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Bioenergy Could Reverse Poverty In West Africa

Bioenergy could reverse poverty in West Africa, says new UN study

16 October 2008 – Sustainable bioenergy is a weapon that can be used by West African nations to combat poverty, according to a new United Nations-backed report released today.

The new study – a joint effort by the UN Foundation (UNF), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and the Energy and Security Group – examines bioenergy’s potential in the eight nations of the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA), which comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

“The development, use, and commercialization of bioenergy offer UEMOA member countries vital economic, social, and environmental opportunities for transforming rural areas,” the report noted.

If both produced and consumed locally, it could be a crucial tool used to address poverty, it added.

“However, a strong policy framework at the local, national, and regional levels is required to ensure that these benefits are realized, shared equitably, and that negative impacts are minimized,” the new publication said.

Policies must concentrate on the impact of bioenergy development on food security, the environment and the agricultural production system.

The eight UEMOA nations “possess a rich resource base that can be sustained by a combination of good policies and practices to expand the production of and access to food, fuel, and fibre,” according to the report.

“Undertaking these strategies to improve agriculture and forest productivity, protect watersheds, and produce bioenergy should also strengthen their ability to adapt to climate change.”

ENDS

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