Fact Sheet
Washington, DC
October 22, 2010

On September 21, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership led by the United Nations Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.

The U.S. Department of State, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), all of which are founding partners of the Alliance, have forged an unprecedented government effort to mobilize financial resources, top U.S. experts, and research and development tools to help the Alliance achieve its target of "100 by 20," which calls for 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020.

The United States is not alone in this effort. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a new and innovative public-private initiative led by the United Nations Foundation, will work in cooperation with other leading international non-profit organizations, foundations, academic institutions, corporate leaders, governments, UN agencies, and local NGOs, women’s self-help groups, and community members to help overcome the market barriers that currently impede the production and use of clean cookstoves in the developing world.

The U.S. Role in the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

The U.S., a founding partner of the Alliance, is using a three-pronged approach to mobilize funding, expertise, and research and development resources to tackle this grave health, safety, environmental, and economic risk that affects the livelihood of nearly half of the world’s population.

  • Commitment to financial contribution. The U.S. is pledging $50.82 million over the next 5 years to ensure that the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves reaches its "100 by 20," which calls for 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020, with a long-term vision of universal adoption of clean and efficient cooking solutions.
  • Commitment to shared expertise. The U.S. stands ready to mobilize its top experts on gender, health, security, economics, and climate change to address some of the leading risk factors associated with traditional cookstoves and open fires. In addition, the United States will offer technical expertise and assistance to implement use of clean and efficient cookstoves.
  • Commitment to research and development The U.S. has made an unprecedented commitment to an applied research and development effort that will serve as the backbone of future efforts in the field. It will include:
    • Understanding and describing the health and environmental benefits of using clean stoves and fuels;
    • Developing the next generation of clean, efficient, durable, and affordable technologies; and,
    • Conducting extensive field testing and monitoring to assure success of the Alliance goals.

Challenges the United States and the Alliance Seek To Address

Exposure to toxic smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires accounts for nearly 2 million premature deaths annually. Women and young children are most affected according to World Health Organization estimates. Traditional cookstoves are the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly 3 billion people in the developing world; exposure to cookstove smoke has cross-cutting implications, including: increased health problems, personal security risks, and environmental consequences.

Health Problems
Cookstove smoke contributes to a range of chronic illnesses and acute health impacts, such as acute pneumonia in children under the age of five, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A growing body of evidence suggests links to other conditions, including tuberculosis, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and low birth weight. The World Health Organization estimates harmful cookstove smoke as one of the top five most serious health risks in developing countries.

Risk to Personal Safety
Reliance on biomass (e.g., wood, dung, coal) for cooking fuel and heating forces women and children to spend many hours each week collecting these items. Women and girls, especially those living in unstable areas such as refugee camps and conflict zones, face threats to their personal safety when they are out collecting fuel.

Environmental Consequences and Climate Change
Roughly 3 billion people cook their food by burning solids, such as wood, dung, and coal in crude, polluting stoves. The use of these fuels represents a significant part of the total primary energy demand in developing regions -- nearly half for Africa and more than a quarter for India. Reliance on biomass increases pressures on local natural resources and habitats. Inefficient, polluting cookstoves can contribute to climate change through emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and aerosols such as black carbon. The broad use and adoption of clean cookstoves would significantly reduce these emissions.

Why the United States Is Committed to This Partnership

Encouraging the development and use of clean cookstoves in cultures, communities, and countries throughout the developing world is consistent with the core principles of U.S. foreign policy and development efforts, which focus on improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations. It is also consistent with U.S. commitments to the Millennium Development goals. This initiative is working toward reversing the negative effects on health, personal safety, the local economy, and climate change of traditional cookstoves and open fires.

The U.S. and the "100 by 20" Campaign

The United States is committed to working with the Alliance to help achieve its "100 by 20" goal, which calls for 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020, thereby laying the foundation for a long-term, universal adoption of clean and efficient cooking solutions.

To achieve this goal, the United States joins the Alliance in pursuing a business plan that will:

  • Address the global prerequisites for the field to ensure the wide-spread use of clean cookstoves;
  • Identify target markets and develop operational strategies that emphasize the participation of women; and
  • Develop a globally coordinated research roadmap to facilitate progress on all aspects of the Alliance’s work, including public health, personal safety, and the environment.

Learn More

For more information on the United States’ partnership with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, go to www.state.gov/s/partnerships/cleancookstoves and www.cleancookstoves.org.