Guatemala will contribute to mitigate climate change with efficient use of firewood

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GUATEMALA CITY — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved US$12.98 million in nonreimbursable financing to help Guatemala lessen greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector through reductions in consumption and efficient use of firewood.

The resources, which will be managed by the IDB, proceed from the NAMA Facility, a climate finance program that supports Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions established by the European Union and the governments of Germany, the United Kingdom, and Denmark.

The program will help lower barriers that limit the production and mass use of improved stoves and facilitate access to financing for the manufacture and procurement of these devices.

Guatemala is currently Central America’s largest per capita consumer of firewood, which accounts for 56 percent of the energy matrix and for about 40 percent of the country’s total CO2 emissions. According to official figures, roughly 1.78 million households, or 54.4 percent of the country’s population, use firewood for cooking.

The program will create an improved stove market that will benefit rural and indigenous communities throughout the country. Guatemala’s indigenous people, who are concentrated in rural areas, account for 56.6 percent of the country’s total population, and 77.8 percent of them live in poverty. The program will benefit some 1.1 million people nationwide (225,000 households), of whom 600,000 are women.

The project will implement a promotion strategy for the use of improved stoves and provide training for their proper use and maintenance. It will also launch a program to teach women, who are more exposed to smoke during meal preparation, to repair and maintain the stoves.

In addition, the program will implement a credit guarantee plan for voluntary purchases of more than 176,000 stoves by low-income families living in rural areas, and will provide credit guarantees for local manufacturers that develop a business plan.

These measures will prevent the extraction of more than 600,000 tons of firewood and help families save on the cost of kindling and on health-related expenses. Furthermore, the program is expected to help reduce the energy sector’s CO2 emissions.

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