Bioenergy and poverty

Employment and income generation obtained from bioenergy cushions impact of dire poverty

A study, by John Soussan (1991), entitled Socio-economic aspects of bioenergy: a focus on employment, based on secondary analysis, shows that the bioenergy sector generates employment and income among developing countries and creates jobs among the more developed regions of the world. In this paper, the main assumption is that in many parts of Asia and Africa, where poverty is a way of life, unemployment is a stark reality. It is not just the search for food, the most basic of all human needs, that is hard to come by, but also the fuel for cooking the food must be made available.

Where there is unemployment, the opportunity cost of labour is zero. Inasmuch as in many areas there is a market for woodfuels and other biomass resources, the potential for jobs and income derived from bioenergy is high. The case of Cebu City, the Philippines is a classic example. The island has less than 1 percent of forest cover, yet the market for woodfuels and other biomass by-products continues to be a thriving industry. The production, consumption, distribution and trade patterns follow a multilayered system of woodfuel flows where rural farmers and rural and urban traders and consumers are the main actors.

While providing for income and work opportunities, bioenergy also saves on the much needed foreign currencies. Biofuels are a good substitute for fossil-derived fuel resources, i.e. LPG, kerosene and others (mostly from imported raw materials). Other issues also come into play, such as the indiscriminate cutting of trees and government policies regarding land tenure and ownership. Soussan estimates that in the Philippines, 85 percent of the fuelwood consumed comes from trees and plants in agricultural areas, specifically from backyard woodlots, boundary plantings and scattered shrublands.

The main contention, however, is that the dynamics involved cannot be overgeneralized. On the contrary, it is site-specific and area-based. Social costs, accounting costs and economic costs have to be considered. Yet the paper scrutinizes the available literature showing anecdotal evidence that the bioenergy sector generates employment as well as income for many subsistence households in the developing regions of the world. There is a future in biomass resources for alleviating poverty and at the same time improving environmental resources where markets for biofuels exist. However, considerable work still needs to be done in order to understand the complexities and act on the implications of these phenomena. (Contributed by: Prof. Elizabeth M. Remedio, Department of Economics, University of San Carlos, Cebu City, Philippines.)

[See also Country Compass for more information on the Cebu case study.]

Energy, gender and poverty reduction

The following is an address given by Mieko Nishimizu, Vice President, South Asian Region, World Bank at the ESMAP/ASTAE/AFRREI/RPTES Joint Strategy Business Meeting on 8 May 2001.

I want to begin with a simple notion. That is, no country large or small can succeed in eradicating poverty, unless her citizens - especially women and children - are healthy and educated. The development challenge we confront today lies not in what we do, but in how we think about what we do. For many, the word "energy" might suggest: a flip of a light switch; a power station; or windmills, solar panels, and the like.

Where is the gender in this image? Where is the woman?

Let me take you to her, in a mud house deep inside rural India: it is dark. We can barely see her but for the dim glow and flicker of a wood fire. At a glance she seems awfully efficient - "multitasking" we might say. She squats deeply - a baby on her back, an eye and a gentle word to a toddler nearby. She is pummelling dough and slapping a flat round of it on to the mud wall of her stove. She stirs a sizzling pot, hushes the baby as he begins to cry. The baby coughs, and she pats his little back. She turns to us and smiles ambiguously. Her eyes squint, water.

In rural India, shifting from fuelwood to cleaner sources of energy (such as kerosene and LPG) halves the mortality rate for children under five. In the Gambia, too, a child strapped to a mother's back over a smoky stove is found six times more likely to develop an acute respiratory tract infection than a child protected from smoke. Indoor air pollution kills. It kills 2 million women and young children every year.

Let us leave the smoke-filled hut and grab a lungful of air, before going next door. A young girl, her head covered, squeezes past us as we enter another mud house. She must be barely 20, but is already heavy with child. She returns with more wood, and smoke billows as the green wood tries to catch. She is embarrassed by our obvious discomfort. Will her child be among the World Bank statistics? One among the 50 percent increase in stillbirths in western India, among women exposed to indoor smoke during pregnancy? But, we should take leave of this young expectant mother. She is tired - having walked several hours in punishing heat to gather as much fuelwood as she could carry.

In all developing countries, women spend anywhere between two to nine hours each day in fuel and fodder collection and cooking chores. In India, these chores mean six hours per day. A study in Uttarachal, India, found miscarriages to be five times the national average at 30 percent, and linked it to heavy load-bearing work during pregnancy. In Nepal, women suffer a high incidence of uterine prolapse that is in all likelihood linked to carrying heavy loads of wood soon after childbirth. Men of the developing world spend about ten times less on such daily "drudgery".

