Liberal Democrat International Development Minister Baroness Northover has announced that Britain has joined global action and pledged £31m to help prevent millions of people dying from illnesses linked to cooking over coal, wood, dung or biomass stoves.
Figures from the World Health Organisation show that every year year 4.3m people die from illnesses caused by exposure to household air pollution.
This is more than the number of people dying from Aids, malaria or tuberculosis combined. Women and girls are particularly at risk.
Speaking at the Global Alliance of Clean Cookstoves summit in New York, Baroness Northover called on the private sector to step-up their commitment to creating a commercially sustainable global market-place for clean, efficient and affordable cooking devices.
She announced that the UK is investing £31 million to support the development of the sector to prevent people developing illnesses such as pneumonia, strokes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
Lindsay Northover said:
“Millions of people are needlessly dying just through the basic act of cooking. Only by generating easy access to affordable, clean and efficient cooking devices will this end.
“A thriving commercially viable marketplace is vital to deliver the sustainable and universal access to clean cooking technologies and fuels needed. With 2.7 billon people relying on open fires and traditional biomass stoves to prepare their food, the market potential for change is huge and the impact we can have on people’s lives is just as big.”
The Department for International Development will also today sign a letter of shared intent with Marks & Spencer to help women and girls access clean energy and improve their health. This forms part of a wider partnership agreement between the two organisations to work together on shared priority themes including economic development.
Women and girls in developing countries can spend hours each day collecting firewood to cook on potentially taking them away from the safety of their homes. This is time they could spend at school or at work earning an income for themselves or their families.