Side Event 3: Sustainable woodfuel value chains in sub-saharan Africa

Woodfuel is the main cooking fuel for over 60% of households in Africa. This is expected to increase in the coming decades, due to lack of alternative household energy and growing charcoal demand in urban centers. Commercialization of woodfuel provides income to millions of people but is increasingly associated with detrimental impact on the environment as supply basins in many countries are becoming severely degraded. In addition, woodfuel production and trade remain informal, governed by inadequate legal frameworks.

This weak governance, coupled with the unsustainable production and utilization technologies and practices accelerate deforestation, landscape degradation and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, this event aims to explore how woodfuel value chains can be made sustainable and ultimately contribute to landscape restoration, livelihoods improvement and broader national climate change commitments–balancing short-term socio-economic and long-term ecological benefits.

Discussions will focus on good practices and innovations for sustainable woodfuel value chains that will help mitigate against deforestation and landscape degradation whilst enhancing livelihoods of producers and traders. Specific emphasis will be put on the important role of women in the value chain and how to increase gender equity. Government representatives will share the national vision and ongoing programmes, whilst sub-national government representatives, Forest and Farm Producer Organizations (FFPOs), the private sector and development practitioners bring the local level lessons on how returns and benefits from woodfuel value chains can be sustained whilst maintaining and/or increasing the resource supply.

Lastly, an initiative will be mooted: setting up a woodfuel value chain actors’ network across Africa entitled ‘Networking for change in woodfuel value chains’.