Cooking Energy Intervention Strategies

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Cooking Energy System | Basics | Policy Advice | Planning | Designing and Implementing ICS Supply | Designing and Implementing Woodfuel Supply | Climate Change | Extra


In light of rising costs for fossil fuels (at least during past decades) and their negative impact on climate as well as in light of unavailibility of electricity, woodfuel will remain important in the energy mix of many countries struggling to meet an ever growing demand, for several decades to come. Consequently, there is a need for national energy policies to include a component on wood-based fuel. Ideally, developing such strategies is a systematic and ongoing process comprising stakeholder consultation, participation, and capacity-building down to local level. The ultimate goal is to identify actions and assign responsibilities and timeframes for their implementation. High-level decision-making of all relevant ministries (energy/ forestry/ environment/ agriculture etc.) is needed to establish rules and laws that provide supportive conditions for the development and use of woodfuel resources.

Strategies - Summary

The Biomass Energy Strategy (BEST) Initiative is one example in this process. BEST is a joint initiative between the EUEI Partnership Dialogue Facility (PDF) and GIZ programme for Basic Energy Services (HERA) (both implemented on behalf of BMZ, The Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development). The initiative supports African governments in developing national biomass energy strategies and aims at building awareness of biomass energy as the main source of primary energy in Africa and thereby, its role in poverty alleviation.

BESTs have been developed by the Governments of Botswana, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. The BEST Initiative has also developed a National Biomass Energy Strategy Guide to provide a development focus for policy-makers, energy and forestry planners.

For the Sahel region of West-Africa, the CILSS (Permanent Inter State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) based project PRE has published a similar guide for developing ‘National domestic energy strategies’. The different steps recommended in the guide follow a more structured approach based on the ‘Fuelwood Market Scheme’ launched in Niger, Mali and Chad during the late 1990s. Currently all CILSS member countries possess ‘National domestic energy strategies’.

Any new strategy should complement existing woodfuel-related strategies and facilitate the efficient implementation of existing policies. Political commitment and ownership of the strategy by high level decision makers should be part of the overarching strategy development exercise.

Software modeling tools can be useful in evaluating different scenarios' impact and cost/benefit. One such example is LEAP, the Long Range Energy Alternatives Planning System, a widely-used software tool for energy policy analysis and climate change mitigation assessment, which was developed at the Stockholm Environment Institute.

It is also now common practice in cities of such countries as Mali, Niger, and Chad, to develop Woodfuel supply master plans (WSMP) to support the sustainable supply with woodfuel. The WSMP are based on forest resource inventories in the woodfuel catchment areas of each city, complemented by socio-economic studies.

They assess:

  1. available woody resources (estimated areas, standing stocks and yields)
  2. prevailing woodfuel flows, describing the main woodfuel supply chains and the current woodfuel harvesting and charcoal-making areas at the local level
  3. human dynamics (history, demography and migrations, main land-based activities, etc.) The WSMP highlights the geographic priority areas and gives strategic guidelines for implementation. During the WSMP development process, all relevant stakeholders are involved, and their approval (technical as well as political) is solicited during a final workshop.

Further Information

Additional information on WSMPs can be accessed (in French only) through:




Woodfuel supply master plan (N’Djamena/Chad) Exerpt from the Woodfuel supply
master plan (N’Djamena/Chad)destined for decision-makers
Manual to conduct forest inventories of woodfuel catchment areas


This article was originally published by GIZ HERA. It is basically based on experiences, lessons learned and information gathered by GIZ cook stove projects. You can find more information about the authors and experts of the original “Cooking Energy Compendium” in the Imprint.

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