As the past year is officially drawn to a close and as we enter the new year, GERES in Southeast Asia gives you a rundown of the highlights of 2014 and anticipated events in 2015.
Read on and take a trip down the memory lane with us as we recollect what we did the past year towards promoting sustainable Biomass Energy in Southeast Asia.
* B-I-O-M-A-S-S E-N-E-R-G-Y (in) S.E. A(sia) *
[B] Been working in Cambodia for 20 years.
In 2014, GERES marked its 20th year of helping Cambodia achieve sustainable biomass energy solutions, starting in 1994 with energy-efficient solutions applicable to fisheries-related activities in Kampong Chhnang, and on to what would become GERES’ flagship program – improved cookstove (ICS) – in 1996.
ICoProDAC – Improved Cookstove Producers and Distributors Association of Cambodia – the industry associated established by GERES to ensure long-term sustainable and reliable supply of ICS in the country, celebrated its 10th founding anniversary
At the 10th founding anniversary General Assembly meeting and dinner party celebrations held on December 18th in Kampong Chhnang, the Executive Committee presented its recommendations to the 311 members-strong body as to how to move the organization forward.
Outcomes, a publication looking into the story of GERES’ Carbon-financed work in Cambodia was launched through a Roundtable Discussion on Climate Finance held with various development stakeholders as panel members and guests on November 25th
By disseminating over 2.4 million units of the New Lao Stove between 2003 and 2013, GERES was verified and validated to have facilitated a reduction in carbon emissions to the atmosphere amounting to 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, a portion of which – over 1.4 million tCO2eq – was successfully sold at various voluntary carbon markets, resulting in a sale amounting to over US$11.8 million, therefore allowing GERES and its government and development partners to expand the ICS project into an integrated national biomass energy strategy.
[M] Marketing of the ICS reached creative and innovative heights
Poster advertisements featuring GERES’ very own staff members, and a marketing video featuring a cooking demonstration illustrated in a hilarious comedy plot, were launched in local villages this year to help the ICoProDAC push sales of the ICS – the New Lao Stove and the Neang Kongrey Stove.
[A] AREA (Agro-forestry, Renewable Energy and Adaptation) project
AREA (Agro-forestry, Renewable Energy and Adaptation) project published a resource material on climate-smart agriculture for farmers and agriculture practitioners
AREA, a project that helped strengthen capacity of farmers in Kampong Chhnang towards resiliency to effects of climate change, wrapped up in 2014 but not before leaving behind a legacy in the form of a training manual that tackled topics on sustainable land management, proper water management, agro-forestry, tree and vegetable planting techniques and others.
[S] Stoveplus program got a branding makeover with new logo
The new StovePlus program launched a new logo in February, eight months after GERES officially announced the start of the program at the International Cooking Energy Forum held in Bonn, Germany in June 2013. The new logo reflects the program’s thrust to provide technical support not only to ICS project developers, but as well to other sectors interconnected with the clean cooking sector, in Southeast Asia and West Africa. Drawing from GERES’ 15-year experience in the clean cooking sector, StovePlus aims to contribute to the dissemination of 2 million improved cookstoves among households by 2017.
[S] SGFE received an Ashden Award
SGFE (Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprise) received the prestigious London-based Ashden Award in May for its veritable social and economic impact to lives, livelihoods and environment in Cambodia
Initiated through a collaboration between GERES and Pour un Sourire d‘Enfant in 2009, the SGFE, under the leadership of Carlo Figà Talamanca beginning in 2011, produced an average of 40 tonnes of recycled charcoal briquettes each month in 2014, supplying a network of over 100 retailers and restaurants in the country with cleaner and more efficient charcoal, and providing livelihood for scores of impoverished families in the process.
Expertise of GERES on ICS project development, biomass testing and standards and carbon finance, continued to be acknowledged globally and continued to inspire project developers, academicians and sector networks
In 2014 GERES was both a frequent host and guest to various knowledge-sharing events: the Asia Regional Workshop by StovePlus (Cambodia, May); the Biomass Testing Workshop among GACC’s (Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves) Regional Testing ang Knowledge Center (RTKC) laboratories (Nepal, August); the Technical Workshop on Testing Protocols (China, November); the Fairtrade Carbon Credits Framework Workshop (Sri Lanka, February); study visit by the Finland Futures Research Centre related to the Scaling up low-carbon household technologies in the lower Mekong sub-region study (Cambodia, October).
[N] New field : Kampong Cham
New field – literally –in Cambodia to apply GERES’ expertise on ICS project development presented itself: Kampong Cham
A new ICS project, in collaboration with Cambodia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, and with support from the Asian Development Bank, was awarded to GERES in 2014, and shall see 90,000 ICS units disseminated among households within two years.
[E] Entrepreneurship surged among GERES-initiated enterprises as well as those by local community stakeholders
Sovannak Palm Sugar, an enterprise kicked off by GERES in 2010 which aimed to enhance farm-scale production of palm sugar with the use of improved cookstoves, made its first export sales to Hong Kong under the leadership of Sourn Narein, Sovannak’s CEO since 2012. Also, in October, a community in Takeo made its first sale of wood vinegar – a byproduct of GERES-designed improved charcoal kiln –proving the potential of added income for communities that manage the charcoal-making facilities.
[R] Research and studies by GERES on its areas and sectors of interest abounded
Completed and/or published in 2014 were:
- a countrywide assessment of the Cambodian biomass energy consumer market;
- a study on initiatives promoting access to finance by GERES programs in Afghanistan, Benin, Cambodia, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco and Tajikistan;
- StovePlus-conducted and GIZ (German International Cooperation)-funded comparative study of eight biomass cookstove business models around the world;
- Global Forest Watch-funded study on the impact of charcoal-making on deforestation in Cambodia;
- an exhaustive study of nine biomass energy-dependent sectors in Cambodia: brick production, rubber processing, fish smoking, small-scale food processing, salt refining, domestic cooking, ice production, tobacco curing, and gasification.
[G] Got invited to present our ICS project management experience
Got invited to present our ICS project management experience at the 7th edition of the Convergences World Forum in Paris
Within the session Scaling up to multiply social impact in the solidarity-based sector, GERES presented its experience in Cambodia in front of around 100 people – all working in the fields of sustainable production and consumption – in September. Through the presentation, GERES’ work, best practices and lessons learned in Cambodia reached a larger audience including organizations from Africa where similar ICS projects are being implemented.
[Y] Year ended with a reflection on GERES’ work in Cambodia over the past 20 years
The year 2014 has seen many of GERES’ work in Cambodia come to fruition, including the increasing readiness of local partners to take on bigger roles in their development. The year ended with a decision to deploy a compact and rapid team with expertise on research and development, business development and field operations, beginning the coming year.
[S.E.] Southeast Asia Regional Office
GSA (GERES Southeast Asia) Office came to replace what used to be called Cambodia Country Office as operations in Myanmar began in early 2014.
Founded on the Cambodia experience, the SCALE (Strengthening improved Cookstove Access towards a better quality of Life and Environment) project supports a global switch to sustainable consumption and production by helping put in place a supply chain capable of driving wide-scale and sustainable access to fuel-efficient cookstoves among households in Myanmar. Partially funded by the European Union, SCALE aims to disseminate at least 300,000 ICS units among approximately 190,000 households in Myanmar.
[A] A new home awaits the GERES team in Cambodia in 2015!
The teams in Cambodia will have a new office which will serve as the operations center from which all research and development, business development and field operations in the Southeast Asia region shall be directed.
A VERY HAPPY AND MEANINGFUL 2015 TO ALL OF YOU!