Worldwide, an estimated 2.6 billion people –nearly 40% of the global population- depend on traditional biomass for cooking, of which 95% live in Sub-Sahara Africa and developing Asia . In some developing countries biomass accounts for more than 90% of primary energy consumption. While this proportion may decline, it is unlikely that absolute consumption of biomass will decrease over the coming decades due to population growth and urbanisation. Urbanisation is associated with a transition from firewood use to charcoal use, resulting in lower overall efficiencies and therefore higher primary consumption. In spite of government policies aimed at substitution, it is unlikely that alternative fuels (such as kerosene, LPG or electricity) will offset the increasing demand for biomass energy for cooking because of its affordability and availability, especially in rural areas.
In 2011, EUEI PDF published in cooperation with GIZ Programme HERA the Biomass Energy Strategy Guide, with the objective of providing a methodology to improve the biomass energy sector governance Guide was based on experience of EUEI PDF and GIZ in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nepal and Sierra Leone. Even though this guide is largely built on experience in Africa, it has relevance beyond Africa and the methodology can be applied in all countries where biomass is the main fuel for households and small enterprises. Between 2011 and 2013, EUEI PDF has used this methodology in country projects in Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Sierra Leone. The lessons learnt during the application of the methodology have led to the revision of the guide, which is now published as the Biomass Energy Sector Planning (BEST) Guide
The BEST Guide recognises the importance of governance of the biomass energy sector and provides a methodology for developing more efficient cross-sectoral management structures. The development of efficient management structures for the biomass energy sector requires coordination between stakeholders from different sectors, agreement on a shared goal, reliable sector data, awareness of trends and the development of an action plan to improve
governance of the sector. This Guide provides practical, step-by-step guidance to facilitate these processes.
The Guide can be used by stakeholders in government institutions to develop efficient and coordinated ways to manage the biomass energy sector. Such institutions may include ministries and government agencies responsible for energy, forestry, gender, lands, environmental protection, rural development and agriculture. It can be also be used by civil society and donors as a tool for raising awareness of the biomass sector within government and prompting action to improve its management.