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Global Leaders Discuss Progress of the World Bank’s Clean Cooking Fund on its First Anniversary
By Alejandra Gutierrez
November 16 2020

What does it take to accelerate progress towards universal access to clean cooking by 2030? This was the topic of a virtual event on Clean Cooking Fund Initiative: High-Level Dialogue on Accomplishments, Opportunities and Challenges on September 16 2020.

Over 100 attendees from 34 countries joined the event, including the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All, representatives from Rwanda, Uganda, Norway, Denmark, Burundi, Nepal, as well as World Bank staff to discuss progress made by the Clean Cooking Fund (CCF) initiative in its first year.

The Clean Cooking Fund was launched by ESMAP at the UN in 2019 with a funding target of US$500 million and initial funding from Governments of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The Fund aims to scale up public and private investments by co-financing with MDB’s lending operations, catalyzing technology and business innovation, and linking incentives with verified results. The Fund is expected to leverage US$2 billion in investments to support a sizeable number of businesses delivering clean cooking solutions with a view to transforming the market.

“About three billion people do not have access to clean cooking solutions,” said Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. “This has become a very serious problem. We have done well on electrification globally for developing countries, but we have done very little in advancing deployment of clean cooking solutions.”

 The first CCF co-financed project, Rwanda Energy Access and Quality Improvement Project, approved on September 17, includes a US$20 million clean cooking component comprising CCF and IDA (the International Development Association) funding of US$10 million each. This project—the largest clean cooking operation in Africa—will help more than 2 million people in Rwanda access clean cooking solutions.

Claver Gatete, Minister of Infrastructure of Rwanda, explained that the Clean Cooking Fund will help coordinate efforts from governments, development partners, stakeholders, the private sector.

“The World Bank’s report, The State of Access to Modern Energy Cooking Services, estimates that not progressing beyond the status quo is costing the world more than $2.4 trillion each year. Women bear a disproportionate share of this cost in the form of poor health and safety, as well as lost productivity,” said Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Infrastructure at the World Bank.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has re-emphasized the importance of acting faster and being more environmentally conscious to improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment once and for all. “It has been very heart-warming to see how COVID-19 has united the SDG7 sector more strongly than ever before,” said Carola van Rijnsoever, Ambassador for Sustainable Development of the Netherlands.

In addition to the first approved CCF co-financed project, progress has been made in the initial pipeline of projects in several countries such as Burundi, Myanmar, Nepal, and Uganda, amounting to more than US$100 million in CCF co-financing and at least the same amount from the World Bank. On the knowledge side, the recently launched report The State of Access to Modern Energy Cooking Services has provided a comprehensive understanding of households’ cooking-energy needs. Another recently published report Cooking with Electricity: A Cost Perspective presented in-depth analysis on the potential of electric cooking as a cost-effective approach for accelerating access to clean cooking.

Now more than ever partners must work together to accelerate access and generate demand for clean cooking solutions. As Dr. Yumkella emphasized, “there is need for collaboration and coordination of action and, above all, we need political action, we need clean cooking to be prioritized within the COVID-19 response programs."

Want to learn more? Please watch the  webinar here.