16 December 2009

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, at World Food Programme Event, Hails Fuel-Efficient Stoves

as Critical in Efforts to Reduce Air Pollution, Environmental Degradation

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the World Food Programme (WFP) “Safe Stoves” event in Copenhagen today, 16 December:

I am delighted to join you at this “Safe Stoves” event, sponsored by WFP and several UN partners.

We are here in Copenhagen to work for a global agreement that goes into effect immediately and delivers real results to people on the frontlines of climate change.

A safe stove performs double duty by addressing both the causes and consequences of climate change.  A fuel-efficient stove requires significantly less firewood, which means preserving trees and reducing emissions, including black carbon.  Fuel-efficient stoves like this are a critical step towards reducing air pollution and environmental degradation.

They also provide immediate, tangible benefits to their users.  Smoke and particle inhalation cause millions of respiratory infections each year.  Women and girls often travel great distances collect firewood.  They are at risk of attacks, robbery and rape.  As woodland declines, they are forced to travel further, increasing the hazard.  Women using fuel-efficient stoves in North Darfur have seen a 50 per cent reduction in the need to collect firewood.

The Safe Stoves project shows a virtuous circle in action, thanks to technology -- environmental protection, improved safety for women, access to clean energy for the poor, enhanced climate security.

I am very pleased to see WFP, in partnership with UNHCR, FAO and UNEP, “delivering as one”.  Safe stoves is a simple, inexpensive and win-win solution.  It shows the UN system on the move, delivering results that protect lives and promise a safer, greener future for all.

Thank you very much.

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For information media • not an official record