The Republic of Malta today joined the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an innovative new public-private partnership to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.
Exposure to smoke from traditional stoves and open fires – the primary means of cooking and heating for 3 billion people in developing countries – causes almost 2 million deaths annually, with women and young children affected most. That is a life lost every 16 seconds.
Malta’s $165,000 contribution represents part of its commitment to fund fast-start climate change programs under the Copenhagen Accord. The announcement was made at a signing ceremony in Cancun, Mexico, where United Nations climate negotiations are currently under way, by George Pullicino, Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs, and Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation, which leads the work of the Alliance.
“Malta is proud to be making this financial contribution to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves as part of its 2010 fast-start finance pledge made in the context of the Copenhagen Accord,” said Minister Pullicino. “We fully support the work being undertaken by the Alliance to promote the adoption of clean and efficient cooking solutions in the developing world, particularly in neighbouring Africa. We appreciate that this will help reduce the exposure of women and children to unhealthy cooking smoke, and lead to a reduction in the use of fuel, including firewood, as well as in the emission of gases that contribute to climate change.”
“Malta is making a welcome and needed contribution to assist the mission of the Alliance, pursuant to its national pledge to support climate finance mechanisms,” said United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth. “These resources will help the Alliance develop standards for clean stoves, support climate and health research, and mount an advocacy campaign to raise awareness about the severe health and environmental impacts from dirty cookstoves and the toxic smoke they create. Sustainable technologies, such as clean and efficient cookstoves, are essential in order to expand access to energy while drastically reducing the pollution it produces.”
Malta joins Germany, the United States, Denmark, Peru and Norway as government supporters of the Alliance, in addition to Shell, the Shell Foundation, Morgan Stanley and half a dozen U.N. agencies, including the World Health Organization, World Food Programme and UN Environment Programme.
Cookstove smoke contributes to a range of chronic illnesses and acute health impacts such as early childhood pneumonia, emphysema, lung cancer, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight.
The smoke from inefficient stoves continues to contribute to global climate change by producing harmful greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane, and aerosols such as black carbon. Reliance on biomass for cooking and heating also increases pressure on local natural resources and forces women and children to spend many hours each week collecting firewood – an especially dangerous task for women and girls in refugee camps and conflict zones.
The use of efficient cookstoves can dramatically reduce fuel consumption and exposure to harmful smoke. Recent scientific evidence confirms that the greater the emissions reductions, the greater the health benefits. More efficient stoves also reduce the time people (usually women and girls) have to spend collecting fuel, and since stoves last for several years, the accumulated savings in time and cost can be invested back into families, communities and economies.
The reductions in emissions achieved by clean cookstoves have the potential to create revenues from carbon credits. Stove companies can use this revenue to reduce stove prices or expand into new markets. More broadly, the entire clean cookstove supply-chain should be a source of economic opportunity and job creation at the local level.
To achieve its ‘100 by 20’ goal, the Alliance will establish industry standards; spur innovative financing mechanisms; champion the cause across the donor and development communities; develop indoor air quality guidelines; address global tax and tariff barriers; field test clean stoves and fuels; and develop research roadmaps across key sectors such as health, climate, technology and fuels.
A thriving global industry for clean cooking solutions will provide a range of long-term benefits for the entire world – from improving global health to combating climate change.
Alliance Founding Partners
United Nations Foundation, Shell Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of State, World Health Organization (WHO), German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, Morgan Stanley, UN-Energy, World Food Programme, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Industrial Development Organization, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), UN High Commissioner for Refugees, SNV: Netherlands Development Organisation, Shell, Government of Peru, Government of Norway.