U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue Energy Working Group Visit
Ambassador Carlos Pascual, U.S. Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs, and Pakistani Minister of Water and Power Naveed Qamar co-hosted the latest Pakistan-U.S. Energy Dialogue in Islamabad September 14-15 to review progress on ongoing energy programs.
Both sides recommitted themselves to pursuing practical solutions to Pakistan’s energy needs, and Ambassador Pascual reaffirmed the United States’ long-term commitment to working with Pakistan to establish a commercially viable and sustainable power sector. He noted at the opening of the dialogue that, “as all Pakistanis know, reliable and affordable energy is critical to Pakistan’s prosperity. Without it, businesses can’t operate and families can’t light and cool their homes. Pakistan’s future depends on power. There are no quick fixes to this crisis, but the United States and international partners are willing to help. We will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to resolve this energy crisis.”
During the dialogue, USAID highlighted its ongoing energy programs, which will bring more than 900 megawatts of power to the Pakistani grid by 2012, and the U.S. delegation welcomed Pakistan’s plans to put the power sector on a commercially viable and sustainable path. Pakistan also underscored its commitment to strengthen energy sector governance and efficiency, pursue regulatory reforms, improve financial management, and create a business climate that helps drive investment.
Other key topics of discussion at the energy dialogue included: an overview of the power sector and challenges it faces; the current policy and regulatory framework, and possible reforms; availability of primary fuels; the role of the private sector; and regional energy initiatives. The United States underscored that these measures will help develop a stronger foundation for investment. Both sides agreed to continue technical exchanges in areas that can help improve power availability. The United States also welcomed Pakistan’s continued engagement with international financial institutions and the private sector to assess feasibility of viable hydropower projects and appreciates its commitment to international environmental and societal standards, while also focusing on the importance of water management.