Aga Khan Planning and Building Services

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The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service (AKPBS) was established in 1980 as an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The agency works to improve the built environment, particularly housing design and construction, village planning, natural hazard mitigation, environmental sanitation, water supplies, and other living conditions. It does this by providing material, technical assistance and applied research, as well as planning and construction management services for communities in both rural and urban areas.

Organization and governance[edit]

AKPBS acts through a series of national service companies that plan, organise and finance activities and operate facilities and programmes in close collaboration with other AKDN institutions, government, and select partner agencies. The national service companies are officially registered as not-for-profit, non-governmental organisations in each country. Their international sponsor is the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services S.A., a not-for-profit company based in Geneva, Switzerland. The Chairman and some or all of the directors of the AKPBS boards in India and Pakistan are appointed by the sponsoring company. All directors serve as volunteers on an unremunerated basis.

Improving safety standards[edit]

Community-based technical review services are provided by AKPBS to low-income families to help plan and construct multi-hazard resistant and affordable houses using appropriate technology and alternative energy. Special attention is given to the preservation of traditional building technology which is re-engineered to improve safety standards and implemented through the capacity building of local skilled artisans.

Under disaster resilience programmes, communities living in hazard-prone areas are being offered awareness programmes, training, capacity building and demonstration of safe construction technologies.

National service companies[edit]

  • Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS,P)
Established in 1980 with a mandate to plan and implement infrastructure and technology related development initiatives to improve living conditions within various provinces and regions, such as the Northern Areas of Pakistan, the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Sindh in development program areas such as habitat risk reduction, energy efficient building and construction improvement, water supply and sanitation, and natural resources conservation.
AKPBS,P's main programs are the Water and Sanitation Extension Program (WASEP), the Building and Construction Improvement Program (BACIP) and the Habitat Risk Management Program (HRMP). These programs have been internationally recognized for their multi-beneficial impact, local community acceptance and role in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, India (AKPBS,I)
Active since 1970, a major focus of their programmes has been the installation of sanitation units in the villages of Gujarat state. AKPBS,I also assists communities with the improvement of village water systems, the construction of water harvesting systems, and water quality monitoring.

Making use of the experiences in Pakistan and India, there are advanced plans for the establishment of AKPBS companies in both Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Awards[edit]

Ashden Awards, 2011[edit]

On June 16, the world’s most prestigious green energy awards announced that the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service’s (AKPBS) innovative Building and Construction Improvement Program (BACIP) has received the Award for Avoided Deforestation at this year’s Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. Princess Zahra, Head of the Social Welfare department of the Aga Khan Development Network, accepted the award on behalf of AKPBS at a ceremony in London addressed by Rt. Hon. Gregory Barker, UK Government Minister for Climate Change. Winners from India and Africa were also announced.

Energy Globe Award - Pakistan, 2009[edit]

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan won the National Energy Globe Award, 2009.[1] Out of more than 800 entries from 111 countries, AKPBS,P's Water and Sanitation Extension Program (WASEP) was selected as the best project for Pakistan. WASEP was also shortlisted in the top three projects worldwide for the Water Category Award for its sustainable, environmentally friendly and efficient supply of safe water, low-cost sanitation facilities and health & hygiene education in many marginalized parts of Northern Pakistan.

Both the National Award as well as the Nomination Award were received by AKPBS,P’s Chairman, Mr. Hafiz Sherali, at a highly publicized ceremony held in Rwanda which was attended by a number of top-ranking UN officials as well as famous environmental champions. The Prime Minister of Rwanda, Mr. Bernard Makuza, also attended the Award ceremony. AKPBS,P has received the Energy Globe Award in the past for its household-based energy efficient products and technologies.

Global Leadership Award, 2009[edit]

The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) awarded the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan the Global Leadership Award for the year 2009. The award was extended to the AKPBS,P for its Building and Construction Improvement Program (BACIP) and its achievements in improving health, livelihood, and quality of life, particularly of women and children, by reducing exposure to indoor air pollution from household energy use. The award was presented at the 4th Biennial PCIA Forum in Kampala, Uganda on 28 March 2009.