It is drudgery, indeed - drudgery of an inescapable toil. Wherever I go in South Asia, rural women use the word "darkness" to tell me about their drudgery: anxiety that their family and animals must be fed; anxiety, also, of knowing that this is all you have to pass on to your daughters; anxiety of being trapped in a dark prison, from which even death offers no escape.

Those who can talk about the darkness are better off. Too many women can only share with me their hopelessness with silence. They do not, cannot, and will not talk about it. But, their eyes tell it all - like those of a dead fish. Harmful physical consequences on lungs, eyes, reproductive organs and immune systems, are one thing. The drudgery also takes its mental toll. Women are the prime victims.

After a long silence, one woman in Rajasthan, India responded to my question. She said: "This, is not life. It is only keeping a body alive."

What is the solution - a solution that begins to shift the drudgery, for the 2 billion people in the world who rely on biomass fuels for their daily existence?

To repeat, the development challenge we confront today lies not in what we do, but in how we think about what we do. Unless we are prepared, mentally at least and preferably in real life, to squat down next to a choking fire to cook, and feel that rasp in our throats, we may just piece together a wrong approach.

Where do we start? Is it a policy issue? Yes. Relative prices of energy - the price of LPG and kerosene, for example.

Is it a technical issue? Yes. Fuel-efficient stoves, clean-fuel stoves, stoves that last, with local access to maintenance.

It is all of these things, and more. But, I would caution against pursuing any ideas until we have listened to the woman at the stove: What kind of stove will she use? What can her family afford - LPG or kerosene? Who holds the purse strings here? How can we convince the purse holder of the danger to the health of his family?

Women are at the very centre of rural life in the provision and use of household energy, yet tend to have little voice in how things might change. We might also ask her what she would do with the hours saved if she did not have to collect fuelwood. She would surely smile and tell you that it would indeed be a gift: "I can look after my children better." "I will cough less, if there is not so much smoke in the house." "I might even have a little time left - to care for myself." We might ask her, if electricity was the option, what would she do? She would beam, and say: "My daughter could learn to read and write, so she would not have to live like me."

In the course of such conversations, women's dreams and hopes will have taken us from "inputs" that we habitually count, to "outcomes" of improved energy services for the rural poor. One such outcome is improvement in the health of women and children. As an economist I need the rigour of the numbers: using improved stoves saves US$50-100 per disability adjusted life year (DALY), a measure used for the burden of disease; and switching to cleaner household fuels saves US$100-200 per DALY. Just imagine the impact of such savings on developing nations' fiscal resources!

Another outcome, associated with the electrification of rural communities, is a strong connection to literacy - especially among women - and children's participation in school. I return to that simple notion: no country large or small can succeed in eradicating poverty unless her citizens - especially women and children - are healthy and educated.

Energy, gender and poverty reduction.

I would like to conclude my thoughts today by bringing my pictures of women - at the stove, under the tower of fuelwood balanced on her head - into the context of poverty reduction. I used to think of development as poverty reduction measured in concrete terms such as per capita income or literacy rate. This kind of thinking shaped my personal commitment to poverty alleviation. I never doubted the strength of that commitment. But, looking back, I think there was this little voice somewhere deep in my subconscious that kept calling me a liar, questioning how I could possibly commit myself to an outcome that would never be realized in my lifetime.

Thanks to many patient colleagues and those even more patient women bearing the enormous drudgery of the daily work I have described, I now think very differently. I think of development as the transformation of a society. I think of development process as an everlasting learning process of change, where people of a society choose to gain more control over their own destiny, enrich lives by widening their horizons, reduce afflictions and shackles of poverty, and improve the very vitality of life. I think of development strategy as first and foremost that of a society - a living and dynamic strategic "framework" that is based on a long-term vision of the society's own; that identifies structural barriers for its transformation; that selects those who can serve as catalysts for change; and that is founded on a participatory process among the people in creating, revising, adapting and realizing that vision. And I think of an outsiders' role, be they governments, non-governmental organizations or international agencies such as the World Bank, as a facilitator for the process, invited by the people to serve as a catalyst for change as "honest brokers".

These are the very essence of what we have come to call the "Comprehensive Development Framework". I hope we can practise it in everything we do, individually and collectively, working together for a happier future for all the women, as well as men, of the developing world.

Let us not only think about what we do. Let us also always think about how we do what we do, to be part of the work of social transformation. If we include in our thinking the central players in a social transformation, we might indeed be honoured as facilitators. (Source: Anja Koerhuis, ENERGIA Secretariat, the Netherlands [www.energia.org].)

    Can bioenergy help to alleviate poverty? If so, how?

    Please send us your views.


