A cross-section of leading international stakeholders from government, the private sector, academia, the UN, and the non-profit communities launched the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in September 2010 with an ambitious mission to reduce the more than two million deaths each year from indoor air pollution, protect the environment, and transform the global market for clean cookstoves and fuels. The Alliance, a public-private partnership led by the United Nations Foundation, has as its goal the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels in 100 million households by 2020. Since its launch, more than 470 partners, including 38 national governments, have joined the Alliance in working to create and sustain thriving markets to help the more than 600 million households around the world that still cook over open fires or on traditional cookstoves.
Toward this goal, the Alliance completed work in November 2011 on the sector’s first comprehensive strategy to transform the sector based on the input of over 350 leading experts and practitioners across the globe. Igniting Change: A Strategy for Universal Adoption of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels identified the sector’s primary gaps in awareness, investment, research, standards, technology, distribution, and other key areas, and laid out the steps needed to enhance demand; strengthen supply; and foster an enabling environment for clean cookstoves and fuel use throughout the developing world. Based on the sector’s recommendations, the Alliance has gone on to develop a comprehensive ten-year strategic business plan that articulates the value propositions that the Alliance can offer the sector and outlines a roadmap for catalyzing a global market for clean cookstoves and fuels. In September, the Alliance announced plans to prioritize six countries for immediate engagement during Phase I of its Strategic Business Plan – Bangladesh, China, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. The Alliance is working closely with leading sector stakeholders in these initial priority countries to finalize Country Action Plans that identify intervention options, detail partner commitments, and highlight areas for potential Alliance involvement. The Alliance is also in the process of developing national “tool kits” to catalyze markets in all partner countries.
The Alliance’s multi-faceted country engagement approach combined with a well-designed research program; targeted advocacy efforts; mobilization of financial, and in-kind resources; leadership from global champions; and support from a range of global partners has allowed significant progress in efforts to transform the market for clean cookstoves and fuels and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants. Residential solid fuel combustion contributes over 20% of global black carbon emissions and emits methane and other ozone-producing gases like carbon monoxide. If appropriately designed and disseminated, use of clean cookstoves and fuels can provide a cost-effective tool for reducing a major source of climate pollutant emission and bring about a more rapid climate response than reductions in carbon dioxide alone.
The Alliance is working to identify and target regions where the climate benefits from cookstoves will be greatest, including those where environmental degradation is a major concern and where the emissions of black carbon may have the greatest warming effect (proximity to glaciers, etc.). The Alliance has funded a global mapping study of non-renewable fuel collection, which will be especially useful in identifying the areas of greatest potential environmental impact from clean cooking interventions. Over the next few years, the Alliance will focus on additional research priorities with a major environmental and climate benefits including activities to inform clean cookstove designs and standards development, enable robust estimates of the greenhouse gas mitigation and other co-benefits from clean cookstoves and fuels programs, and, together with improved methodologies for carbon offset projects, facilitation of the development of carbon markets to enable widespread adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels, and research into black and brown carbon emissions from use of traditional cookstoves and open fires.