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Clean Cookstoves Save Lives, Reduce Carbon

Cookstoves
Women in North India cooking over a wood fire - the fumes are a health hazard. Photo Credit: The World Bank/Curt Carnemark

March 10, 2011

Close to half of the global population, nearly three billion people in developing countries, depend on solid fuels—wood, charcoal, crop waste, dung, and coal—for cooking and heating. It’s a tragic statistic responsible for the deaths of more than 1.6 million people—mostly women and children—every year.



Rohit KhannaReplacing the traditional cook stove with an improved version, means more efficient, cleaner burning fuels. Venting the smoke out of the house, can dramatically improve the lives of families and have a positive impact on the environment and health. ||  Rohit Khanna, Manager, ESMAP 

The choking smoke from indoor wood fires causes respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and emphysema, making it a leading health hazard in developing countries.

Added to this is the environmental cost: in rural areas, women and children spend hours every day collecting wood for cooking or making charcoal, practices that cause deforestation and soil erosion. The urban poor often spend a part of their income to buy charcoal and wood. Thousands of burning woodstoves causes the hazy pall that hangs over many cities, and adds to the burden of carbon emissions.

Last September, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a $50 million contribution to the Global Alliance for Clean Stoves for 100 million clean-burning stoves to be provided to low-income households using solid biomass fuels in Africa, Asia and South America.

Koffi EkoueviEncouraging results of this project are due to a close collaboration among community organizations, NGOs, the private sector, and the national forestry and energy institutions.  || Koffi Ekouevi, Project Manager, Energy Unit, The World Bank 

This comes on top of the the $162 million the World Bank has contributed since 1989 to finance improved household access to low-carbon cooking energy, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. The Global Alliance for Clean Stoves also includes the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), a technical assistance fund administered by the World Bank and financed by 13 donor countries.

“Replacing the traditional cook stove with an improved version, means more efficient, cleaner burning fuels,” said Rohit Khanna, Manager of ESMAP. “Venting the smoke out of the house, can dramatically improve the lives of families and have a positive impact on the environment and health. ESMAP brings to this Global Alliance a wealth of experience and lessons learned in designing and promoting clean cook stoves in low income countries.”

The West African desert nation of Mali has been the site of a clean household energy project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project focused on wood-fuel supply master plans, and supported design and implementation of efficient charcoal production. A second project supported inter-fuel substitution by kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas, while also helping private stakeholders develop the manufacture of kerosene stove, efficient charcoal production and new biomass briquettes. To ensure a sustainable supply of wood fuel, about 874,000 hectares of forest were placed under community management.

“Encouraging results of this project are due to a close collaboration among community organizations, NGOs, the private sector, and the national forestry and energy institutions,” said Koffi Ekouevi, the project’s manager.

Similar projects in Senegal and Ethiopia have helped establish sustainable community-based forest management over an area of 378,161 hectares with a capacity to supply more than 370,596 tons per year of sustainable wood fuel. An energy access project in Ethiopia led, through its demonstration effect, to the adoption of improved stoves by 2.6 million households in just five years, saving over a million tons of wood, and more than 28,000 hectares of forest. Further household energy projects of varying scale have been implemented in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Madagascar, and Mozambique.

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Contributed by John Mulaa, Communications Consultant, The World Bank


Last updated: 2011-03-10