EU Pakistan launches skills development and clean energy initiatives in Gilgit-Baltistan

The European Union Delegation to Pakistan has unveiled two transformative programs aimed at enhancing vocational training and energy infrastructure in Pakistan’s picturesque northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

Skills Development: The first initiative, a youth skill development program, is a collaboration between the European Union (EU) and the Government of Germany. This effort seeks to revolutionize the vocational training landscape in Gilgit-Baltistan by enhancing the capabilities of selected Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools. The program will see improved facilities, better-trained staff, and curricula aligned more closely with labor market needs. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the British Council are spearheading this initiative.

Clean Energy Initiative: Simultaneously, the EU-funded Energy Plus program is set to provide rural communities in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral with improved access to clean energy. This initiative aims to drive a sustainable transition to renewable energy, focusing on energy generation, transmission, and distribution, while promoting energy efficiency to stimulate private sector growth. The Aga Khan Foundation, in partnership with the EU, will implement this program, which is expected to benefit approximately 350,000 people.

The latest initiatives reaffirm Team Europe’s commitment to supporting sustainable development and economic empowerment in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Launch ceremony in Gilgit

The official launch event in Gilgit City was attended by notable figures including the GB Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan, EU Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Riina Kionka, Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy Dr. Sebastian Paust, and CEO of Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan Akhtar Iqbal.

Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan expressed his gratitude towards the EU and German government, highlighting the transformative potential of these initiatives.

“The skills development and clean energy initiative will play a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of the region,” he remarked. Given Gilgit-Baltistan’s unique geographical position and its associated opportunities and challenges, these projects will significantly contribute to our development goals, he added. Gulbar Khan assured the government’s support and resolve to make both these projects a success.

EU Ambassador Dr. Riina Kionka emphasized the broader impact of these projects, stating, “These initiatives are not just about development; they are about empowering people and communities in Gilgit-Baltistan. The Energy Plus program will transform rural communities through innovative, clean and renewable solutions, while the TVET initiative will unlock opportunities and empower individuals in Gilgit-Baltistan to build a brighter future, especially for women.”

Dr. Sebastian Paust from the German Embassy highlighted the inclusivity of these initiatives, saying, “We are committed to ensuring that no one is left behind. These initiatives will create pathways for everyone in Gilgit-Baltistan to contribute to and benefit from the region’s economic growth.”

These new programs are part of the larger Team Europe Initiatives, which brings together the strengths of the EU, France, Germany, and Italy to promote “green jobs creation” as part of a global effort to tackle pressing challenges such as climate change and economic inequality. They also contribute to the EU’s Global Gateway Initiative, aimed at enhancing global infrastructure, health systems, and supply chain security.

Sana Jamal
Storyteller. Avid Reader. Learner to the core.

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