Cooking Against Climate Change: UN Judges Rwanda Project a Success

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 22, 2015 | Washington, DC
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The first so-called Carbon Credits have been delivered by the UN to finance cook stoves in Rwanda

Kigali, 1 June 2015: A network of local and international NGOs achieved for the first time to successfully use the United Nations governed carbon finance system to supply Rwandan households with affordable improved cook stoves that will not only make cooking faster and cheaper, but will also reduce emissions from smoke, improving the health of particularly women while fighting global climate change.

On March 16 this year the United Nations issued a first tranche of over 6,500 carbon certificates under its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for the Improved cook stoves programme for Rwanda that has, to date, provided over 14,000 households in Rwanda with affordable and energy efficient stoves. Over a period of 28 years, the programme is expected to distribute over 100,000 stoves and reduce over 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. “This is comparable to carbon emissions released by 75,000 buses making a round trip to Nairobi from Kigali”, said Allan Mubiru, the country manager of atmosfair in Rwanda.

The German NGO atmosfair is one of the partners involved in financing and monitoring this multi-stakeholder programme. Equally important are the roles of the Rwandan NGOs SaferRwanda, Rwanda Women Network, and the social business Inyenyeri, as well as of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), all responsible for the production and distribution of the innovatively designed and high-quality efficient cook stoves that have already been adopted by thousands of households in Nigeria, Cameroon and Lesotho.

Multiple benefits for Rwandan households and the environment: improved cooking stoves are faster, cheaper and emit up to 80% less greenhouse gases

Cooking efficiency on traditional fire places in Rwanda is extremely low and hence wastes a great amount of two already scarce and expensive resources in Rwanda: fire wood and charcoal. The stoves promoted in the programme are the Save80 stove sets (which, as the name suggests, requires up to 80% less wood for the same cooking procedure) and the Philips pellets burning stove which is the cleanest wood stove on the market.

Using the improved cook stove helps families to consume less fuel and thus save money: for every sack of charcoal of ~7,000RwF replaced by wood at a value of 1000 RwF, each household can save 6,000 RwF!

Family health improves since less smoke is emitted by the efficient cook stoves. (The WHO estimates that every year indoor air pollution causes the early death of about 12,500 people, especially of women and children, in Rwanda.)

Households save time that would otherwise be spent on collecting wood or long hours of cooking. When using the Save80 in combination with a so-called Wonderbox, a special insulation system for the cook stove, the user can save 2.5 hours for cooking beans and 20 minutes for rice and potatoes.

Over 100 jobs have been created for stove constructors, distributors and project managers.

The reduced demand for fire wood will decrease pressure on forests and reduce deforestation. The programme thus contributes to the country’s vision to reduce the rate of wood use in national energy consumption from 94% to 50% by the year 2020 as well as the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) which aims to promote energy efficiency in cooking.

First cook stove programme to be approved for climate financing by United Nations

To support private households that could otherwise not afford such kind of technology, the improved cook stoves are sold at subsidised prices or are even distributed for free (in the case of refugee households). Such subsidies are made possible through carbon certificates (certified emission reductions, CER) that are issued for the greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved by the use of the energy efficient cook stoves in Rwanda. These carbon certificates are then traded and sold on the international market. This trade and technology transfer is based on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is part of the Kyoto Protocol and regulated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). "This programme is a clear manifestation that fighting climate change can be achieved through energy efficiency measures for households at the bottom of the energy ladder," adds Xaver Kitzinger, the head of project development at atmosfair.

The German non-profit organization atmosfair uses the carbon certificates issued by the cook stove project to compensate carbon emissions generated by air travellers in Europe. atmosfair not only follows the strict UNFCCC guidelines for climate projects, but also the standards set by the Gold Standard Foundation, a global organisation that monitors Sustainable Development aspects of environmental protection projects. The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) supervises the implementation process.

For more information about the programme please contact Allan Mubiru, atmosfair country manager – Phone: +250789099605,

About atmosfair:
atmosfair is an independent non-profit company based in Berlin, Germany. It was founded in 2004 out of a research project of the German Federal Environment Ministry as a flight offset provider. In this function, atmosfair was highlighted as best quality offset provider in numerous international rankings.

Learn more about the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Improved Cook Stoves rogramme for Rwanda

Save80 stoves distributors:

SaferRwanda is an independent non-state actor and non-for-profit organization established in 2000. SaferRwanda is engaged in several peace and environmental protection projects such as solar energy, tree planting, energy saving cookstoves and disarmament of light weapons.

Rwanda Women Network is a national humanitarian non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to promote and improve the socio-economic welfare of women in Rwanda since 1997. Over time, the organization has dedicated its efforts to strategies that empower women and has extensive experience in fostering women's participation and grassroots responses to community challenges. To date, RWN works with various local and international partners and a network of over 52 grassroots associations across the country.

UNHCR, established by the United Nations General Assembly, is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. Currently there are more than 70,000 refugees from Congo in Rwanda being assisted by UNHCR.

Philips pellets burning stoves distributor:

Inyenyeri, a Rwandan social benefit company, seeks to eliminate the negative impacts of cooking with traditional wood stoves by providing highly efficient gasification stoves to customers and by producing and selling biomass fuel pellets which are used in the stoves. The pellets are made from plant material that is crowd sourced from Rwandan farmers who collect the raw biomass that is abundant around their homes and farms.