Poverty alleviation from improved stoves

Improved household stoves and poverty reduction - a livelihood analysis

Since the 1980s, numerous programmes have been launched to improve wood and charcoal household stove efficiencies in the developing world. In many cases, and in certain countries, these projects have failed to establish sustainable improved stove production.

In 1999, the Knowledge and Research programme of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) funded a team of experts to investigate the poverty-reduction aspects of improved household wood and charcoal stoves, with the ultimate aim of identifying the key success factors for sustainable improved stove production and supply.

Focusing on the poverty-reduction impacts on producers, consumers and others in the improved stove business in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, the project's conclusions revealed some useful lessons and recommendations for governments, policy-makers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), stove producers and consumers alike.

Workshop puts spotlight on poverty alleviation from improved stoves

A workshop, held in the London office of DFID on 17 October 2001, focused on the poverty alleviation potential of improved stoves, principally in an urban or commercial context. The workshop was one stage in the dissemination of the results of a project carried out by Energy for Sustainable Development Ltd (ESD) through the DFID Knowledge and Research programme, which examined the poverty-alleviation impacts of improved stoves in urban areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.

The project results show that, particularly in Kenya and Ethiopia, there have been positive effects on the livelihoods of producers as well as positive impacts on consumers from the improved stoves programme. Major findings include:



    Most of the food products derived from forests cannot be eaten as they are - they need to be prepared and cooked. Therefore, wood energy such as fuelwood and charcoal becomes essential.

    Worldwide, two out of five people rely on fuelwood or charcoal as their main source of household energy. The highest demand for wood energy originates in Asia (44 percent), followed by Africa (21 percent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (12 percent). The highest fuelwood consumption per person (0.89 m³) is reported in Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, between 50 and 98 percent of both rural and urban energy requirements are satisfied by fuelwood.

    One half of today's estimated 2 [to 2.5] billion users face fuel shortages as supplies of woodfuel dwindle. Among these, perhaps 100 million already experience virtual fuelwood famine.

    Fuelwood shortages negatively affect both food quality and quantity through the reduced:

      · amount of cooked food;

      · number of meals cooked per day;

      · quality of the food consumed owing to the limited cooking time;

      · quality of drinking-water owing to the limited time for boiling water;

      · nutritional quality of food owing to the increased consumption of fast-foods or purchased snacks;

      · food processing possibilities (e.g. smoke, dry and preserve food);

      · time available for processing food owing to the time spent (mainly by women) gathering fuelwood; and

      · health owing to problems caused by smoke.

    (Source: W. Killmann and S. Walter. 2001. Forests and food security. Paper presented at the ATIBT forum, Rome, 5 October 2001.)



Biofuels win government support

The European Commission is preparing to propose a strategy to boost the European biofuels industry, including a European Union (EU) framework for tax incentives and obligations on member states to achieve the mandatory minimum market shares. The initiative is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel dependence.

Produced by commissioner Loyala de Palacio's transport and energy directorate, the two directive proposals are still undergoing internal consultation but are understood to be close to agreement and could be formally proposed in September. Under the tax proposal, the directorate wants to amend the 1992 fuel excise duty directive to give member states a free hand to introduce tax breaks of up to 50 percent on biofuels and additives such as biodiesel and agriculture-derived ethanol. Currently, all such moves by member states require EU clearance on a case-by-case basis.

According to the second draft proposal, member states would have to implement a two-phase timetable to hike the proportion of biofuels used in road transport. Initially they would have to ensure that biofuels represent at least 2 percent of petrol and diesel sold by 2005, rising to 5.75 percent by 2010.

While these early targets would mostly boost the use of biofuels in small numbers of dedicated vehicle fleets, longer-term take-up will require blending with conventional petrol and diesel, says the directorate. Most EU vehicles could accommodate mixtures, and the draft proposes setting minimum biofuel content at 1 percent in 2009, rising to 1.75 percent in 2010.

The biofuels package was highlighted as an important potential EU instrument by the recent European climate change programme. Since biofuels release no fossil carbon, their use is, in theory, climate-neutral. In fact, growing and processing results in fossil emissions, but the directorate nevertheless predicts that a shift to biodiesel would prevent up to 2.5 of the 3.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide released for every 1 000 litres of conventional diesel road fuel.

The strategy was also foreseen in last year's policy paper on the security of energy supply, which set a non-binding target for 20 percent biofuel penetration by 2020.

Biofuels production and use is strongest in France and Austria. The most common fuel, biodiesel, still costs more than twice its conventional counterpart, but several countries have already moved to introduce fiscal incentives, including the United Kingdom and Italy. (Source: ENDS Environment Daily reported in Asian Energy News, September 2001.)

