Greens Call for Tajik Energy-Saving Plan



DUSHANBE, Sept. 19 (IWPR) - Although Tajikistan has several major hydroelectric schemes, it has to import all its fuel and is perennially short of energy as well as money. As Shahodat Saipnazarova reports, many villagers are reduced to gathering firewood and dried animal dung to heat their homes.

Environmental organizations are urging the authorities to accelerate the introduction of energy-saving measures, and to heed their advice on these issues. President Imomali Rahmonov issued instructions for a five-year energy-saving plan starting from 2010 to be drafted and submitted by September, but the deadline has come and gone.

Green groups are trying to prod the authorities into action. Alikhon Latifi, who chairs a forum of environmental groups, says they have provided the committee drafting the energy plan with a set of recommendations along with information on energy-saving technologies. Environmentalists are calling for a combination of energy-saving systems and greater use of renewable fuels. They also are acutely aware of their own role, which they see as working with government as well as lobbying it. “All over the world, environmentalists are like watchdogs,” said Yury Skochilo of the Youth Environmental Centre. “So we have to find a compromise between acting as watchdog and feeding positive, interesting ideas to our government. We meet with either conflict or support…. We are always seeking that balance.”