|Technology, Markets and People: The Use and Misuse of Fuelsaving Stoves - A Project Case-Study (UNEP, 1989, 66 p.)|
The problem of actual and impending shortages of fuelwood in developing countries has occupied considerable attention for a number of years. With our deepening understanding of the scope and complexity of this issue, has come the realisation that trees provide far more than just another energy source. They are an integral component of the lives of millions, particularly women, in the rural areas of the developing world.
The role of the United Nations Environment Programme does not end with acting as a watch-dog, alerting the international community to the potential dangers of a problem such as deforestation. We also set out to initiate and catalyse the implementation of measures to counteract the deterioration of our environment and to promote the adoption of sustainable resource-utilisation strategies in the future.
To this end the project Plantation and Efficient Utilisation of Fuelwood in Rural Areas of Kenya, implemented jointly by UNEP and the Bellerive Foundation, was established in 1983, to investigate low-cost measures to alleviate the problem of rural deforestation.
To me, the most encouraging outcome of this project is that it has shown how, through the involvement of the target community both in identifying areas for intervention and in developing strategies on the ground, economic forces may be brought to contribute to the conservation effort, rather than coming into conflict with it.
The ongoing stove dissemination programme established by this project is an excellent demonstration of this fact: not only has it grown to a size at which it is making a significant environmental impact on a national scale, but it is now financially self-sustaining and attracting considerable interest in the private sector. In the light of current, fast-changing perceptions of the role of environmental conservation in development, this is a significant result.
In recognition of the potential of the approach we developed in Kenya, interest has been aroused in establishing similar projects elsewhere in Africa, and a pilot phase programme is already in place in Tanzania. As the project in Kenya moves from being a pilot activity to a fully operational programme, it is appropriate to make available the results of activities to date and recommendations for the development of such projects in the future.
This report sets out to present this approach, in a readable and accessible form, not only to the specialist scientific community, but also to general policy-makers and those working in the field.
Mostafa K. Tolba
Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
Nairobi. May 1989