Ci-Dev and ESMAP Pave the Way for Scaling Up Innovative Financing in Clean Cooking

11 September 2020

Ci-Dev and ESMAP Pave the Way for Scaling Up Innovative Financing in Clean Cooking

Understanding the health, gender, and climate benefits of clean cooking interventions is fundamental for scaling up investment. This is why the World Bank is working to build knowledge around the clean cooking interventions that have the greatest proven impact. A new report Quantifying and Measuring Climate, Health and Gender Co-Benefits from Clean Cooking Interventions, produced by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the World Bank’s Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev), lays the groundwork for linking financial incentives with verified results for clean cooking interventions. Also known as result-based financing, the hope is that such funding will help to catalyze private and public sector investment and innovation that will have a tangible and lasting impact on the clean cooking sector.

Worldwide, three billion people rely on solid fuels—such as wood or coal—for cooking and heating. The resulting emissions can have severe health, environmental, and climate impacts. According to the World Health Organization, household air pollution from cooking kills between three and four million people every year, more than malaria and tuberculosis combined. For millions more, these emissions cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Women and children are disproportionally affected, as they spend the most time in proximity to stoves and bear much of the burden of cooking.

Universal access to clean cooking fuels and technologies is one of the key targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.” The World Bank is committed to scaling up public and private sector investment in clean cooking interventions —it is the main objective of the ESMAP’s Clean Cooking Fund.

As part of this effort, ESMAP and Ci-Dev are implementing a three-phased project expected to stimulate innovative ways for scaling up investment in the sector and to accelerate access to clean cooking for people around the world. The report Quantifying and Measuring Climate, Health and Gender Co-Benefits from Clean Cooking Interventions surveyed existing methodologies and field experience, suggesting improvements. Based on this methodology review, a field study will be conducted that includes a hybrid of the improved methodologies. Ultimately, the data analysis and the data collection experience of the quantification and measurement of the three co-benefits—black carbon, health, and gender—from selected clean cooking interventions will be summarized in a final report.

The World Bank has successfully utilized results-based financing in the health and climate sectors and is now exploring an approach in which impact-driven funds can be deployed to pay for verified climate, health, and gender impacts from clean cooking interventions. In the carbon market, for example, there are widely agreed upon methodologies for quantifying emissions reductions, operational verification schemes, and a market for verified results. The Bank also uses a number of effective tools, such as the Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) and Tracking SDG7, to measure access to modern energy cooking solutions along the lines of tracking progress toward sustainable energy goals.

Borrowing from experience in the carbon market, this study aims to begin the process of standardizing the measurements of climate pollutant reductions of clean cookstoves, as well as gender and health impacts. If results-based financing can be unlocked for clean cooking, it could develop a market by catalyzing private investment, innovation, and risk taking. Innovative financing mechanisms could also help to attract funding that targets co-benefits for climate, health, and gender and, over time, mainstream approaches to quantify the benefits of clean cooking into Clean Cooking Fund operation, national policies, and budgetary allocations.

Right now in Lao PDR, Ci-Dev and ESMAP are using results-based financing to distribute 50,000 highly efficient cookstoves. Carbon funds from emission reductions are being used to support awareness raising campaigns that will help the local market grow. The daily impact on women using the stoves is being monitored, measuring the benefits like expenditure on fuel, cooking time, and health issues related to household air pollution. This data will be used to quantify the benefits of the new cookstoves and unlock future results-based financing for clean cooking interventions.

Despite three decades of efforts, access to clean cooking fuel and technologies continues to be an issue with severe health, gender, and climate impacts. With results-based financing and a standard method for measuring the impacts of clean cooking interventions, the World Bank hopes to scale up public and private investments to deliver clean cooking solutions in every household—to empower women, keep families healthy, and the environment clean.

For more information on the methodologies review, please see the related webinar.