ENDS Environment Daily

Published by Environmental Data Services (ENDS), Environment Daily is a European professional environmental news service, combining quality, speed and now the power to personalize e-mail delivery. More than 5 000 articles published since their launch in February 1997 are available to all subscribers and are fully searchable.

For more information, please contact:
Environmental Data Services,
40 Bowling Green Lane,
London EC1R 0NE,
United Kingdom.
Fax: +44 (0)20 74150106;
e-mail: info@environmentdaily.com;

Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD) Limited

Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD) Limited has more than 20 years of experience worldwide in biomass energy project development and delivery. Their biomass services include: resource assessments; feasibility studies; plant design; project management; and business planning.

ESD also provides commercial R&D services in energy system design, including gasification, combustion, briquetting and engine design, and is able to provide innovative biomass solutions to the renewable sector.

Sample biomass projects are:

For more information, please contact:

Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD) Limited,
Overmoor, Neston, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 9TZ,
United Kingdom.
Fax +44 1225 812103;
e-mail: esd@esd.co.uk;

European Biomass Association

The European Biomass Association (Association européenne pour la biomasse [AEBIOM]), founded in 1990, is a group of national biomass associations whose basic aim is to promote biomass production and application throughout Europe. Membership is open to representatives of the European Union and Central and Eastern Europe.

AEBIOM spreads the message that a wider use of biomass will bring tangible benefits in the field of energy, materials, agriculture, forestry, environment and employment. To achieve such a goal, AEBIOM:

For more information, please contact:

Mr Jean-Marc Jossart,
Secretariat AEBIOM, Place Croix du Sud 2 bte 11,
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
Fax: +32 10 473455;
e-mail: jossart@ecop.ucl.ac.be;

European Union (EU)

EU Renewable Energy Update: 01/12/2001

In November 1997, the European Commission adopted a White Paper on renewable energy ("Energy for the future: renewable energy sources", reference: COM (97) 599 of 26/11/1997) which aimed at doubling the contribution of renewable energy sources (RES) to gross EU energy production to 12 percent by 2010. Therein, biomass, including wood, used for energy generation was targeted to triple its contribution. Since then several key developments have taken place in the RES field at EU level, including:

1. A joint study, EU energy policy impacts on the forest-based industries, was published in summary version in August 2000. This study includes a modelling analysis of the influence of the 1997 White Paper on the wood supply to the European forest-based industries and in a global perspective.

The geographical scope of the study includes the 15 member states of the EU, together with Norway and Switzerland. The sponsors of the study were: the Enterprise Directorate General of the European Commission, the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), the Netherlands Agency for Energy and the Environment (Novem) and the French Ministry of Agriculture.

Given the magnitude of the increased energy contribution that the White Paper proposed from biomass, and the limitations of the available biomass resources, implementation of the White Paper policy is expected to have significant effects on the timber market as well as that for wood residues. It is very likely that the energy sector will become a major new player in these markets.

The main results of the study, which used the Global Forest Products Model (GFPM), indicate major impacts on both supply of roundwood to the EU forest-based industries and on the prices of forest products if the White Paper targets are to be fulfilled without other policy changes. For instance, by 2010, up to 47 percent of the projected industrial wood supply would be needed for energy production with a 27 percent increase in the price of sawnwood, 13 percent for wood-based panels and 17 percent for paper pulp. Even when the wood supply is mitigated by the increased use of forest residues and the recovery of post-consumer wood residues, the impact of the White Paper target still equates to 47 million m³ per annum, or 15 percent of roundwood diverted from the required industrial supply.

For more information, please contact:
The European Commission's forest-based industries' unit at:
CEI-Bois at: euro.wood.fed@skynet.be;
CEPI at:  www.cepi.org and www.paperonline.org


2. An EU Directive on "The promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market" was adopted in September 2001 (Directive 22001/77/EC of 27/11/2001).

3. An EU Directive on "Alternative fuels for road transportation and a set of measures to promote the use of biofuels" was adopted in November 2001 (reference: COM [2001] 547 of 07/11/2001).

Further details of points 2 to 4 can be obtained from the European Commission's Directorate General for Transport and Energy (DG-TREN) via http://europa.eu.int

[More information on the last three items will be given in the next issue of Forest Energy Forum. Please also see Renewable Energy Partnerships and the Campaign for Take-off Awards on page 23 of this section for more information on DG-TREN.]

FAO and the European Commission

Data collection and analysis for sustainable forest management in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries - linking national and international efforts (GCP/INT/679/EC)

AFRICA - Sustainable Forest Management Programme in African ACP countries (GCP/RAF/354/EC) - Wood Energy component:

Deuxième atelier régional sur l'information en bois-énergie en Afrique - Pays francophones

Atelier organisé à Lomé, Togo, du 4 au 8 juin 2001, dans le cadre du composant «Développement de la planification et de politiques dans le secteur bois-énergie (PPBE)» du Projet Gestion durable des forêts dans les pays africains ACP (GCP/RAF/354/EC).

