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Are policies in Africa conducive to sustainability interventions in the charcoal sector?

A preliminary assessment of 31 countries











Mwampamba, T.H., Herzog, S., Pelletier, J., Kachaka, E.Y., Agyei, F., Aniston, A., Chinder, G., Mabele, M.B., Muvatsi, L.K. & Ramilanajorohavirelo, M. 2023. Are policies in Africa conducive to sustainability interventions in the charcoal sector? A preliminary assessment of 31 countries. Forestry Working Paper No. 36. Rome, FAO.



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    Charcoal is widely used for cooking and heating in developing countries. The consumption of charcoal has been at high level and the demand may keep growing over the next decades, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Some preliminary studies indicate that among commonly used cooking fuels, unsustainably produced charcoal can be the most greenhouse gas intensive fuels and simple measures could deliver high GHG mitigation benefits. Through the Paris Agreement on climate change adopted in 2015, count ries set themselves ambitious targets to curb climate change, and forest-related measures have an important role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Over 70% of the countries who have submitted their (intended) nationally determined contributions (NDCs) mention forestry and land use mitigation measures. Despite the importance of woodfuel in many countries, few have explicitly included measures to reduce emissions from woodfuel production and consumption. Many of the NDCs that in clude forestry do not yet provide detailed information on how mitigation is to be achieved. The overall objective of the publication is to provide data and information to allow for informed decision-making on the contribution sustainable charcoal production and consumption can make to climate change mitigation. More specifically, the publication aims to answer the following questions: - What are the climate change impacts of the current practices on charcoal production and consumption worldwide and across regions? - What is the potential of sustainable charcoal production in GHG emission reductions and how such potential can be achieved? - What are the key barriers to sustainable charcoal production and what actions are required to develop a climate-smart charcoal sector?
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    Reliable, secure and safe energy sources are fundamental to the well-being and social and economic development of all societies. With growing pressure on energy resources and a heavy dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels, the world faces two key energy-related problems: the lack of a secure and affordable supply, and the threat of overconsumption leading to irreversible environmental damage. As part of the solution to these problems, many countries are looking increasingly to their biomass-en ergy resources. This publication focuses on one major source of biomass energy – woodfuels. In many developing countries, woodfuels are still commonly used for household cooking and heating and are also important for local processing industries. In many developed countries, wood-processing industries often use their wood by-products for energy production. In some countries, notably the Nordic countries, forest residues are increasingly used for industrial-scale electricity generation and heating . Several developing countries have enormous potential to produce energy from forests and trees outside forests, for both domestic use and export. However this potential is not often properly reflected in national energy-development strategies. This publication sets out principles, criteria and indicators to guide the sustainable use of woodfuel resources and the sustainable production of charcoal. It is designed to help policy- and decision-makers in forestry, energy and environment agencies, n on-governmental and other civil-society organizations and the private sector ensure that the woodfuel sector reaches its full potential as an agent of sustainable development.
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    This publication was written by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) as part of the project “AgrInvest-Food Systems: Enabling inclusive and efficient private sector investment in agrifood systems” (AgrInvest-FS), implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the ECDPM. The AgrInvest-FS project aims at attracting private investment into agrifood systems aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by leveraging public funds. This paper recommends a package of policy improvements and interventions aiming to support SDG-oriented investments in the dairy sector in Oromia in Ethiopia by addressing bottlenecks in the sector and enabling a conducive environment. The paper highlights key challenges and proposes packages of policy interventions that aim to address these key challenges in a coherent and interrelated manner. Building on existing partnerships and processes will increase the feasibility of these recommendations being implemented. Concretely, the recommendations propose i) a gradual and integrated approach to developing, adopting and enforcing milk quality standards for human health; ii) effective ways to improve the access to affordable feed and forage through profitability studies, policy reforms and applied research and innovation and iii) adopting a context-specific approach in addressing finance and credit bottlenecks in the dairy value chain. In the case of Ethiopia, this means acknowledging how the persistent foreign exchange shortage is a major factor, as well as unequal power and gender dynamics. Lessons from past experiences illustrate the potential of multi-stakeholder dialogues to commit to a shared vision, coordinate interventions and improve joint learning and innovation. Spaces for multi-stakeholder dialogue should maximize local embeddedness and have clear benefits for the private sector actors to engage in. Transparent government-owned information management systems, especially at the local level, enable government and development partners, banks and investors to project and track the impact of their investments.

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