Global Bioenergy Partnership Secretariat up, running
Will promote move to bioenergy
25 September 2006, Rome - The Secretariat of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), launched at the 14th Session of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development in May 2006 in New York to promote the use of bioenergy, opened for business here this week.
Located at FAO headquarters and supported by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, the Secretariat’s mandate is to facilitate a global political forum to promote bioenergy and to encourage the production, marketing and use of “green” fuels, with particular focus on developing countries.
The Secretariat will be the principal coordinator of Partnership communications and activities and will assist international exchanges of know-how and technology, promote supportive policy frameworks and identify ways of fostering investments and removing barriers to the development and implementation of joint projects.
In the short term, the Secretariat will update the inventory of existing networks, initiatives and institutions dealing with bioenergy and identify any gaps in knowledge. It will also assist the Partners in identifying and implementing bilateral and multilateral projects for sustainable bioenergy development and support the formulation of guidelines for measuring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions due to the use of biofuels.
Renewable energy sources
The Partnership’s overall aim is to respond to the growing need to develop renewable energy sources in the light of high oil prices, global warming and concerns about diminishing fossil fuel reserves.
FAO has always actively promoted biofuels as a means of reducing poverty while producing clean, low-cost energy. Given the right technologies, an abundant energy supply could be tapped by converting biomass such as crop residues, grass, straw and brushwood into fuel, while crops like sugar cane, corn and soybeans are already being used to produce ethanol or bio-diesel.
“We are happy that FAO was chosen to host the GBEP Secretariat,” said Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General for Sustainable Development. “Its presence will stimulate us to continue helping governments and institutions formulate appropriate bioenergy policies and strategies.”
“We hope the creation of a Global Bioenergy Partnership will help reduce current dependency on oil. Over the next decades, we will most probably see bioenergy providing an increasing amount of the world’s energy needs, but we need to assure that this is done in a sustainable manner. Positive synergies between GBEP and FAO’s International Bioenergy Platform (IBEP) will contribute to an expanded and sustainable role of biofuels,” said Müller.
Italy and Mexico were respectively appointed as Chair and Vice-Chair of GBEP’s Steering Committee for the next two years.
*Current Partners of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) are: all G8 Countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, U.S.A.), China, Mexico, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the UN Foundation, the European Biomass Industry Association (EUBIA) and FAO.
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