The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) Awards Program recognizes organizations committed to improving health, livelihood and quality of life, particularly for women and children, by reducing exposure to indoor air pollution from household energy use. More than 250 public and private organizations have joined the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air. Already, key PCIA Partners have reported helping 1.4 million households to adopt clean cooking and heating practices, reducing harmful exposures for more than 7.6 million people. These Partners plan to reach another 6 million households by 2010.

Energy Globe Award - Pakistan, 2008[edit]

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan was selected as the best project in Pakistan for the Energy Globe Award, 2008.[2][3] Out of a total of 769 entries from 111 countries, AKPBS,P's Building and Construction Improvement Program (BACIP) won the national Energy Globe Award for Pakistan. This Award is reputed to be a very important environmental award in the world and was received by AKPBS,P’s Chairman, Mr. Hafiz Sherali, at a ceremony held in Prague where political VIPs from around the world met at the gala event in the realm of the Czech EU presidency.

The Energy Globe has been awarded annually since 1999 in the realm of a television gala broadcast worldwide. It distinguishes projects from all over the world that conserve our resources such as energy and water or that utilize renewable or emission-free forms of energy. The goal is to present successful sustainable projects to a broad audience, for many of our environmental problems already have good, feasible solutions.

Dubai International Award for Best Practices 2008[edit]

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service in Pakistan received the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment (DIABP) 2008 for its Water and Sanitation Extension Program (WASEP).[4] The Award's Jury based their decisions on tangible impact resulting from the transfer of one or more of the following: ideas, skills, processes, knowledge or expertise, and technology; changes in policies or practices and sustainability of the transfer as part of a continuous process of learning and change.

The DIABP was established under the directives of late Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – the former Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the emir of Dubai. The Award was established during the United Nations International Conference that convened in Dubai in 1995 to recognize the best practices with positive impact on improving the living environment.

World Habitat Award, 2006[edit]

The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan won the World Habitat Award for 2006 for its efforts to improve housing conditions in Pakistan. Princess Zahra Aga Khan received the award in Naples on behalf of the AKPBS.[5][6]

The objectives of the AKPBS have been inspired by His Highness the Aga Khan's philosophy that "a proper home can provide the bridge across that terrible gulf between poverty and a better future".[7] The AKPBS developed over 60 low-cost, seismic-resistant, energy and resource-efficient housing construction methods and standards. These range from smoke-free stoves and screened kitchen cabinets for storing food to water heaters and ventilation systems.[8] Many of these products and low-cost technologies are designed to address the prevailing housing conditions in poor areas of the developing world.

The programme has created a self-sustaining industry in low-cost home improvement. Community members identify the need for new products, provide feedback on existing products, raise awareness of problems such as respiratory illnesses caused by smoke from cooking fires, market the products and manage the programme. The products are built and sold by local entrepreneurs. Since 1997, AKPBS has trained over 200 entrepreneurs and artisans, who have in turn sold over 14,000 house improvement products. The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, a sister agency, now offers small loans to help poor people finance housing improvements.

The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) as part of its contribution to the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. Two awards of £10,000 are given annually at the United Nations global celebration of World Habitat Day to projects from the global north as well as the south that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems.

Alcan Prize for Sustainability, 2005[edit]

In 2005, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service received the US $1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability for its efforts to improve housing conditions as well as water and sanitation facilities in Pakistan through its Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP).[9] WASEP was launched in 1997 to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases through the provision of potable water as well as improved hygiene and sanitation practices.[10]

Alcan Inc, a global leader in aluminium and related products, created the Alcan Prize for Sustainability to recognise outstanding contributions to the goal of economic, environmental, and social sustainability by not-for-profit, non-governmental, and civil society organisations. To ensure credibility and objectivity, the Alcan Prize is managed by a third-party, the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum.

See also[edit]

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