Assessing bioenergy pathways for sustainable development in Ethiopia and Kenya

10 Mar 20


Biomass is the most important energy source for most households on the African continent. However, action is needed to combat the unsustainable use of biomass, which brings with it devastating environmental and social impacts. The first step is to assess the current sustainability of bioenergy production and consumption in order to inform decision making. The GBEP Sustainability Indicators are an important tool for carrying out this kind of assessment and monitoring.  


Measurement of the GBEP Sustainability Indicators

Ethiopia and Kenya are two countries where there is strong dependence on biomass for energy at household level, with 99 and 43 million people relying on traditional biomass use for cooking in Ethiopia and Kenya, respectively. The implementation of the GBEP Sustainability Indicators in these two countries has just been finalised by UNEP, with funding from the International Climate Initiative, as part of the project Building capacity for enhancing bioenergy sustainability using the Global Bioenergy Partnership Indicators.  


In each country, two priority bioenergy pathways were chosen for analysis, based on their relevance for the country in question. In Kenya, the project focused on two courses of action: the use of sugarcane bagasse briquettes residues by the tea industry; and charcoal production from forests, woodlands and farmlands for use by households. In Ethiopia, the measurement of the indicators considered the development of biogas and solid biomass (firewood and charcoal) production. In both countries, the measurement of the GBEP Indicators has helped to inform national decision makers on the future development of bioenergy in order to best contribute to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as national development priorities.


“These findings help improve our overall knowledge and understanding about Ethiopia’s bioenergy sector and serve as a starting point to improve the sustainability of this sector and support the design of effective sustainable bioenergy policies as part of low-carbon development strategies” Fikadu Beyene, Commissioner of Environment, Forest and Climate Change 


The final summary reports (ETKE), as well as the full technical reports (ETKE) are available online, and more information can be found on the UNEP website.