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First Cooking Stove PoA registered in Sub-Saharan Africa

February 2012 - At the beginning of February, the CDM Executive Board registered a programme of activities involving the use of efficient wood-burning cookers in Nigeria, giving Sub-Saharan Africa its second PoA to date. The PoA is coordinated by atmosfair, Germany. In the following interview, atmosfair's Florian Zerzawy talks about how the PoA came about and the prospects for CDM in Africa.

JIKO: Mr. Zerzawy, atmosfair has fostered the development of household-focused PoAs worldwide. What was needed to secure success in Nigeria?

Florian Zerzawy: Most important is trust-based cooperation with our local partners in Nigeria, and especially with the Developmental Association for Renewable Energy (DARE), which runs the country programme. DARE and atmosfair share a common interest: mitigating climate change and alleviating poverty are our two main goals. Only then do we look at economic success. DARE has a strong village presence and, by demonstrating how the cookers are used, can win people over to using them and to the need to protect the environment. Apart from DARE, we also work closely with a number of sales partners which include a microcredit organisation. Families who cannot afford a cooker despite the subsidies provided by atmosfair can pay in 12 monthly instalments. This form of direct contact between us and our local partners in Nigeria has brought a range of benefits in respect of CDM development. For example, it reduces the risk of a model being developed in theory, say for monitoring, only to find that it cannot be put into practice.

JIKO: What is the outlook regarding the individual activities conducted under the CDM Programme Activities (CPAs)?

Florian Zerzawy: atmosfair can use its own funds to provide another 10,000 Save80 cookers over the next two years. This is equivalent to an additional CPA. Plus, we have begun cooperation with a new technology manufacturer who cofinances the subsidies and benefits from a share of the resulting CERs in return. We see huge potential here for several tens of thousands of cookers. Of course, the PoA is not bound to a given manufacturer. The deciding factor is that the cookers reduce emissions by 50 percent compared with conventional cooking fires. At the moment, we are talking to several potential investors and to technology manufacturers. We want to see 100,000 families receive efficient cookers in the next five years. If we are to meet the huge demand in what is Africa's most densely populated country, then we need help.

JIKO: How do you see the future of the CDM in Africa?

Florian Zerzawy: The conditions for using the CDM in Africa remain difficult, but some progress has been made. Since the EU restriction that to be ETS compatible, projects registered after 2012 must be conducted in least developed countries (LDCs), there has been a run on projects in African LDCs. Nigeria is not an LDC, but because we managed to register the project before the end of 2012, all CERs from the PoA are ETS-compatible. As regards the CDM, the biggest hurdles are the availability of data and the lack of capacity among the DNAs. I believe the main reason why few projects have been conducted to date is that there is no planning certainty. Take renewable energy expansion. There is no legal framework and monopolies dominate electricity generation and grids. The CDM can do little directly to improve the situation.

JIKO: What's on the horizon at atmosfair?

Florian Zerzawy: We will continue to concentrate on climate change mitigation at household level. This is where we see the greatest overlap between the CDM's two goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to sustainable development. We now have cooking stove projects in five countries - Nigeria, Rwanda, Lesotho, Cameroon, and India. In Kenya, we promote small-scale biogas facilities which are ideal for dairy farmers on the outskirts of Nairobi. We want to get these projects registered and, of course, generate CERs from them.

JIKO: Mr. Zerzawy, thank you for your time.