“A Conversation on Clean Cooking” Highlights Significant Progress and the Need for Increased Investment
As a part of its 10 Years of Impact celebration, Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) CEO Dymphna van der Lans recently moderated A Conversation on Clean Cooking between former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and CCA Leadership Council member Wanjira Mathai of the World Resources Institute.
The virtual discussion showcased widespread progress on clean cooking over the past decade and highlighted the need for increased investment and global support on the road to 2030.
Since CCA was launched in 2010, more than 400 million people have gained access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, contributing to 4.6 million lives being saved from the negative health impacts of household air pollution.
“We were seeing a silent pandemic of people getting sick and dying from indoor air pollution, from breathing the particulates over open fires – both indoors and outdoors – as they cook or sit around the fire,” said Secretary Clinton. “I think it puts into perspective what an accomplishment it has been to save those lives over this period of time.”
Mathai highlighted that this issue was a relatively unknown one until the connection was made between household air pollution and cooking, sharing her experiences of growing up in Kenya and cooking over open fires. “It’s such an important issue that so many of us grew up with,” Mathai said. “Once the health connection was realized, it created a global call to action.”
“Over the past decade, there has been a global movement working to create a world where no one’s life is limited by how they cook,” said van der Lans, “Our work is enabling hundreds of millions of people to cook with clean and modern stoves and fuels, such as electricity, biofuels, and gas.”
All three speakers recognized the significant progress seen in the clean cooking sector over the last decade, spotlighting the broad shift to a market-based approach and the increasing number of companies centering the needs of household cooks in their business models.
Over the last 10 years, the work of CCA and its partners has resulted in more than US $25 million in support for companies across the clean cooking industry, demand creation and behavior change campaigns that have reached more than 40 million people in 8 countries, and training programs for more than 5,000 women entrepreneurs, youths, and educators.
However, all three speakers highlighted that greater progress is still needed to achieve universal access to clean cooking by 2030.
“This is an incredibly important year for clean cooking and energy access with events such as the High-Level Dialogue on Energy and COP 26,” said van der Lans. “This is an opportunity to make momentous progress on climate protection, health, the environment and women’s empowerment.”
Secretary Clinton noted that reaching our global energy goals will require increased support from governments and policy makers, applauding the U.S. government’s recent announcement to strengthen its commitment to CCA and the clean cooking sector.
“The Biden-Harris administration has made clean cooking a pillar of their climate policy, and we need more governments to step up their commitments,” she said. “The work that is being done by CCA gives us a roadmap and a path forward, but we need greater global attention and more investment.”
To catalyze action and facilitate much-needed coordination across the clean cooking sector, CCA, together with partners, has developed a Clean Cooking Systems Strategy for achieving universal access by 2030. The Systems Strategy calls on governments, donors, finance institutions, and the private sector to prioritize clean cooking in this critical year and accelerate commitment, funding, and action to finally match the scale of this global challenge.
“We will not meet our Sustainable Development Goals if we don’t meet this one,” Mathai emphasized. “This is about energy, it’s about poverty, it’s about the environment – it cuts across so many of the development goals.”
Throughout the upcoming weeks, CCA will be continuing its 10 Years of Impact Celebration to draw greater attention to the challenges addressed in this conversation and spotlight notable clean cooking successes, moments, and champions, including those of supporters like actor Julia Roberts and Chef José Andrés. CCA’s anniversary activities will culminate in “The Week of Clean Cooking” from October 18-22, featuring panel discussions, learning seminars, networking opportunities, and key announcements from CCA and other clean cooking partners.