Cette réunion constitue le deuxième atelier régional sur l'information en bois-énergie en Afrique destiné aux pays francophones après celui de Nairobi (23-27 octobre 2000) destiné aux pays anglophones. L'organisation de cet atelier est assurée par la FAO, le programme RPTES (Regional Program for the Traditional Energy Sector) de la Banque mondiale, l'Institut de l'énergie et de l'environnement de la francophonie (IEPF) et le Ministère de l'environnement et des ressources forestières du Togo, pays d'accueil.

L'atelier a rassemblé des experts nationaux dans le secteur du bois-énergie provenant de 16 pays africains francophones, à savoir: le Bénin, le Burundi, le Cameroun, la Côte d'Ivoire, la Guinée, la Guinée-Bissau, le Mali, le Maroc, la Mauritanie, Madagascar, le Niger, le Rwanda, le Sénégal, le Tchad, la Tunisie et le Togo. La majorité des experts nationaux ont aussi été auteurs d'études récentes à l'échelle nationale sur le bois-énergie. Ces études ont été réalisées pour le Projet FAO/EC dans le cadre du programme Coopération technique entre pays en développement (CTPD) afin de rendre compte et d'évaluer le secteur national de l'énergie ligneuse sur la base d'informations disponibles au niveau national.

Avant l'atelier, les participants ont préparé des rapports concis très intéressants sur l'information en bois-énergie dans leur pays, sur la demande et l'approvisionnement des combustibles ligneux, sur les politiques, la planification et les arrangements institutionnels concernant ce secteur. Au delà des institutions organisatrices citées ci-dessus, l'atelier a rassemblé également les partenaires régionaux et internationaux de développement ayant _uvré dans ce contexte, à savoir:

Le programme de l'atelier s'est articulé autour des présentations des pays participant à l'atelier, de la FAO (études de base et conclusions des différentes rencontres sur le sujet), des organismes régionaux africains et des organismes internationaux de développement.

Le Ministère de l'environnement et des ressources forestières du Togo n'a ménagé aucun effort pour la bonne réussite de l'atelier. Également, le personnel de chacun des bureaux de la FAO, de la Banque mondiale et du BRAO à Lomé a collaboré avec le ministère avec une synergie exemplaire.

En conclusion de cinq jours de débat très vif et constructif, les participants ont identifié les difficultés suivantes dans le développement du secteur bois-énergie:

Pour plus de détails, veuillez contacter:
M. Pape Koné,
Forestier primcipal,
Bureau régional pour l'Afrique (RAF),
BP 1628, Accra,
Télécopie: +233 21 244079;
mél.: Pape.Kone@fao.org;


M. Miguel Trossero à l'adresse indiquée sur la première page.

[Pour plus d'informations sur ce programme, voir Forest Energy Forum issues 6 et 7.]

AMÉRICA LATINA - Información y análisis para el manejo forestal sostenible: Integrando esfuerzos nacionales e internacionales en América Latina - Proyecto GCP/RLA/133/EC

Taller sobre Madera para Energía

Tal como lo ha demostrado el estudio regional sobre El rol de la energía de la madera en América Latina y el Caribe (FAO, 2001), la tendencia hasta el momento ha sido que el uso de los combustibles de madera en la región ha jugado un papel significativo para la satisfacción de la demanda energética, tanto del sector doméstico (para cocción, calentamiento de agua, calefacción), como del sector de las pequeñas y medianas industrias rurales. Esta tendencia probablemente se confirmará en el futuro, dado el crecimiento poblacional (sobre todo en los sectores de bajos ingresos), y dada la creciente escasez y constante subida del precio de los combustibles sustitutivos.

Además, a medida que se vayan consolidando la implementación de las medidas adoptadas por el Protocolo de Kyoto, especialmente en lo referente a los mecanismos de flexibilización, será necesario tener en cuenta que en la región la dendroenergía tomará un impulso adicional como fuente energética alternativa respetuosa del medio ambiente y capaz de desplazar el consumo de combustibles fósiles, permitiendo así la reducción de la emisión de gases de efecto invernadero.

Lamentablemente, el estado actual de los procesos de recolección, presentación y divulgación de las informaciones y los datos estadísticos sobre consumo, producción y mercadeo de los combustibles forestales, tanto a escala nacional como internacional -a pesar de diferentes esfuerzos realizados en el pasado para mejorarlos-, muestran que la información disponible tiene escasa calidad, lo que impide a los países realizar un diagnóstico acabado y encarar consecuentemente las necesarias actividades de planificación para la adopción de políticas sectoriales tales que conduzcan y contribuyan al manejo forestal sostenible, y de las cuales el uso de combustibles forestales son una componente importante, como se observa en el ya mencionado estudio regional realizado por el proyecto.

