From the SEforAll Forum in Lisbon and announcing the Alliance Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, to my numerous meetings and briefings with so many of you, it has been an eventful and inspiring first few weeks at the Alliance. I want to thank you for welcoming me so warmly and for sharing your insights and guidance on clean cooking, household air pollution, and market development.
As we heard during the Forum, and as most of us working in this sector know all too well, progress on energy access and clean cooking remains unacceptably slow. Given the magnitude of this issue, there’s not been nearly enough attention nor investment in clean cooking, and I see this as a call to action for all of us attempting to end the centuries-old practice of dirty cooking.
The Alliance is taking a hard look at how we work, as well as which levers need to be pulled to dramatically accelerate progress. Business as usual simply is not an option moving forward. To make universal access to clean cooking a reality will require a well-resourced market fueled by resilient enterprises, strong consumer demand, and government policies that support this sector. As I noted in my statement on the SDG7 report earlier this month, there is no single solution – no single stove or single fuel -- for this complex issue. It’s going to take a whole systems approach.
With close to four million premature deaths each year due to cooking emissions, the moral imperative to acting on this issue is clear. While we will continue to drive that message home, we must also ensure that businesses and entrepreneurs in this sector have the tools and resources they need to produce high-quality products, reduce costs, improve margins, and ultimately reach the millions of people living without access to clean cooking technologies – and in turn, to show the financial imperative of investing in this global market development opportunity.
Dymphna van der Lans