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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Forging Ahead with the United States' Commitment to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

September 21, 2012


In September 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson helped launch the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (the Alliance) at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. This innovative partnership is led by the United Nations Foundation with a mission to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean, safe, and efficient household cooking solutions.

The U.S government has worked closely with the Alliance to promote a more efficient, effective cookstoves sector by making a variety of significant, targeted commitments. As of September 2012, the U.S. commitment to this sector as a partner to the Alliance is valued at up to $114 million over the first five years of the Alliance1—a commitment that encompasses investments in research (e.g., health, technology, adoption, gender, climate), financing, and field implementation efforts to bring clean stoves and fuels to families. To date, more than 10 U.S. agencies have invested $45.36 million and all are on track to meet or exceed their original commitment.

Today, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has grown to over 400 partners, including 36 countries. As the Alliance moves into its 3rd year, it will implement action plans in 6 priority countries; catalyze private investment into the sector, advance priority research, and much more. The Alliance is better poised than ever to meet its ambitious goal of having 100 million homes adopt clean cooking by 2020.


Secretary Clinton has led a wide range of diplomatic activities to advance the Alliance and the cookstoves sector—all with a focus of improving women’s and children’s lives around the world. Diplomatic efforts to date include actively engaging a wide range of new Alliance country and private sector partners, integrating cookstoves into diplomatic efforts to promote women’s empowerment, leveraging U.S. media outreach activities to bring attention to this issue and the Alliance, and strategizing and working with U.S. embassies abroad to support Alliance activities, with a particular focus on emerging priority countries of the Alliance.


Approximately 2 million people die every year from cookstove smoke, and millions more suffer from serious illness and burns. The United States is leading efforts to research and evaluate the health benefits of reducing exposure to cookstove smoke. These efforts include major multi-year trials to quantify the health benefits of clean stoves, as well as new field studies to evaluate exposure benefits of a range of different stoves and fuels. We are also supplementing several existing health studies targeting other topics with funding to integrate cookstoves research. Central to this work is training for the health research community on cookstoves and household air pollution, including the disproportionate impacts on women and girls. In addition, the establishment of a state-of-the-art cookstoves testing laboratory, as well as field testing in multiple countries, will all allow for much greater transparency in stove/fuel performance around metrics that determine health impacts. These investments will in turn pave the way for larger health intervention studies that are needed to demonstrate the potentially enormous health benefits from reducing exposure to cookstove smoke around the world.

NET COMMITMENT | $27.7 million over 5 years


PARTICIPATING AGENCIES | Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), State Department, HHS/Office of Global Affairs


Burning solid fuels like wood, coal, and agricultural waste contributes to climate change by releasing carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane; wood harvesting can also lead to deforestation, reducing carbon uptake by forests. The U.S. is helping to ensure integration of cookstoves into efforts to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, including the Climate and Clean Air Coalition which Secretary Clinton launched in February 2012. The U.S. has also begun to invest in research to better understand how cookstove interventions could affect climate change, to quantify climate-forcing emissions from cookstoves in both laboratory and field settings, and to evaluate and assess the climate benefits of black carbon emission reductions. U.S. agencies are also lending their expertise to help build scientific research, monitoring and analysis capacity in partner countries and organizations.

NET COMMITMENT | $3.8 million over 5 years


PARTICIPATING AGENCIES | EPA, State Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Technology and Fuels

While today’s best solutions offer enormous potential benefits over traditional cookstoves, extremely clean stoves and fuels are likely needed to truly transform kitchens and improve lives. The U.S. government is leading research to develop advanced, innovative cookstove designs and tools that allow users to burn wood or crop residues more efficiently and cleanly, thereby lessening the negative health, environmental, and economic impacts of traditional cooking practices. The U.S. government is also supporting small businesses in the United States that are developing innovative new stove, fuel, and monitoring technologies that could lead to major new developments in this sector. The United States is a leader in laboratory and field testing of cookstoves; this testing is critical to quantifying and verifying the actual performance of cookstoves, as well as to helping manufacturers improve their designs. The U.S. government has also: helped field test emerging technologies; played a central role in the international process to establish the first-ever interim guidelines/standards for the cookstoves sector; and leant its technical expertise to understand the many policy issues related to clean fuels such as ethanol, biomass pellets, and biochar.

