UNEP’s Global Initiative on Clean EnergyNigeria
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has joined a new international alliance that aims to cut the estimated 1.6 million to 1.8 million premature deaths linked with indoor emissions from inefficient cook stoves by boosting the efficiency of around three billion cook stoves across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves was launched in New York during the recent 65th session of the UN General Assembly, as part of the Global Clinton Initiative and spearheaded by the UN Foundation, according to a release by the global body.
The initiative can also make a contribution to reducing deforestation by curbing the large quantities of wood and other biomass used to make charcoal or by households switching to alternative fuels including cookers powered by solar energy.
Other fuels include liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and a new one called "gel" fuel consisting of ethanol and organic pulp. Community-based biofuel projects could be developed to make the gel fuel, thus saving households money, generating employment and offering alternative livelihoods.
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, Dr. Achim Steiner, said: "In addition to meeting the health targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially among women and children who are often the most exposed to indoor air pollution, the Alliance may have wider and indeed global benefits."
"Inefficient cooking stoves are estimated to be responsible for approximately 25 per cent of emissions of black carbon, particles often known as soot, of which 40 per cent is linked to wood burning", he added.
"According to research under the UNEP-supported Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC) project, black carbon could now be responsible for a significant level of current climate change", explained Mr. Steiner.
Indeed, recent studies by the Project ABC team have put the responsibility at between 10 to 40 per cent of current climate change.
In another development, the United Nations development and food agencies have pledged to jointly redouble efforts to help the world's poor and hungry.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP) will collaborate on initiatives bridging relief and recovery, including food-for-work, cash-for-work and other schemes that empower communities following catastrophes and conflict.
"To help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we need to reach beyond business as usual to support countries to build back better after conflicts and natural disasters and assist those nations that continue to struggle with protracted crises," according to a statement issued by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran.
Last week, scores of world leaders gathered at UN Headquarters in New York to reaffirm their commitment to the MDGs, the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.
UNDP and WFP said that they have already been cooperating to assist those in need in the wake of disasters in situations ranging from this January's devastating Haiti earthquake to the recent floods in Pakistan.
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