6 December 2016

Nigeria: Stakeholders Brainstorm On Easy Access to Clean Cooking Energy for All

The Federal Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstovesorganisedthe Nigeria Clean Cooking Forum 2016.

The event, which held in Abuja, was an opportunity to review existing policies and programmes on cooking energy, take stock of lessons learned, proffer gaps to be filled and opportunities to be accessed in the clean cooking industry.

It has been determined that Nigerians suffer a "silent" energy crisis - poor access to clean cooking energy. "Over 20 million households and about 122 million Nigerians depend on primarily wood as a source of fuel for cooking. This is despite the abundance of modern cooking energy sources including natural gas."

According to the WHO report on use of fuelwood, traditional use of firewood is estimated to cause 95,000 deaths annually in Nigeria. After malaria and HIV/AIDS, this is Nigeria's third highest killer of mostly women and children. The traditional cooking method is expensive, burning up to 90% more wood than is necessary and costing poor families money that could be put to better use on education, health and nutrition. Even though the country is one of the world's largest exporters of LPG, most Nigerian households rely on firewood for cooking

The cooking energy poverty is felt most among persons who are affected by internal and external crisis such as refugees and internally displaced persons. In North East Nigeria, persons displaced by the Boko Haram crisis are facing severe challenges in meeting their basic needs including access to cooking energy and fuels. Fetching of firewood around camps and host communities lead to conflicts and increase the chances of gender based violence against women. Both boys and girls spend time that could be used for education in fetching wood for family cooking.

Christine K, Chairperson Steering Committee of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves said, "Typical camps for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) are characterized by lack of opportunities for employment and meaningful livelihood. This contributes to youth restiveness and tension. Adopting alternative fuels and energy technologies can create jobs for IDPS, especially women and youths. The use of clean and efficient cookstoves also reduces the risks of physical and sexual attacks faced by IDP women," she concluded.

The Minister for Environment, Amina Mohammed, stated that her ministry was pleased to host the Nigeria Clean Cooking Forum in partnership with the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The Forum was conceived as a result of the need to expand access to clean cooking energy in the country.She reminded the audience that climate change presents a growing challenge to both men and women. Its negative effects are likely to hit the poorest people in the rural parts of Nigeria which women constitute a major part of.This is even more urgentparticularly in rural areas where resources are scarce and the ability to cope is lower than in the urban areas.

The Minister also brought to the attention that IDPs and refugees suffer the most energy poverty in Nigeria. She stated that in order to facilitate the displaced communities' return home or to settle down where they wish to, providing access to energy will be a key element among the range of enabling measures.

The President of the Senate, represented by Senator Philip Aduda, Senate Minority Whip, in his keynote address pledged the willingness and readiness of the National Assembly to support and pass laws that will promote clean cooking in the country. In this connection, support to provision of a strong value chain for efficient and clean cookstoves and fuels were mentioned. All these will be in line with the "Made in Nigeria" campaign. He concluded by stating that "the Senate will work with the Federal Ministry of Environment to ensure the provision of budgetary allocations for the clean cookstoves sector in Nigeria in the 2017 budget."

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ms. Brenda Ataga, SA (downstream) in her address at the Forum, stated that "in furtherance of the government's efforts to promote clean cooking, the administration is working on a national gas policy to enhance quick adoption of LPG as a choice fuel for cooking in the country" In line with this, the Executive Vice Chairperson, Mrs. Nkechi Obi, Techno oil Ltd mentioned that the company is about to launch an ultra-modern cylinder production plant to make LPG more affordable and accessible. In addition, a coastal LPG terminal of 15000MT will be commissioned by next year. Mr. DayoAdeshina, president, NLPG Association alerted on need to tackle the challenges of affordability, availability, accessibility and acceptability in rolling out LPG on a mass scale.

The Managing Director of Shell, OsagieOsunbor, represented by IgoWeli, General Manager External Relations remarked that "Shell is doing a lot in the clean cookstoves sector by partnering with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in ensuring that cleaner and safer fuels are available in the country." He emphasized the need for a strong collaboration with the federal government and legislative arm to deliver clean cooking energy in Nigeria.

Furthermore, the British High Commissioner, H.E Paul Arkwright commended the Nigerian Alliance for clean cookstoves and the Federal Ministry of Environment for the good initiative and re-emphasized the need to find appropriate solutions that works for Nigerian in terms of affordability, financing and so on.

The Coordinator of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, EwahEleri, represented by Precious Onuvae noted that cooking, which should ordinarily be enjoyed by cooks, has turned out to be a killer in Nigerian homes and institutions. She called on relevant Federal Government MDAs to take leadership in developing policies to support the production and adoption of clean cookstoves in the country. One of such policies could be the establishment of single digit interest rate facility to strengthen local production of clean cookstoves in the country.

Director of NEMA Dr. KayodeFagbemi expressed the hope that IDP camps and IDP communities will have access to clean cooking facility. Ms. FolakeSalawu of ICEED presented the success story from Adamawa where women and youth are being trained in the production and use of clean cookstoves in an IDP settlement.

Other key highlights/outcomes/resolutions of the Forum include the need to: Launch a behavioural change/awareness campaign for clean and efficient cookstoves in the country; set up training centres for local production of efficient biomass cookstoves in each geopolitical zones; encourage clean cooking in government owned facilities like prisons, government boarding secondary schools, IDP camps and so on; establish gas refill stations in all senatorial districts; and exempt VAT for LPGs and reduce import duty on clean cookstoves parts to make it more affordable among others.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim UsmanJibril in his closing remark stated that "the huge participation shows the importance of the forum. This is the beginning of greater things to come. The Ministry will continue to support and partner with the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to actualize the resolutions of this great event."

The Forum brought together over 150 participants including key policymakers, private sector leaders, foundations, research institutions, development partners, women groups and civil society stakeholders to reposition Nigeria's strategy for clean cooking - achieving clean cooking energy for all Nigerian.

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