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Comillas supports The Clean Cooking Declaration for Africa in Paris

It is the only Spanish university to sign the Clean Cooking Declaration, which will protect the environment, climate, health and guarantee gender equality


21 May 2024

Comillas Pontifical University has been the only Spanish university to participate in a high-level summit held in Paris and focused on providing access to resources for clean and sustainable cooking to more than 1 billion people in Africa. Comillas was also the only university in Spain to sign the Clean Cooking Declaration along with more than 100 countries, international institutions, companies and civil society organisations, which committed to make the issue a priority and to improve efforts to achieve universal access for all.

The Africa Clean Cookstove Summit was an unprecedented initiative that addresses a challenge that affects more than 2 billion people worldwide. More than half are in Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, where cooking over open fires and basic cookers is common. Using charcoal, wood, agricultural waste and animal dung as fuel, they inhale toxic fumes that are fatal to their health. It is not for nothing that this is the second leading cause of premature death in Africa, especially among women and children. As a result, opportunities for education, employment and independence are limited because women instead spend hours each day foraging for rudimentary fuels.

"Progress in many African countries has lagged significantly behind what has been seen in other regions in recent decades. Today's summit is the first time such a large amount has been devoted to access to clean cooking in a single meeting, with the potential to make 2024 a turning point in a problem that has been overlooked for too long," said spokespersons for the summit, which also saw the launch of an action plan.

Fernando de Cuadra, lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Comillas ICAI, the only Spaniard present at the Summit, said that "successfully advancing the clean cooking agenda in Africa would contribute to protecting the environment, climate, health and ensuring gender equality. This Summit underlines our commitment to advance this agenda and provide a framework towards the universal adoption of clean cooking fuels and technologies across the continent".

International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said, "We still have a long way to go, but the outcome of this summit can help support fundamental rights such as health, gender equality and education, while reducing emissions and restoring forests.

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