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March 2005

Interdepartmental Bioenergy Programme

Energy has historically been, and continues to be, an engine for development of Mankind. It can also be a source of environmental problems.

Energy services are vital to keep economic sectors and residential activities running. For the less developed layers of society, access to clean and affordable energy is essential for poverty alleviation through the supply of heat, light and power as well as a host of other benefits such as the generation of income and the improvement of urban and rural health.

Bioenergy in general and wood energy in particular are the dominant sources of energy for about half of the world’s population who are the poor of the poorest, and who use this energy mainly for cooking. They have very limited access to other forms of energy such as electricity or liquid fuels.

Recently, awareness of the need to mitigate climate change has renewed the attention on bioenergy in both developing and industrialized countries as an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and locally available source of energy. Thus, bioenergy has emerged as a key factor in both developmental and environmental terms.

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