On 2 July 2014 UNCTAD held a session on Bioenergy in the context of the SDGs at the African Carbon forum 2014. UNCTADs contribution to the event is part of the Nairobi Framework of Activities attempting to improve the distribution of CDM and low-carbon practices in Africa.
Facing a context of low carbon prices in the CDM markets, African countries are looking for additional ways to promote low-carbon development in the continent. Bioenergy is seen as one of the contributors to low-carbon development, supporting ongoing discussions on the future of CDM. The session was chaired by Mr. Henrique Pacini from UNCTAD and included the participation of Mr. Manuel Chenene (Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique), Mr. Thomson Sinkala (Zambia Biofuels Association), Ms. Semida Silveira (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden) and Mr. Emmanuel Ackom (UNEP Riso Center, Denmark). The session was supported by the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences (SSEESS).
At the occasion, UNCTAD presented briefly some of the highlights of its upcoming publication "The State of The Biofuels Market: Regulatory, Trade and Development Perspectives. Those included an increased international emphasis on developing the usage of non-food feedstocks for biofuel production, as well as a general perception that biofuels should enhance mainstream agriculture and not the other way around.
During the event a number of questions were raised about the commercial feasibility of bioenergy projects tied to local development, especially alternative usages of bioenergy such as using ethanol cookstoves to replace timber and charcoal-fired cookstoves - which are environmentally harmful and present health hazards -in poor communities. Participants also discussed the current state of biofuel policy frameworks in countries like Zambia and Mozambique. Mr. Emmanuel Ackholm from UNEP riso illustrated for the case of Cameroon the importance of considering residues from existing agriculture crops not as waste, but as valuable resources for energy generation. The panelists has a long Q&A interaction with the audience, which consisted of CDM and NAMA project developers, African government officials, development banks and NGOs.