Remarks by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves Public Launch
New York, 23 September - I am delighted to be here for the public launch of the Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves.
Its strength is in its purpose, aims and the diverse experience, talents and influence of its members.
A fundamental understanding too, that only by working with local people and communities will real transformative change be achieved.
Advances in information technology or gene therapy or breakthroughs in astrophysics astonish the world.
But it should be equally astonished by the fact that billions of our fellow human beings are cooking in the early 21st century on stoves that are so hazardous that close to two million people-mainly women and children-die each year: let alone those who become ill.
The health impacts are reason enough for the alliance and its objectives.
But inefficient cook stoves also contribute to deforestation and loss of biodiversity.
Only two days ago here in New York Kenya's Ambassador to UNEP noted that 80 per cent of his fellow citizens are dependent on forests for fuel including cooking.
Meanwhile and by some estimates, 25 per cent of black carbon emissions are linked to inefficient cook stoves.
Black carbon is thought to be making a significant contribution to current climate change-phasing down or phasing out emissions will deliver immediate benefits.
Its presence in the Atmospheric Brown Cloud is also linked with 'dimming' and other impacts that may be cutting the productivity of agriculture.
Thus action on inefficient cook stoves is long over due.
And the multiple challenges but also multiple opportunities are precisely why this initiative, spearheaded by the UN Foundation under the umbrella of the Clinton Global Initiative, has attracted so much support.
People often ask what is a Green Economy, how does it echo to the challenges and realities of the developing world?
Well this initiative is a green economy measure-for every dollar invested you are addressing many if not all the Millennium Development Goals and more-generating jobs too.