United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

WHO

Mr Chairman,
I would like to thank those panelists and speakers that have drawn our attention to the
need to meet basic household energy needs, in particular for cooking, and called for a
strong political commitment to provide access to energy among the poor.
We have heard that 2.4 billion people still rely on traditional biomass for cooking. 3.2
billion people worldwide, more than half of the world?s population, burns biomass fuels
and coal indoors for cooking. I would like to add a health angle to these statistics: Every
year, indoor air pollution from solid fuel use leads to more than 1.5 million deaths.
Children and women are disproportionately affected. Indoor air pollution is responsible
for nearly 800 000 deaths among children and more than 500 000 deaths among women
every year.
In addressing this public health and development tragedy, I would like to call upon CSD-
14 to consider the following three points:
First, beyond drawing attention to the general need to improve access to energy, the
commitment to a specific target is needed. The UN Millennium Project has proposed
such a target and postulated that, in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals,
we will need to halve, by 2015, the number of people cooking with solid fuels and make
improved cooking stoves widely available. CSD-14 and CSD-15 provide an opportunity
to endorse this target.
Secondly, health is a winning argument. In industrialized countries, health has been
driving the environment agenda. Let us use the health concerns in relation to indoor air
pollution to drive the energy agenda in developing countries.
Finally, health must be a part of the solution. It is not sufficient to simply use health as an
argument, health must also be one of the key parameters to develop and inform
appropriate interventions and policies to improve access to household energy.
Thank you.

Mr Chairman,
I would like to add my comments to two issues raised during this session, i.e. how to cut
a long-term energy target into sizeable pieces and how to finance access to household
energy. In doing so, I have a piece of bad news and a piece of good news.
The bad news is that, in cutting the overall household energy target, as proposed by the
UN Millennium Project, into a daily target, we are confronted with an enormous
challenge. To reach, by 2015, half of those cooking with solid fuels with cleaner fuels
nearly 500 000 people a day will need to gain access every day between now and 2015.
Reaching this target would still leave 1.5 billion people unserved in 2015.
The good news is that investing in modern cooking fuels and more efficient and cleaner
cooking stoves pays off. This Thursday WHO will release a new report entitled ?Fuel for
life: household energy and health?. This report contains the results of the first-ever costbenefit
analysis of different household energy interventions, including cleaner fuels, such
as LPG and ethanol, and improved cooking stoves. Whichever of these household
energy intervention we analyse, the benefits always outweigh the investment many
times. Moreover, the vast majority of costs are borne at the household level. Only a
small fraction of the overall cost requires public sector investment for awareness-raising,
social marketing, research and development of appropriate energy solutions, and to set
up micirofinance schemes for producers and users.
Thank you.