Energy and environmental technology Environment

Posted May 1996

The Regional Wood Energy Development Programme in Asia

See also: "Policy Statement on Gender and Wood Energy" | "Sub-regional Training Course on Women in Wood Energy Development"

The Regional Wood Energy Development Programme in Asia (RWEDP) is a project executed by FAO and funded by the Government of the Netherlands with a planned duration of five years and a budget of U.S.$8.84 million. Fifteen countries participate: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Asian countries face an increasing need for energy services to support their economic and social development. Currently, 30 to 80 percent of their overall energy needs are met by woodfuels. Biomass for cooking and heating dominate household energy use in the majority of the participant countries. Woodfuels are also used in many types of rural industry (sugar palm or cassava processing, brick and lime burning, and so on), for commercial applications (street food vending, restaurants, hospitals, military camps and the like) and at social or ceremonial events such as cremations or festivals.

Previous versions of RWEDP have contributed to a better understanding of the complex dynamic of woodfuel flows and their interplay with supplies of alternative fuels to meet the energy needs of millions of urban and rural households, rural industries, village applications and commercial sectors. In response to predictions of a "fuelwood crisis", several countries have initiated actions aimed at improved and more competitive wood energy systems. Unfortunately, many of the poorest people of the region live in mountainous, arid and semi-arid areas and refugee camps, so have insufficient access to fuelwood, charcoal and other energy sources to meet daily energy needs.

The current project aims to promote improved wood energy systems that are more sustainable and could become competitive with alternative energy sources. Actions are focused on strengthening policy analysis, energy strategy formulation and wood energy assessment in these technical areas: woodfuel production, woodfuel processing and marketing and woodfuel use.

Executives of the project include, among others, more than 2,000 government staff, NGOs, private voluntary organizations and regional organizations such as UNDP, Asian Development Bank and ESCAP.

For further details, contact:
M.A. Trossero
Senior Forestry Officer (Wood Energy)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy

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