ISLAMABAD: Pakistan can save 175,000 lives in the next six years by providing resilient energy to the masses as the provision of resilient energy will help reduce maternal, adult and infant mortality, as well as a lower disease burden, revealed a study conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

According to the findings of the new UNICEF study, powering more health facilities with resilient energy in Pakistan could avert over 175,000 deaths by 2030 and contribute $296 million to Pakistan’s economy by 2044. The study finds that if resilient energy is fully utilised, families and children in remote areas can have better water quality and supply, with fewer power outages. This can protect children from diseases and boost agricultural output. Investment and political action from both the public and private sectors can help to bring about a green and just energy transition.

Resilient energy refers to a reliable, flexible, accessible, and quality power supply that can withstand and recover quickly from unanticipated shocks, such as power outages and floods. Investment in resilient energy across health, education and water services can lead to other substantial gains for children in the country and return up to triple the investment, according to the study conducted by the Economist Impact Unit for UNICEF.

For example, providing resilient electricity to schools would reduce dropout rates and improve children’s learning so they can earn more in the future. This would add $2.3 billion to Pakistan’s economy by 2040, as per the research. Given that Pakistan recently declared an education emergency, investments that address energy resilience could help to get 26 million out-of-school children back in the classroom. It would also potentially power approximately 20 per cent of schools that are off the grid in two Pakistani provinces.

In addition, temperatures have hit over 50C in some parts due to relentless heat waves. The demand for electricity has surged putting a strain on existing electricity sources. With load-shedding and massive shortages, cooling is difficult. This can put children’s health in danger, and lead to dehydration, diarrhea and more serious complications.

“Children depend on schools, health centres and safe drinking water for their survival, yet these facilities often doesn’t have the electricity supply to function optimally. As the current heat wave grips the country, electricity needs have skyrocketed leading to shortfalls that can endanger children’s health,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “This research underscores the importance of implementing resilient energy solutions, which not only safeguard children’s lives and enhance their well-being but also contribute to economic growth. Clearly, this win-win for everyone in Pakistan: children, families, teachers, private sector and the economy. And the urgency to turn to renewable energy is greater than ever before, especially for our children, who suffer the impacts of climate change daily.”

Worldwide 3.5 billion people live without reliable power, mostly in developing regions, where power outages can interrupt surgeries at hospitals and because drinking water sources such as tube wells to fail. In addition, climate change is disrupting the generation and distribution of energy. During the 2022 Pakistan floods, almost half of the water structures, such as water storage tanks, wells and supply main lines were damaged. The floods severely damaged the main river system, responsible for 25 percent of Pakistan’s energy supply.

In response, UNICEF restored water systems to benefit 350,000 people in 375 locations using smarter design. The floor level of the new wells was raised to above the level of projected floods, with frame structures that provide stability and protection walls that reduce potential damage.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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Maqbool Jun 01, 2024 03:01pm
Then why reduce the Net Metering Solar rate. If you have to reduce it only for Non Tax Payers
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