NET COMMITMENT | $18.3 million over 5 years


PARTICIPATING AGENCIES | Department of Energy, EPA, CDC, USAID, Department of Agriculture

Adoption Research

Since technologies are only effective when used, the United States is also investing heavily in efforts to understand and promote sustained adoption of clean stoves, with a broader overarching goal of developing evidence-based, practical approaches to scaling-up and sustaining these interventions. This work involves a variety of efforts to: understand how women use stoves and what roles they can play in stove production, marketing and sales; define the behavioral interventions that maximize the health benefits of clean cookstoves; assess consumer needs, preferences and willingness to pay for clean cookstoves; determine the acceptability to consumers of today’s improved cookstoves; and identify and overcome barriers to consumer access by developing new marketing and distribution channels and conducting randomized controlled trials assessing different marketing strategies. United States training for health researchers on the social dimensions of clean cooking will ensure that adoption issues are thoughtfully woven into future health research.

NET COMMITMENT | $6.7 million over 5 years




As clean cookstoves and fuels businesses ramp up the scale of their manufacturing, sales, and distribution, they will need to access a wide variety of financing tools along the whole value chain of their businesses. The U.S. government has made a major commitment to provide debt financing or insurance that meet set credit and investment policy standards to support businesses that provide clean, consistent, and affordable access to energy and energy savings through the manufacture, sale, and purchase of clean cookstoves and fuels. The United States is exploring additional approaches to develop other financing tools which could be applied to the cookstoves sector, as well as catalyze private-sector lending.

NET COMMITMENT | up to $50 million over 5 years


PARTICIPATING AGENCIES | Overseas Private Investment Corporation, USAID

Bringing Clean Cooking To Families

The United States is engaged in a variety of activities to build cookstoves markets that can sustainably bring clean and efficient cooking solutions to families around the globe. In June 2012, the U.S. government formally integrated the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA, a forerunner of the Alliance launched in 2002) into the Alliance. PCIA partners reported selling more than 4 million cookstoves in 2011, improving the lives of 20 million people. The U.S. government has invested in activities to develop an efficient stove market in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, as well as other efforts that seek to: source, produce, and sell energy efficient cookstoves and fuel in urban areas in Nigeria; provide small grants for U.S. embassies to support Alliance activities in priority countries; and promote economic growth from energy efficiency and improved air quality in Mongolia via an ongoing major market-based heating stove investment (launched prior to the Alliance). The U.S. government also supports provision of cookstoves in humanitarian settings, including providing 30,000 stoves to drought and conflict-affected women and their families in the Horn of Africa impacting an estimated total of 200,000 individuals.

NET COMMITMENT | $10.6 million over 5 years


PARTICIPATING AGENCIES | USAID, EPA, State Department, Millennium Challenge Corporation


“It’s about poverty, it’s about the underserved, it’s about people living in conditions one decade into the 21st century that are not that different than a few centuries ago. This is in many ways the ultimate environmental justice issue.”

- Lisa Jackson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

‘‘The benefits from this initiative will be cleaner and safer homes, and that will, in turn, ripple out for healthier families, stronger communities, and more stable societies...This could be as transformative as bed nets or even vaccines.’’

- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

“The NIH-funded RESPIRE study in Guatemala shows that dramatic reductions in exposures are needed—in the range of 90 percent—to reduce severe life-threatening pneumonia in children. We expect that new stoves and fuels that provide such reductions would save millions of lives.”

- Francis Collins, Director, U.S. National Institutes of Health

“We are not attempting to parachute in stoves and leave but rather fostering a means for bringing jobs, better health outcomes, and an increased standard of living through the creation of new clean cookstove companies, projects, and opportunities.”

- Radha Muthiah, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

 To learn more about the GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR CLEAN COOKSTOVES, please visit

1 All future investments subject to appropriations

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