Close to about 90% of the household energy needs in the sub-region are met by burning biomass such as wood, charcoal, crop residues and animal wastes. The over-exploitation of biomass stocks as a source of energy contributes to a complex network of events and constraints that create the vicious circle of environmental destruction. The traditional methods of burning biomass as a source of energy result in land impoverishment, land-cover degradation, the destruction of biodiversity and an increase of greenhouse gas emissions. The economic effects of this environmental damage are manifold and difficult to measure in monetary value though they are manifested by low rates of economic growth and pervasive poverty. The IGAD region is convinced that this should not be the case since it has all the favourable preconditions for developing new and renewable energy sources such as solar thermal, solar photo-voltaic, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, ocean and to an extent animal traction.
In this regard the region calls for an organized change process with carefully selected interventions, target groups, structure and technology. Decentralization, involvement of private sector, capacity building, involvement of community based organizations, aggressive marketing and publicity are the major instruments.
The sub-region is committed to contributing to global environmental protection by focussing on renewable sources of energy and effectively minimizing the burning of biomass. This will impact on three related International conventions in the field of environment, the Biodiversity Convention, UNCCD and Climate Change Convention and its protocols for reduction of green-house gas emissions.
We are also convinced that this would lead to poverty reduction, political stability and ecological harmony in the sub-region.
Improved charcoal stoves for sale in a supermarket in Kenya
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