Representative, UNDP in China commented, At a time when global progress towards the SDGs has not only stalled – but in some areas such as climate action is in fact regressing, and when government budgets are overstretched, partnerships like this can make a critical contribution. By developing and deploying biogas, biomass, and solar technologies, this project has brought access to clean and renewable energy to vulnerable people and communities in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia, improving livelihoods and enabling sustainable growth.”

South-South cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, national and collective self-reliance, and attainment of internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Trilateral Cooperation including the engagement of UNDP adds value to that.


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