The ECOWAS Workshop on Sustainable Wood Energy Management opened at the Palais de Congres in Cotonou, Benin, on the 9th May. The workshop is co-organized by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), in the context of the GBEP Activity Group “Towards sustainable modern wood energy development”. It is organized in partnership with the Ministry of Energy, Water and Mines of Benin, and with the support of the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, as well as of GIZ.

The workshop brought together technical and policy advisers in the energy and forestry sectors in the public, private and civil society organisations from the ECOWAS member states with the objective to share information and to enhance capacities of actors within the wood energy value-chain. Discussions cover the present state of the affairs with regards to the unsustainable use of wood fuels and how to introduce sustainability in its value chain; sensitize and enhance capacities on shifting to and expanding the sustainable use of wood fuels, incorporating efficient and modern approaches in the entire value chain.

The workshop was officially opened by Mr. Christophe KAKE, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water and Mines of the Republic of Benin representing the Hon. Minister while the keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Theophile KAKPO, Director General of Forest, representing his Hon. Minister. Both speakers recognised the need for regional intervention in the wood energy sector, giving the significant role this energy resource plays in the socio-economic development of Benin and the region. They therefore welcomed the organization of the workshop in Benin, giving that 90% of the population depend on wood energy for its energy needs and expressed their appreciation to ECREEE for selecting Benin for this workshop.

Earlier, Mr. Bah F. M. Saho, Program Officer for Renewable Energy, representing Mr. Mahama Kappiah, the Executive Director of ECREEE, Dr. Maria Michela Morese, Secretary General of the GBEP and Karl Moosmann, representing GIZ addressed the workshop. All the speakers noted the significant contribution of wood energy in the national and regional energy balance in the ECOWAS region and therefore recommended concerted action to introduce sustainable and efficient management in the entire wood energy value chain.

The workshop Opening Session attracted 91 participants.

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