Climate Parliament's South Asia team have helped to achieved a significant milestone in Nepal, a result of dedicated and sustained parliamentary advocacy on regional energy cooperation.
HISTORIC POWER EXCHANGE AGREEMENT
Following a meeting of parliamentarians in Nepal convened in December 2023 and strategic follow-up undertaken by the chair of Climate Parliament India, MP Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, a long-delayed long-term power exchange agreement between India and Nepal has been signed. The historic agreement, signed on 4 January, 2024 will substantially boost the hydropower sector in Nepal, with 10,000 megawatts of electricity to be exported to India over the next decade. The agreement was signed during a meeting between Nepalese Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Secretary Gopal Sigdel and Indian Energy Secretary Pankaj Agarwal, as part of India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to the Nepali capital. Nepal's Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Kumar Basnet, played a key role in the agreement, which had been pending for the past seven months. See the announcement here.
Parliamentary diplomacy in action - a brief timeline
This milestone agreement follows a meeting on 17 December of Nepali Parliamentarians in Kathmandu, convened by the Climate Parliament in partnership with the Parliament of Nepal and the Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure Development. The event was inaugurated by Nepal’s Minister of Energy, Shakti Kumar Basnet and discussions covered various challenges and roadmaps for regional energy cooperation in South Asia, specifically from the perspective of Nepal.
Following the parliamentary meeting, on 18 December, senior Indian MP and Chairperson of Climate Parliament India, Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal, along with Climate Parliament Asia Director Mukul Sharma and Climate Parliament South Asia Policy Advisor Dr. Sumedha Basu, had a detailed meeting with the Nepal Energy Minister and the Energy Secretary at their office. During this meeting, the Energy Minister requested Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal and Climate Parliament to urgently connect with the Indian Minister of External Affairs and the Power Secretary to address some issues and ensure the pending power agreement is finally signed in January during Mr. Jaishankar's visit.
Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal, also the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Estimates Committee, upon his return to Delhi on 19 December, contacted the Minister of External Affairs, the Power Minister, and the Power Secretary. He conveyed some of the concerns expressed by the Nepali Minister and the Secretary and received positive feedback from the Indian Minister and officials, to be addressed immediately. Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal personally communicated these developments to the Nepal Minister of Energy and Energy Secretary on 22 December. For necessary follow-ups, the Climate Parliament staff communicated the same to the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure development, Mr. Deepak Bahadur Singh, who is also an active member of Climate Parliament Nepal.
On 1 January 2024, the Infrastructure Development Committee under the House of Representatives, took updates about the Nepal-India Power Trade Agreement (PTA) and other relevant matters to the Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, with plans to hold discussions with Minister Basnet.
The recent decision by the Parliament Committee on Infrastructure Development, chaired by Climate Parliament MP Deepak Bahadur Singh, opens up further possibilities for parliamentary advocacy.
"The Infrastructure Development Committee under the House of Representatives (HoR) has decided to take updates about Nepal-India Power Trade Agreement (PTA) and other relevant matters from the Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation. In a meeting of the Committee, its members were of the view of inviting the Minister to the next meeting and take information on the matters, citing that the Committee previous efforts to receive information in writing went in vain. The members stressed the need of concluding a bill relating to the power development considered important in terms of trade and international relations soon. Being based on the meeting feedback, the parliamentary committee has also planned to consult with the minister regarding the questions on electricity dedicated and trunk lines.”
You can read more here.