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1. Nairobi Programme of Action for woodfuels

1.1 Background
1.2 Objectives of the Nairobi Programme of Action

1.1 Background

The progressively widening gap between the consumption and the supply of energy, as well as the severe economic changes created by large oil price increases, caused serious concern to most countries of the world in the 1970's. The developing countries were particularly hard hit by the high oil prices, and faced great difficulties in obtaining enough energy for their needs. This concern, and the recognition of the finite nature of conventional energy sources, induced many countries to place more emphasis on the utilization of new and renewable sources of energy (NRSE). In view of these conditions and of the prospects that were thought to be made possible by technological advancements, the United Nations convened the Conference on NRSE in Nairobi, from 10 to 21 August 1981. The programme of action adopted by the Conference came to be known as the "Nairobi Programme of Action (NPA) for the development and utilization of NRSE.

Almost ten years have passed since the NPA was adopted. The Committee on the Development and Utilization of NRSE, the most important UN organ established as a result of the Nairobi Conference, decided at its fifth session in March-April 1990 to convene an Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting, scheduled for August 1991, to assess and review the process of implementation of the NPA, and to make concrete recommendations on future actions in the field of NRSE.

1.2 Objectives of the Nairobi Programme of Action

1.2.1 General objectives

A discussion of the implementation of the NPA has to be based on what was actually decided at the time of the Nairobi Conference as summarized in the NPA, and various technical papers presented at the conference. A general outline of the NPA is given below, using the words of the NPA itself.

The fundamental objective of the NPA is to promote concerted action in the context of the energy transition, the development and utilization of NRSE with a view to help meet future overall requirements, particularly those of developing countries.

The specific objectives are as follows:

(a) To strengthen international cooperation for the promotion and intensification of research and development of technologies related to NRSE: to facilitate the transfer and adaptation of technology from developed to developing countries, and the exchange of technology among developing countries;

(b) to stimulate the mobilization of additional and adequate financial resources from developed countries, international financial institutions and other international organizations, the private sector, etc.;

(c) to provide, through international cooperative efforts, for the exchange of information and manpower training, particularly in the developing countries;

(d) to provide and give support to:

- the attainment of national objectives and priorities established by developing countries in the field of NRSE, related to the strengthening of their national capabilities and institutional infrastructures, for the effective incorporation of NRSE into national policy and planning processes;

- the drawing up and implementation of NRSE programmes and projects in the context of overall energy plans by all countries, particularly by developing countries;

(e) to provide, as requested and as appropriate, assistance and support for cooperative efforts among developing countries;

(f) to specify measures to increase international awareness of the advantages, potential and economic viability of NRSE.

In order to achieve the above listed objectives, the conference identified five broad policy areas for concerted action with the support of the international community according to national plans and priorities. The policy areas are as follows:

(a) energy assessment and planning;
(b) research, development and demonstration;
(c) transfer, adaptation and application of mature technologies;
(d) information flows;
(e) education and training.

1.2.2 Specific actions on fuelwood and charcoal

With reference to fuelwood and charcoal, the following specific actions were identified:

(a) Assessment and planning:

Assess and evaluate forest resources in order to estimate their present and future sustainable yield of fuelwood to identify deficit areas and areas in which reafforestation is both urgent and practicable.

(b) Research, development and demonstration:

Intensify and/or establish basic and applied research on more productive species;

Support and promote work aimed at improving the efficiency of stoves and cooking utensils, develop low-cost stoves and promote their widespread use, taking into account social and cultural acceptability;

Improve the preprocessing of fuels, including those presently wasted such as twigs, branches and dry leaves, for use in direct combustion and other processes and improve the conversion efficiency of charcoal making;

Develop promising fuelwood and charcoal substitutes or supplements utilizing other NRSE.

(c) Transfer, adaptation and application of mature technologies:

Improve and/or establish forest management practices;

Increase and/or establish reforestation and afforestation programmes with selected and tested species;

Promote and support programmes, projects and activities to establish large-scale plantations, including afforestation in deficit areas and wood lots, establish distribution, control and pricing policies and improve conversion and utilization technologies (charcoal production, gasification, kilns, ovens, etc.).

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