Cooking is a fundamental part of life. It is an activity that brings families together and has cultural and social significance around the world. But in some developing countries, solid fuels like wood and coal are often used in traditional stoves for cooking. The use of such polluting fuels and technologies results in household air pollution, causing respiratory illnesses, heart problems and even death. In fact, indoor air pollution causes more than 4 million premature deaths every year—50 percent of which are children under the age of 5.
Women and children are disproportionately affected by household air pollution, due to levels of exposure and because they often spend a significant part of their day collecting the fuel—firewood for instance—needed to cook a meal. Residential solid fuel burning accounts for up to 58 percent of global black carbon emissions and a gigaton of carbon dioxide per year—approximately 2 percent of global emissions.
Despite three decades of efforts, access to clean cooking fuel and technologies has continued to be an issue with severe health, gender, economic, environmental, and climate impacts. Nearly three billion people today do not have access to modern cooking services—that is more than the combined population of India and China.
Clean cooking must be a political, economic, and environmental priority, supported by policies and backed by investments and multi-sector partnerships. To make that kind of change, the level of commitment and the scale of investment matter.
To that end, the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) has established a planned US$500 million Clean Cooking Fund (CCF), with contributions from the Netherlands. Norway and the United Kingdom also support the Fund.