The Secretariat of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), launched
at the 14th Session of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development
in May 2006 in New York to promote the use of bioenergy, opened
for business this week.
Located at FAO headquarters and supported by the Italian Ministry
for the Environment, Land and Sea, the Secretariat’s mandate
is to facilitate a global political forum to promote bioenergy
and to encourage the production, marketing and use of “green” fuels,
with particular focus on developing countries.
The Secretariat will be the principal coordinator of Partnership
communications and activities and will assist international exchanges
of know-how and technology, promote supportive policy frameworks
and identify ways of fostering investments and removing barriers
to the development and implementation of joint projects.
In the short term, the Secretariat will update the inventory of
existing networks, initiatives and institutions dealing with bioenergy
and identify any gaps in knowledge. It will also assist the Partners
in identifying and implementing bilateral and multilateral projects
for sustainable bioenergy development and support the formulation
of guidelines for measuring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
due to the use of biofuels.
Renewable energy sources
The Partnership’s overall aim is to respond to the growing
need to develop renewable energy sources in the light of high oil
prices, global warming and concerns about diminishing fossil fuel
FAO has always actively promoted biofuels as a means of reducing
poverty while producing clean, low-cost energy. Given the right
technologies, an abundant energy supply could be tapped by converting
biomass such as crop residues, grass, straw and brushwood into
fuel, while crops like sugar cane, corn and soybeans are already
being used to produce ethanol or bio-diesel.
“We are happy that FAO was chosen to host the GBEP Secretariat,” said
Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General for Sustainable
Development. “Its presence will stimulate us to continue
helping governments and institutions formulate appropriate bioenergy
policies and strategies.”
“We hope the creation of a Global Bioenergy Partnership
will help reduce current dependency on oil. Over the next decades,
we will most probably see bioenergy providing an increasing amount
of the world’s energy needs, but we need to assure that this
is done in a sustainable manner. Positive synergies between GBEP
and FAO’s International Bioenergy Platform (IBEP) will contribute
to an expanded and sustainable role of biofuels,” said Müller.
Italy and Mexico were respectively appointed as Chair and Vice-Chair
of GBEP’s Steering Committee for the next two years.
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