The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), having its headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, is responsible for promoting economic and social development in the Western Asia region. UN-ESCWA, in association with WISE, conducted a major project and study tour in 2015, for senior policy makers from Western Asia on ‘Building Capacities in Developing Appropriate Green Technologies for Improving the Livelihood of Rural Communities in the ESCWA Region’. The project/study tour aimed to strengthen the capacity and knowledge of policy-makers and mainstream appropriate green technology initiatives into national development programmes and policies, in order to facilitate investments in the rural areas, thus enhancing livelihoods of rural communities.
Senior-level officials from Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, and Sudan participated in the study tour. Officials from UN-ESCWA, UN-ESCAP, APCTT and one participant each from Nepal and Laos were also part of the study tour. The programme was entirely designed by WISE, in consultation with UN-ESCWA, and comprised two and half days of lectures and one and a half days of site visits. WISE arranged all the logistics required for the study tour. Comprehensive study material comprising the Indian experiences on access to modern energy services using renewable energy technologies was prepared by WISE and presentations were made, both by WISE resource persons as well as experts from the field. Two site visits were also organised. These included a half-day visit to BAIF Development Research Foundation’s Central Research Station at Urulikanchan, Pune, to study the various RE off-grid systems developed by BAIF, and a full-day visit to a solarbased, mini-grid project in the remote village of Darewadi in Junnar taluka, Maharashtra. The participants had the opportunity to witness the working of the solar PV-based mini-grid project and get a glimpse of the various benefits availed by the villagers. Baseline assessment and post study tour evaluation was then conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of the programme. The project concluded with WISE submitting the study tour report to UN-ESCWA.