At the heart of the bustling COP28 the UN Climate Change Conference, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the Trade Development Fund (TDFD), co-hosted a panel discussion with the Oil Sustainability Program (OSP), about "A Just Transition to Clean Cooking with LPG & Renewables” to ignite a dialogue on the future of clean cooking solutions.
The panel discussion was inaugurated by remarks from Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC and Chairman of the TDFD Executive Committee and Eng. Mohammad Al Tayyar, Program Director, OSP and moderated by Ms. Najla Alsudairy, Policy & Awareness Department Head at the OSP. Bringing together a diverse group of experts, the panelists included Eng. Nasser Al-Thekair, General Manager, Trade and Business Development at ITFC and Member of the TDFD Executive Committee, Mr. Anibor Kragha, Executive Secretary at the African Refiners & Distributors Association (ARA), Ms. Reema Alashgar, Clean Fuel Solutions for Cooking Initiative Manager, and Ms. Radia Sedaoui, Chief, Energy Section, Sustainable Development Policies Division at ESCWA.
Globally, 2.2 billion people lack access to clean cooking solutions and technologies. This reliance on traditional cooking solutions, such as wood, charcoal, and animal dung, has severe consequences on human health, and the environment.
As the world grapples with the dual challenges of climate change and energy access, the panel discussion delved into the crucial role of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and renewable energy sources in achieving a just and sustainable transition to clean cooking. This transition is not merely about switching energy sources; it is about empowering communities, safeguarding health, and protecting the environment.
The panel underscored that clean cooking is essential for human health, the environment, and sustainable development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels is the leading environmental cause of death, accounting for 3.8 million deaths each year. Clean cooking also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol during his intervention conveyed that “The ITFC's commitment to clean cooking solutions is deeply rooted in its mission to foster sustainable economic development in Member Countries. Through our collaboration with partners like OSP, we are promoting access to clean and affordable cooking fuels with the aim to improve the lives of millions of people, who often bear the brunt of traditional cooking methods.”
The ITFC's approach to clean cooking is centered on ensuring a just transition for communities. The Corporation recognizes that the shift to cleaner energy sources must be inclusive, empowering individuals and communities to make informed decisions and participate in the process.
On the other hand, Eng. Mohammad Al Tayyar mentioned, in his opening remarks, that the Oil Sustainability Program (OSP) has an ambitious scope that enables an Energy Transition that is just and sustainable. He emphasized the need for global action, similar to OSP’s collaboration with ITFC to bridge the access gap to cleaner energy.
In addition to its focus on LPG and renewable energy, there is a focus towards supporting the development of innovative clean cooking technologies, such as improved cookstoves and solar-powered cooking solutions. These technologies offer promising alternatives for remote and off-grid communities.