Por lo tanto, y dada la importancia social, económica y ambiental de los combustibles de madera y su potencial para contribuir al desarrollo, resulta necesario impulsar un nuevo proceso para la sistematización de la información, tanto a escala nacional como internacional, sobre combustibles de madera que permita definir mecanismos adecuados para la adopción de programas y estrategias dendroenergéticas nacionales.

A tal efecto, y como resultado de las actividades planeadas en el marco de este proyecto, se llevó a cabo en la ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, del 26 al 28 de noviembre de 2001, el taller sobre Madera para Energía, que contó con la participación de representantes de los 18 países de la región.

La reunión confirmó, entre otras cosas, la importancia de contar con un adecuado sistema de información dendroenergética, la necesidad de disponer de una red dendroenergética regional para facilitar el intercambio horizontal de experiencias entre técnicos del sector, y la conveniencia de desarrollar un plan de actividades de seguimiento que permita reforzar las débiles capacidades nacionales existentes en la región.

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Jorge Morales,
Coordinador del Proyecto,
Oficina Regional de la FAO para América Latina y el Caribe,
Casilla 10095,
Fax: +56 2 3372101/2/3;
correo electrónico: Jorge.Morales@fao.org

o a:

Olman Serrano,
Subdirección de Utilización de Productos Madereros y No Madereros,
Departamento de Montes,
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00100,
Roma, Italia.
Fax: +39 0657055618;
correo electrónico: olman.serrano@fao.org

Groupe africain d'appui

Commission ad hoc au lancement du programme RPTES (Regional Program for the Traditional Energy Sectors), composée de six membres constitués d'un représentant du Comité permanent inter-États de lutte contre la sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS) et des directeurs nationaux chargés de l'énergie dans les cinq pays pilotes du programme RPTES (le Burkina Faso, la Gambie, le Mali, le Niger et le Sénégal), le Groupe africain d'appui (GAA) s'est présenté dès 1993 comme une structure d'appui à la coordination du programme dans ce premier groupe de pays et de renforcement de la coopération sous-régionale. Très vite le GAA va se révéler comme une entité certes légère, mais capitale.

L'intérêt suscité pour le projet RPTES par les pouvoirs publics dans les pays pilotes a conduit dès la fin de la première phase en 1995 à un élargissement du projet dans un premier temps à six autres pays: la Guinée, la Guinée-Bissau, la Mauritanie, le Bénin, l'Éthiopie et le Mozambique; par la suite à trois nouveaux autres adhérents (le Togo, l'Afrique du Sud et le Zimbabwe) et, récemment, à la Namibie.

Dans l'élan de cette nouvelle expansion, le rôle du GAA s'est davantage confirmé, notamment dans le renforcement de la coopération transnationale. C'est ainsi que lors de la réunion du GAA d'octobre 1997 à Dakar, le Groupe africain d'appui s'est vu adjoindre un Secrétariat technique, pour servir d'organe exécutif du GAA.

La mission du Secrétariat technique

Renforcer la collaboration régionale dans le domaine des énergies traditionnelles et de substitution tout en supervisant les activités de l'IPASET en vue de l'élaboration d'un document cadre de politique régionale pour le secteur des énergies traditionnelles. Plus spécifiquement, il s'agit de:

Pour plus de détails, veuillez contacter:
M. Mamadou Dianka, Secrétaire technique du GAA,
S/c Direction de l'énergie, BP 4037, 104 rue Carnot, 5ème étage, Dakar, Sénégal.
Télécopie: +221 821 1568;
mél.: mdianka@hotmail.com ou msdiene@hotmail.com;

Guía para estudios de demanda, oferta y abastecimiento de combustibles de madera

A partir de la crisis petrolera de 1974, se inició en todo el mundo un proceso de investigación y análisis sobre el uso de la biomasa para fines energéticos. A medida que se acumulaban estudios y diagnósticos sobre este tema, fue haciéndose cada vez más evidente su gran importancia a nivel nacional, regional y global.

Paradójicamente, la biomasa es una de las fuentes energéticas que resta aún poco entendida por parte de los planificadores de las áreas técnicas forestales y energéticas. Las informaciones y datos del sector son pocos y están mal representados en las estadísticas nacionales, gran parte de los consumos de biocombustibles se da al margen de la economía formal, y se carece de marcos legales y normativos adecuados, así como de políticas de inversión y desarrollo. En breve, los biocombustibles son la «cenicienta» del panorama energético, forestal, rural e industrial en estos países.

