| Boiling Point No. 13 - August 1987 |
The Foundation for Woodstove Dissemination in Holland is asking for continued commitment to the long term `stove programme of CILSS to combat desertification in the Sahel. The' following is a summary of their assessment of the situation and the ways in which it can be tackled.
A. WHICH WAY OUT OF THE WOODFUEL CRISIS?
Is there a solution to the woodfuel crisis?
Would it be possible to organize the exploitation of potential wood resources in a lasting manner that would completely satisfy the woodfuel needs of a growing population.
The most optimistic mathematical projections show that such efforts may help considerably, but that their effects will not last. Demographic growth will soon lead to such an increase in total consumption that the dynamics of deforestation resume.
Besides, would a 'wood' solution be desirable?
Can economic development be based on an all-wood energy base? The evidence indicates that, for that goal, the available technologies require the use of other forms of energy than wood.
To solve the woodfuel crisis, aim at economic development!
Seeking a 'wood only' solution to the crisis amounts to trying to administer the crisis, instead of solving it. Aiming at economic development would lend credibility to alternative efforts to escape from the energy crisis. So, which ways out of the crisis?
Improved stoves first! Their massive dissemination and good use provide the breathing space that is indispensable to the creation of new structural conditions.
On the family level, the saving of wood through use of improved cookstoves can compensate for a regulated rise in the price of wood; moreover, this increase in the price of wood incites hesitant families to acquire improved cookstoves or to make use of other fuels which have become competitive and attractive (gas, kerosene ...). In this way it becomes possible to conserve woodfuel and to invest . in reorganizing the wood production system, without burdening the budget of either the family or the nation.
Generally speaking, these combined measures are not in themselves sufficient to escape from the crisis. Nevertheless, such improved market conditions favour a 'natural' recourse to other local sources of energy (peat, coal, solar ...) and/or imported sources (gas, kerosene...charcoal, wood).
B. PROFILE OF A TYPE OF NATIONAL ACTION:
The question is first of all political.
At this level, whichever choice is made will have a definite range of political and economic impacts. To import fuels will aggravate balance-of-payments deficits, while not to do so will often condemn an ecological potential, the preservation of which is a necessary guarantee of future life...
Then it becomes socio-technical:
Three important phases are discernible:
- preliminary actions: acquiring objective data on resources, consumption, the delivery systems...
- pilot operations: master plans for providing fuel to the towns, adapted forestry regulations, new kerosene and/or gas stoves.
- establishment of a national programme for domestic energy supply.
If these phases sketch a profile resembling national action, which elements could potentially contribute to regional action?
C. WHY REGIONAL ACTION ON DOMESTIC ENERGY?
Because it can fulfill three important functions: l. About certain questions of supranational interest, the Sahel has everything to gain by speaking unanimously. For example, given the present situation the regional sources of supply of butane gas will not be sufficient to satisfy an increase in regional consumption. Security of supply and price stability are at stake."Speaking unanimously" could justify an international investment in the development of means of aquiring this security and stability, which are vital to the region. It would also permit a stronger stance in bargaining with exporters of goods and services.
2. Concerted action for coherence and effectiveness of national efforts: For example, numerous regulative, fiscal or tariff decisions, ... which stem from national power, are only effective if all the governments act in concert.
3. It is possible to obtain economies of scale by carrying out studies of common interest to the various countries and by the transfer of knowledge gained within the most advanced programmes to less advanced ones. For example
- regional kerosene and gas provision systems
- regional exchange of wood and/or charcoal
- adaptation and dissemination of new stoves
- making renewable energies economically viable
- information/awareness support by the media
- arousing dynamic exchange and communication information bulletins, targeted diffusion of documents, production and assistance missions, organisation of bilateral exchanges, preparation of an international seminar.
D TO A REGIONAL DOMESTIC ENERGY PRO&RAMME AT CILSS
Why a regional "domestic energy" programme? To implement a regional "domestic energy" strategy, sustained action on a pluri-annual basis is necessary.
Why at CILSS? Because only CILSS can provide an adequate institutional setting for actions of such political and technical scope. Besides, the theme of "domestic energy. is inherent in the problematique of the struggle against deforestation and, moreover, the programme would be a logical extension of the Improved Cookstoves project carried out by CILSS.
Where at CILSS? Everything depends on the size of the programme but it could take the shape of a "domestic energy service", attached to the Direction Projets et Programmes of CILSS.
The preliminary conditions? Certain preliminary conditions are necessary for the establishment of this programme:
* The confirmation of an intergovernmental mandate to CILSS.
* The modification and restructuring of the permanent team the person in charge of this service would have to demonstrate a force of conviction capable of directly affecting those with political responsibility in this area in the various countries. He would be assisted by two people who would be in charge of the service's thematic programmes: improved cookstoves and a system of wood energy and substitute fuels.
* Respect for the three great regionalfunctions of
CILSS: to forge a homogeneous Sahelian position, to encourage inter-governmental agreements and to make economies of scale possible these functions form a rigourous framework for regional action.
* More rigourous methods of programme development and follow-up more in line with the general practices of CILSS and also more operational and lucid vis a vis donors. All planned activities could be described in an annual programme document, not contractual in nature.
* The principal of differential support to each member country each country has, at any given moment, different specific needs. Equity in efficacity is therefore less the equal sharing of every activity amongst the nine countries than a balance among contributions specific to each one of them.
The types of activities can be placed in three categories:
- "THINK TANK.: promotion of ideas and strategies, identification of priorities, preparation of studies to inform decision-making..
- EXCHANGES AND COMMUNICATION: comprises "cross-fertilization" activities: information bulletins, technical or methodological notices, bilateral exchanges, missions..
- TECHNICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL SUPPORT: participation in significant phases of national projects, rather than support to institutions.
E 1987: A REGIONAL PROGRAMME OF TRANSITION
The pivotal year, 1987, has a transition programme, therefore
- NO equipment investment: no vehicle or largephot ocopier. - NO manpower investment such as recruitment of an administrative assistant or a Sahelian counterpart to the Technical Coordinator of Improved Cookstoves.
- NO dispersion of efforts.
- Firm support for the national programmes to disseminate improved cookstoves on a massive scale and to restructure the wood-energy system.
- The reorganisation of the team, of programme development practices, of adminstration methods, of the production of documents, and the more effective use of information.
- Finalization of a pluri-annual programme, "Domestic Energies..
REVIEWS AND SUMMARIES