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Results Briefs November 10, 2020

Accelerating Access to Clean Cooking: The Efficient, Clean Cooking and Heating Program and the Clean Cooking Fund

The Efficient, Clean Cooking and Heating (ECCH) Program was the driving force to advance the World Bank’s clean cooking agenda through technical advice and country/regional grants to World Bank’s operational teams. The World Bank’s active lending portfolio in the sector totals more than US$400 million across 21 countries. As a result of the ECCH Program, nearly 20 million people in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Mongolia, Senegal, and Uganda have gained access to cleaner and more efficient cooking and heating solutions between 2015-2020. Through technical assistance, expert advice, direct and leveraged financing, assessments and studies, the ECCH Program has moved the agenda in the efficient, clean cooking and heating sector. At the UN 2019 Climate Summit, the ECCH Program launched its US$500 million Clean Cooking Fund—the first ever such fund to scale up investments in the clean cooking sector.

Globally 2.8 billion people do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, according to the 2020 Tracking Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7: The Energy Progress Report. The world falls short on its progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 7, achieving universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services. Household air pollution from cooking with traditional stoves and fuels is linked to nearly 4 million deaths each year since 2014.  The complexity and the multidimensional nature of the challenge showed that there was no ‘one size fits all’ approach for consumers and for countries. The multi-disciplinary nature of the problem often resulted in dispersion of roles and responsibilities across different stakeholders in client countries and within development organizations. Previous engagements in household cooking targeted mostly efficiency (rather than emission reduction) improvements. There was usually a focus on small-scale, artisanal or locally-produced stoves and fuel supply chains, and government-led supply and delivery, often with unsustainable subsidy and relatively little emphasis on quality or performance testing and monitoring. Lack of scalability, sustainability and demonstrated performance were common problems. However, there were several engagements that increasingly focused on social and private enterprise-led supply and delivery, with government as a facilitator; encouraged innovation in products; supported the development of sustainable business models that have the potentially to scale; and a strong emphasis on monitoring and reporting of performance and impact.

ECCH Program has played a catalytic role in raising concessional financing to leverage public and private investments in the sector. It supports lending projects and the enabling environment through technical assessments (TA), capacity building activities, and developing roadmaps to inform government policies and strategies.  Through its network and partnerships, the ECCH Program has helped leverage additional financing from development partners to bridge the financing gap. For example, in Bangladesh, ECCH’s direct technical support and coordination on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) application helped mobilize a US$20 million grant from the GCF., Together with an additional US$20 million from IDA, itis one of largest clean cooking operations in the world to support 4 million households to access improved and modern cooking solutions.

The ECCH Program is at the forefront of supporting technology, business, and financing innovations, such as piloting the electric thermal storage technology in Mongolia, setting up a distribution challenge fund in Uganda, integrating gender and health impact evaluation in Lao PDR and developing a contextualized cookstove testing protocol to incorporate the local cooking practice in Indonesia. Using pilots and fostering the development of innovative business models, the ECCH applies the latest research and technological developments, for example to support country teams in Myanmar and Nepal in introducing eCooking in their operations.

At the global level, the Program led the dialogue among development partners by working together with the World Health Organization (WHO) on tracking SDG 7 progress reports and policy briefs and elevating clean-cooking access to a top political priority on the global sustainable energy agenda. Together with the WHO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and the Clean Cooking Alliance, it supported the 2018 launch of the Health and Energy Platform of Action (HEPA) with clean cooking as the first-priority area.

Clean cooking is increasingly viewed as an urgent development issue with significant benefits for public health, gender equality, the local environment, and the global climate. 

Between 2015 and 2020, the ECCH program has catalyzed a total of more than US$380 million World Bank financing finance across 24 countries targeting more than 44 million people to gain access to improved ECCH solutions. With ECCH support through technical assistance, assessment studies, analysis and financing, the investment programs in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Mongolia, Senegal, and Uganda have already helped about 20 million people gain access to cleaner and more efficient, cooking and heating solutions.

For example, the ECCH Program provided a TA grant to support identification and preparation of a $80 million clean stove component under the Hebei Air Pollution Prevention Program for Results Financing Project, which is the largest World Bank lending to support household clean cooking/heating. The ECCH program’s TA grant and technical support were instrumental since such a component was not initially included in the project concept note. The clean stove component was completed in FY20 and helped 1.22 million households to replace coal stoves with gas (1.086 million) and electric (0.135 million) heating appliances, exceeding the target of 0.8 million households. The total PM2.5 emissions reduction is about 5,000 t, exceeding the target set by the PDO indicator by about 3,700 t. In Bangladesh, ECCH support found that the cookstove program could be successful if based on a market-driven model that would allow for the growth of entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises across the value chain through intensive training. Building upon this advice, the Bangladesh Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development II (RERED II) Project  partnered with a local development-finance institution and tapped into a network of local nongovernmental organizations to manufacture and distribute 1.7 million improved cookstoves, thereby reducing  greenhouse gas emissions by 3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. 