Sin informaciones claras sobre los patrones de producción, distribución y consumo de biocombustibles es sumamente difícil adoptar decisiones para establecer políticas y programas efectivos, preparar una legislación adecuada, organizar las instituciones involucradas, promover el comercio de los biocombustibles y analizar las inversiones hechas o por hacer.

Por estos motivos, se decidió realizar la Guía para estudios de demanda, oferta y abastecimiento de combustibles de madera. Un documento que, escrito por Teresita Arias Ch. y Enrique Riegelhaupt, tiene como primer objetivo ofrecer un marco de referencia simple y flexible para el planteo y solución de los problemas vinculados a la revisión, verificación, obtención, compilación, análisis, interpretación y presentación de informaciones sobre demanda, oferta y abasto de combustibles de madera. Esta guía presenta criterios básicos y recomendaciones generales para obtener, verificar y procesar las informaciones necesarias, diferenciando dos niveles de análisis: estudios rápidos y estudios detallados.

Su segundo objetivo es el de proponer una base metodológica uniforme para que los resultados obtenidos sean comparables y consistentes, a distintas escalas y para diferentes sectores de usuarios, productores y abastecedores de dendrocombustibles.

El objetivo final es producir diagnósticos de la situación dendroenergética de un sector en un área geográfica dada y/o un país, que satisfagan las necesidades de información de todos los grupos de interés, identificando además acciones eficaces y pertinentes para: a) optimizar el desempeño de los sistemas dendroenergéticos; b) permitir el desarrollo de esquemas de planeación del sector; y c) obtener una herramienta de decisión en la elaboración de políticas, estrategias y/o programas dendroenergéticos.

El manuscrito de la guía está listo y será puesta a disposición de los interesados lo más pronto posible.

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Miguel Trossero, en la dirección indicada en la primera página.

Health and woodfuel

Woodfuel and health is a contentious issue that has already been addressed in Forest Energy Forum [see Points of View in FEF5]. We reproduce below a news item that appeared in a recent HEDON e-mail listing. It is important to be aware that it is difficult to make generalizations from site-specific studies.

Daniel M. Kammen, Professor in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley and Dr Majid Ezzati of Resources for the Future (Washington, DC) have completed a four-year study of the impact of exposure to smoke from cooking fires on more than 400 people living in rural central Kenya. By monitoring both the health and exposure to indoor smoke over a three-year period in a set of rural communities to the northwest of Mount Kenya, the researchers have characterized the "exposure-response" relationship between indoor air pollution from biomass smoke and the rates of acute upper and lower respiratory infections.

This first characterization of the health effects of indoor smoke over a wide range of exposure levels shows that:

The authors presented their findings in a paper published on 25 August 2001, with an accompanying commentary, in The Lancet: Acute respiratory infection and indoor air pollution from biomass combustion in Kenya: an exposure-response study (The Lancet, 358: 619-624).

Renewable energy fact sheets

The United Nations Environment Programme's Energy Programme addresses the environmental consequences of energy production and use, such as global climate change and local air pollution. It assists decision-makers in government and the private sector to make better, more informed energy choices which fully integrate environmental and social costs. It is also concerned with renewable energy issues and has published a series of Renewable Energy Technology fact sheets on various types of renewable energy, including bioenergy, fuel cells, etc.

For more information, please contact:

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, 39-43 quai André Citroën, 75739 Paris Cedex 15, France.
Fax: +33 1 44371474;
e-mail: unep.tie@unep.fr;

Renewable Energy Partnerships and the Campaign for Take-off Awards

The European Commission adopted the Green Paper "Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply" in November 2000 and in December 1997 the White Paper "Energy for the future: renewable sources of energy". The Commission tends to foster market penetration of renewable energy sources by setting a Community indicative objective of 12 percent for the contribution of renewable energy sources to the European Union's gross inland energy consumption by 2010. This target represents a doubling of the share from renewables, compared with the position in 1997.

The Campaign for Take-off was initiated by the Commission in 1999. It encourages public and private institutions and organizations to promote renewable energy by means of Renewable Energy Partnerships declarations. It sets out quantifiable targets for the key sectors within the industry, supports the communities which are planning for a 100 percent energy provision from renewable energy sources, and includes a competition to reward model RE Partnerships, the "Campaign for Take-off Awards".

Targets that have been set for the key sectors include:

The winners of the 2001 round will be announced during the Council of EU Energy Ministers, to be held in Brussels, Belgium, in December 2001.

To become an RE Partner, an organization has to complete an RE Partnership declaration and provide information on the contents of the proposed "programme".

