The Federal Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves organized the Nigeria Clean Cooking Forum 2017 where a new course was charted for the promotion of Made-in-Nigeria clean cookstoves. The event which was held on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja had in attendance over 200 stakeholders from government, private sector, NGOs/CSOs, finance institutions, the international community as well as the media.

The forum supports the efforts of the Federal government to scale up domestic production of clean cooking solutions in Nigeria as well as contributes to meeting the country’s obligation to the United Nations climate change agreements of which Nigeria is a signatory. Research has confirmed that smoke from the traditional use of firewood is estimated to cause 95,000 deaths annually in Nigeria. After malaria and HIV/Aids, this is the third highest killer mostly of who are women and children. Women and the girl child walk long distances and spend hours a week in search of firewood. Even though the country is one of the world’s largest exporters of LPG, most Nigerian households rely on firewood for cooking. This also contributes significantly to deforestation as well as the attendant consequences of climate change.

Clean cooking will save lives, empower women, improve livelihood and combat climate change.  It is a priority area in energy access that is central in achieving the goals of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative in Nigeria. Clean cooking energy for all is not only possible but a right for the Nigerian citizens. The domestic market for clean cooking solutions must be developed through innovative partnership and support, thereby the government and private sector need to stimulate the market for “Made in Nigeria” clean cookstoves.

The Forum was declared open by the Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril. He lamented that despite Nigeria’s huge clean energy potentials, majority of Nigerian households unfortunately still rely on solid biomass for cooking. He noted that the Federal Government is committed to local production and use of clean cookstoves which has the potential to help Nigeria meet its obligations in the National Determined Contributions (NDCs) agreed upon at the Paris climate summit. He stated that “access to clean

Panelists are Omotola Adeniyi represented the Statistician General, Dr. Yemi Kale, Dr. Yerima Peter Tarfa, Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Ogo I. Akabogu, represented Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director, Bank of Industry, and Wale Okuola, represented Femi Oye, Chief Executive Officer, SMEFunds Ltd

cooking solutions is the right of every Nigerian and the forum’s outcome should address concrete and practical solutions to develop and expand the domestic market for clean cookstoves”.

The President of the Senate, represented by Senator Abu Ibrahim, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change, in his keynote address recognized the enormous challenges of using firewood for cooking and the co-benefits of using clean cookstoves such as LPG, ethanol, efficient use of solid bio-fuels and other clean fuels. He said “access to clean cooking solutions is the simplest and most basic dividend of democracy every Nigerian should enjoy”. He pledged that the legislative arm of government will work with the executive arm to ensure adequate legislation that supports small and medium scale clean cookstoves manufacturers in line with the Made –in –Nigeria campaign is developed.

The National Coordinator of Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Ewah Eleri, in his welcome address acknowledged the efforts of various partners and stakeholders from government, private sector, NGOs/CSOs and the international community in moving the clean cooking industry forward. He noted that despite their efforts, the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is struggling to achieve its objectives and urged that deliberations of the forum should chart a practicable way forward for the development of the sector.

Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary General and Nigeria’s former Minister of Environment, in a video message commended that as a result of the efforts of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and other stakeholders around the world, clean cooking solutions have been included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in the commitments of many countries in the Paris Agreement on climate change. She stated that “the United Nations is committed to supporting efforts in expanding access to clean cooking solutions across various countries including Nigeria”.

Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Chair, Senate Committee on Climate Change and Ecology, urged that the outcomes of the forum be translated to local languages for the consumption of the general public.  Honourable Samuel Onuigbo, Chairman, House Committee on Climate Change, stated that the legislature has taken appropriate steps in making a law on climate change and in due course the details of the proposed law will be made public. Speaking on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. U. M. Ene-Obong, Director of Climate Change, outlined the health problems associated with smoke from cooking in an open fire and noted that her organization works with stakeholders to promote the rights of women and children which includes access to clean cooking solutions.

The representative from Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Mr. Patrick David underscored the need for safe and environment friendly access to fuels and energy for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) as well as for the need to disseminate clean cookstoves country wide. The forum also agreed that there is need for adequate financing of clean cooking solutions in the country. In this regard, Bank of Industry and the Federal Ministry of Environment mentioned the different sources of financing mechanisms including the Green Climate Fund and Micro Credit.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment represented by Dr. Peter Yerima Tarfa in his closing remark appreciated all participants and stated that “the huge participation shows the importance of the forum. He urged all participants to keep spreading the gospel of clean cooking across the country and re-emphasised that the Ministry will continue to support and partner with the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to actualize the resolutions of this great event”.

About 20 organisations showcased their clean cooking solutions. There was a musical performance by a rap duo named “Floss”. Their message essentially talks about elimination of smoke from Nigerian kitchens through the adoption and use of clean cookstoves.

The Nigeria Clean Cooking Forum is a landmark, annual gathering of government, professionals and entrepreneurs working to accelerate the production, deployment, and use of cleaner, more efficient cookstoves and fuels.

By Dotun Roy is a development driven news website with the overall goal of amplifying, promoting and advocating for positive societal change through Sustainable Development advocacy in line with UN SDGs components such as education, environmental sustainability and Climate Change, Human Rights, health, finance, housing, good governance as well as security in Nigeria and across the world.

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