The ECCH Program has informed government policy and strategy in four countries to move the efficient, clean cooking and heating agenda forward. For example, ECCH supported Africa Clean Cooking Energy Solution (ACCES) conducted an economic analysis of tax and duty on clean cooking sector in 2015 which helped  the East African Community Customs Union’s approval of a reduction in the import duty for modern cookstoves (from 25 percent to 10 percent) (Legal Notice No. EAC/32/2016). In addition, the ECCH program  fostered the development and piloting of innovative approaches, for example, piloting of results-based financing (RBF) frameworks in several countries such as China, Indonesia, and Uganda, demonstrated that RBF can be an effective way to incentivize the private sector to invest in and deliver ECCH solutions. RBF is now being used as the main operations model for ECCH interventions. In the Kyrgyz Republic, an open-source, technological-development effort enabled local businesses to produce high-performance stoves, which saved about 50 percent in fuel, reduced PM2.5 emissions by more than 90 percent, and received high user satisfaction between 2016 to 2019. The open-source design prototype has been adopted by practitioners in Mongolia, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and Tajikistan. 

The ECCH Program helped to increase women's roles in benefit-sharing, employment and capacity building. Three programs have an explicit approach for improved equity of male and female participation across the value chain: Bangladesh RERED II cooking component, Kenya: Off Grid Solar Access Project, and Lao PDR Clean Cookstove Initiative. The Program has already facilitated twenty-one new entrants into the markets and the commercial supply chain in Indonesia, and Uganda.

Bank Group Contribution
The ESMAP trust fund support during July 2017 to June 2020 for ECCH was $8.8 million, including $6 million provided for country grants.

The external partners include the Health and Energy Platform of Action (HEPA), High-Level Coalition of Leaders for Clean Cooking, Energy and Health, World Health Organization, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA), Loughborough University/ the Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) Program, Energizing Development (EnDev), Hivos/Energia, and Global LPG Partnership (GLPGP). The ECCH Program collaborates on outreach, advocacy, bringing political commitment, knowledge sharing, and research. The Program also coordinates and aligns with partners on country-level engagements and activities.

In addition, in 2018 the ECCH Program conceptualized with Loughborough University from United Kingdom and jointly led a US$40 million United Kingdom  Aid research project, Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS), to identify innovative, clean, and modern alternatives to traditional biomass fuels (e.g., charcoal and wood).

Moving Forward
The ECCH Program recognized that achieving clean cooking and heating for all requires scaling up the level of commitment and investment, as well as the pace of implementation. The ECCH Program elevated clean cooking on the World Bank’s agenda by launching the US$500 million Clean Cooking Fund at the UN 2019 Climate Summit, with funding pledges of support from the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark. The Clean Cooking Fund was operationalized, in January 2020, with all ECCH Program related activities were transferred under the Clean Cooking Fund (Fund). The Fund will scale up public and private investments in the efficient, clean cooking and heating sector by catalyzing technology and business innovation and linking incentives with verified results, using RBF instruments to co-finance International Development Association operations. The Fund is expected to leverage at least US$2 billion in investments to support a sizeable number of businesses delivering clean cooking solutions over the next five years. 

As of September 2020, a project pipeline of more than $100 million in IDA financing has already been identified (either approved or in the pipeline) to be co-financed with the Clean Cooking Fund. The structure of a country/regional investment project includes three interlinked areas of interventions that are needed to scale up investment in the clean cooking sector: (i) an enabling environment to fill the awareness, knowledge, policy, and capacity gap; (ii) an access-to-finance facility to support and enable enterprises and businesses to access commercial finance; and (iii) an RBF facility to provide results-based grants for the public goods currently under-delivered due to the affordability gap. Through replication and scaling up, the Clean Cooking Fund will accelerate progress toward universal access to clean cooking. The CCF has a second pillar dedicated to data gathering and knowledge that will provide teams with technical advice, analytical support and expertise built on the lessons from previous projects and operations. 

Mothers, pregnant women, and young children are disproportionately affected, as they are typically responsible for household cooking and firewood collection and thus are the main beneficiaries from the initiative. By July 2020, projects implemented in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Mongolia, Senegal and Uganda have already helped nearly 20 million people gain access to cleaner and more efficient cooking and heating solutions. 

The ECCH Program has supported a market-based approach that incentivizes the private sector to deliver clean cooking solutions that households are willing to adopt. Therefore, private enterprises that are involved in the clean-cooking value chain are also the ECCH Program’s beneficiaries. Special efforts are being made to encourage female entrepreneurs; for example, the Bangladesh clean cooking program has created more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs for women in 2019. In Indonesia, an RBF pilot provided incentives to ten private-sector suppliers, five of which were women-led businesses.