For more information regarding the RE Partnership, please contact:

Mariàngels Pérez Latorre,
Promotion of Renewable Energies and Demand Management,
European Commission,
Directorate General for Energy and Transport,
DG TREN-D1-DM24 4/146, 200 rue de la Loi, B-1049 Brussels,
Fax: +32 2 2955852;
e-mail: tren-cto@cec.eu.int;

For more information on the competition, please contact:
Loïc A. Blanchard, Observ'ER,
The Campaign for Take-off Awards,
146 rue de l'Université, F-75007
Paris, France.
E-mail: Observ.er@wanadoo.fr

Woodfuel sustainability maps

Adequately assessing the environmental impacts of woodfuel use, particularly within developing countries, requires a better knowledge of the spatial patterns of woodfuel supply and demand. Usually, broad generalizations about the impacts of woodfuel use are made based on aggregate information averaged over the whole nation or state. However, these generalizations lead to misleading conclusions, as the patterns of woodfuel demand and supply are extremely locally specific.

The "woodfuel sustainability maps" (WSM) is a methodological tool designed to cope with the spatial heterogeneity of woodfuel demand and supply patterns. WSM is based on two main spatial layers resulting from the development of Demand scenarios and Supply scenarios. The Demand layer is aimed at visualizing the spatial demand of the woodfuels situation and its overall dynamics at the lowest administrative level within a country or a large region. The Demand layer helps to identify those regions showing increasing fuelwood needs and potentially facing shortages. The Supply layer is aimed at a spatial representation of natural and human-made woodfuels sources, their change rates and their sustainable productive capacities. The combined spatial analysis of these two layers helps to foresee current and future priority regions according to fuelwood production and consumption trends. In other words, WSM should serve as an assessing and strategic planning tool to identify priority places for action.

Preliminary results for Mexico

To test the method, a preliminary analysis was carried out for Mexico, analysing the patterns of woodfuel demand for the 1980-1990 period within each of its 2 400 municipios (the country's minimum political unit). The analysis identified 160 municipios with the highest priority situation in terms of total wood demand, wood demand growth rates, density of fuelwood users, resilience of fuelwood consumption and poverty levels. Figure 1 shows the percentage of households that cook with fuelwood by municipio, and Figure 2 the geographical distribution of the different municipios according to their "priority" in terms of woodfuel demand in Mexico. The Supply analysis of the Mexico case study is being improved at the moment to include detailed information on woodfuel supply by municipio for the year 2000. It will thus allow constructing woodfuel balances by municipio, ranking them according to the status of current and expected woodfuel deficits.





Further steps

The Demand layer of the WSM was originally developed by the Bioenergy Laboratory, Instituto de Ecología, National University of Mexico (UNAM) and GIRA A.C. of Mexico in collaboration with FAO's Wood Energy Programme. The Supply layer is currently being further developed in a joint effort between FAO's Wood Energy Programme and the Instituto de Ecología, UNAM. This applied research is being carried out in the framework of the Wood Energy Planning and Policy Development (WEPP) component of project "Sustainable Forest Management in African ACP Countries" (GCP/RAF/354/EC).

The main objectives of the research effort are to develop a user-friendly tool adapted to a wider range of socio-economic and environmental circumstances, to apply it to selected African countries, and to disseminate it widely in the region. The overarching scope of this activity is to strengthen the capacities of national administrations to develop strategic plans for the wood energy sector and to formulate sustainable wood energy policies. (Contributed by: Omar Masera and Rudi Drigo, Wood Energy Programme, FAO.)

For more information on the WSM project and the methodology, please contact:
Dr Omar Masera, UNAM.
E-mail: omaera@oikos.unam.mx;   and
Rudi Drigo, WEPP.
E-mail: rudi.drigo@fao.org

Wood vinegar

The traditional method of making charcoal entails burning wood in an airless kiln. As the smoke in the kiln cools, it turns first to vapour and then to liquid - pyroligneous acid, or "wood vinegar". Unrefined wood vinegar contains a light oil and tar, which separate naturally in approximately one month. Pure wood vinegar is mostly water (80 to 90 percent) but it also contains more than 200 other components, including acetic acid, methyl alcohol, acetone and small amounts of other chemicals.

Wood vinegar has many uses, but the most common are for gardening:

AND HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT ... Asian Energy News

Asian Energy News is a monthly press review on Asian energy, economic and environmental issues published by the Center for Energy-Environment Research and Development (CEERD) with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France and Ademe, Paris, France. Asian Energy News is also available electronically through the CEERD Web site.

For more information, please contact:
Prof. Thierry Lefevre, CEERD,
c/o Asian Institute of Technology,
PO Box 4, Klong Luang Pathumthani,
Thailand 12120.
Fax: +662 5245441;
e-mail: aen@ceerd.net;

    Good judgement comes from experience,
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