African CSOs share position on Clean Cooking in Africa Summit


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African civil society organisations (CSOs)


This statement, authored by African Civil Society Organizations, is intended for the attention of organizers and participants of the IEA Clean Cooking in Africa Summit, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 14th, 2024, in Paris, France. We present this statement with a profound sense of duty and responsibility towards the future of the African continent. As we stand on the brink of transformative change, it is crucial that our voices, representing a diverse mosaic of cultures, communities, and interests, are heard.

To initiate a meaningful dialogue ahead, during and after the summit, we urge you to:

  1. Ensure and guarantee the inclusion of community and CSO voices in the global clean cooking discourse. The IEA has indicated that the Summit will bring together over 800 stakeholders from governments, the private sector, development partners, international organizations, philanthropies, and civil society. From the participantslist published by the IEA, it is clear that there was hardly any participation of CSOs from Africa, yet the agenda of the forum was to chart a way forward on accelerating the progress of clean cooking in Africa. According to the UN SDG7 Tracking report-2021, four out of ten people without access to clean cooking live in Africa and most end-users rely heavily on biomass fuels for their cooking. African CSOs work directly with communities to address the challenges they face. Civil society groups play a key role in policy development on clean cooking, creating awareness on clean cooking technologies, demystifying cultural beliefs and practices that hinder clean cooking transitions, and building trust in the uptake of new technologies and approaches. The involvement of African partners should therefore be as inclusive and transparent as possible. And it must be done in a way that promotes equality and meaningful dialogue to ensure that the genuine needs and interests of Africans are reflected in any collective outcomes.
  2. Increase financial and technological flow for clean cooking solutions by and for Africa. There is an urgent need to provide affordable access to cleaner and modern cooking solutions swiftly. At COP28, the IEA declared that Africa needed an annual investment of USD 4 billion to achieve universal access to clean cooking on the continent by 2030. Therefore, we demand increased public and private investments in clean cooking. Additional public funds should be directed towards de-risking markets and providing subsidies to address energy poverty in Africa. These finances should also be channeled to the end users, who shoulder the burden of assessing and transitioning to cleaner and safer cooking technologies.
  3. Acknowledge the role of clean energy in fast-tracking clean cooking progress and Africa’s energy sovereignty.Africa possesses abundant untapped clean energy resources such as wind and solar that can be harnessed to accelerate the adoption of clean cooking solutions. Several multilateral development banks and private financial institutions persist in advocating for LPG as part of the transition to clean cooking. Research has shown that while LPG initially offered short-term benefits in Africa, its long-term efficacy in rural areas has fallen short of expectations. Our position is very clear, more investments need to be directed towards solar, wind and other clean forms of energy, including decentralized renewable energy systems. Bridging the energy gap is the best approach to achieving clean cooking targets by 2030.
  4. Acknowledge and appreciate that access to clean forms of cooking is an important part of Africa’s development, energy, and manufacturing plan. Solving the cooking challenge is not a charitable endeavour by donors, but a national and continental responsibility that calls for policy prioritization in each country and collaboration across the continent.
  5. Appreciate that addressing the cooking challenge must be driven by social and public responsibility, not markets. Public grants and concessional finance play a catalytic role in addition to and scaling up of private sector investments. Private capital can only play a role under regulated conditions.
  6. Desist from proffering false solutions that will prolong the crisis. Carbon credits must play no role in financing clean cooking. Carbon markets are a distraction to the mission of meeting basic needs guaranteed almost everywhere on the planet.
  7. Advance a holistic approach to clean cooking. Access and use of (clean and affordable) energy should go beyond cooking. Every African household deserves to have energy for use in farming and food storage. Every African household deserves to own a fridge as nearly everyone in the developed world does.

Below are reactions from civil society groups and representatives:

“A Clean and Transformed Africa is possible! We are calling on the Summit Organizers/Global North to Stop Promoting Fossil Fuels Projects in Africa. The Environmental Degradation/Pollution is alarming. The vulnerable communities, women, and girls can’t continue to cook with Dirty Energy that has bedeviled the Environment. Let the International Community and Institutions cancel public debts and make Climate Finance Funds available to Africa, with it, Africa will Invest more in Renewable Energy/Clean Cooking Technologies that will create Green Jobs and Opportunities.” Smith Nwokocha, Coordinator, Quest For Growth and Development Foundation.

Clean cooking energies must be promoted to help African women in particular who face precarious cooking energy needs. Thus the popularization of improved stoves is an appropriate solution but a long-term task that requires a change in the behavior of both urban and rural populations. To do this, real political will must be asserted, making improved stoves and particularly those made from mud, effective tools in the fight against deforestation, land degradation, health problems linked to indoor air pollution, the decline in production, cultural handicaps. States must be able, within the framework of public service, to implement regulatory, administrative, and financial conditions in place with a view to broad popularization and use of improved stoves. Alain Bertrand Aboudi Ngono, Geoenvironmentalist, General Coordinator GCEC-Cameroon

At the Clean Cooking Summit, we urge the organizers to recognize the urgency of transitioning to renewables. For us, especially as Young African Women, embracing clean energy alternatives is not just about environmental sustainability; it’s about ensuring the health and well-being in our communities. Let’s prioritize renewables to protect both our planet and our people.” Wafa Misrar, Campaign and Policy Officer, Climate Action Network (CAN) Africa.

“Looking at the summit’s participation list, representation is skewed in favour of oil and gas lobbyists and is biased towards the continuation of the colonial, patriarchal representation of the continent. Women, who are the most affected by the climate crisis, have the least space at the summit to speak about their realities. We call on the organizers to take a fresh approach, and can only hope solutions will be focussed on renewable energy, to provide electricity and clean cooking opportunities to millions of women and men across Africa.” Janet Milongo, Coordinator, Renewable Energy, CAN International

“Clean cooking is a social justice issue. It is about ensuring that no one is left behind in the transition to a sustainable and equitable future.” Inclusion in clean cooking is an important aspect of sustainable development, as it contributes to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those related to health, gender equality, energy access, and climate action. Engaging state and no state actors including communities in clean cooking discussions (Clean Cooking Summit) helps to ensure that the transition to clean energy alternatives is inclusive, equitable, and supported by the people who will be affected by the changes. With inclusion, we can improve health, protect the environment, empower women and youth, promote economic growth, and create sustainable communities for all.” Wellington Madumira, National Coordinator, Climate Action Network Zimbabwe (CANZIM)