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Review of Woodfuel Biomass Production and Utilization in Africa: A Desk Study
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) & African Union
In 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 was adopted for 2030, “to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all”. The three pillars of sustainable energy are energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Energy access involves access to electricity and to clean fuels and technologies for cooking, commonly referred to as ‘clean cooking’. Wood used to generate energy, called woodfuel, is of significant value to African economies and is the single most important energy source for the majority of households. Thus, it is extremely important that woodfuel be managed in ways that exploit its advantages while limiting its negative impacts.
This report establishes the baseline data and information on woodfuel production and consumption, identifies opportunities for more sustainable use of woodfuel and presents the key challenges that must be addressed at all levels in the woodfuel and charcoal value chains.
Ignoring this issue may result in massive degradation of forests and rangelands in Africa, and by the time the transition to other energy sources is realized, this extremely serious environmental problem may undermine the gains made on the energy front.