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2 Dec 2019 | News

Promoting climate-smart livelihoods in the Far-Eastern Himalayan Landscape

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Representatives of local governments, communities, ICIMOD, and GEI pose for a photograph with villagers during the stove-distribution event.

On 9 November 2019, representatives from ICIMOD’s Far-Eastern Himalayan Landscape Initiative (HI-LIFE), UNDP, and the Global Environmental Institute (GEI) delivered 115 customized semi-gasification energy-saving stoves across four villages in Fugong County, Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture in Northwest Yunnan, China.

The stoves were distributed as part of a larger GEF-SGP funded project entitled “Promoting Climate-smart Livelihood Space among Mountain Communities in Nujiang Valley, Northwest Yunnan,” which is being implemented in the core Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northwest Yunnan, China adjacent to eastern Tibet and Myanmar.

Representatives from local government agencies, media, project communities, the stove manufacturing company, ICIMOD, and GEI jointly held a distribution ceremony in Wangjidu Village, Fugong County. On behalf of the local government, Chenwei Tian, Deputy Director of Fugong County Forestry and Grassland Bureau, first expressed appreciation to ICIMOD and GEI for bringing this project to Fugong. Further, Tian expressed hope that through this project, more enterprises and organizations would know Fugong better and collectively build a harmonious, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable county. Rongkun Liu of ICIMOD and Kui Peng of GEI, together on behalf of the project implementors, briefed participants about the project, thanked the local governments and communities for their support, and noted that they looked forward to carrying out other livelihood promotion activities in the upcoming months.

After the ceremony, a technician from the stove manufacturing company demonstrated the energy-saving characteristics of the stoves and related procedures such as assembling and use.
Designed with the local Lisu people’s cultural preferences and fire use habits in mind, these stoves will replace traditional hearth-free open fire pits used for heating and cooking, which are characterized by low combustion efficiency, high demand for firewood, high carbon emissions, and high demand for labour and time. The new stoves use semi-gasification and secondary combustion technology to reduce firewood consumption and improve indoor air quality among local households. Their use will optimize hygiene and social environment in kitchens, improving the health and labour intensity of rural residents, especially women and children, who spend most of their time in the kitchen, and preserving the social space function of fire pits, closely tied to cultural traditions.

In addition to distributing stoves, the project team also held consultations with local villagers and community leaders about how to promote livelihood diversification, considering that all four villages are mostly dependent on cardamom plantations, which could be unsustainable and unstable in the future due to climate change and market fluctuations. In the following months, the project team will work with participating villages to design multidimensional agroforestry demonstration sites, developing community-based eco-tourism, and carry out workshops on climate change adaptation and sustainable natural resource management. These activities will be actively linked with the existing China–Myanmar border friendly village platform to promote transboundary biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management, and livelihoods development in the Far-Eastern Himalayan region.

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An energy-saving stove 3
1. A technician elaborates on the energy-saving characteristics of the customized semi-gasification stove during a demonstration. 2. ICIMOD and GEI consulting with local communities to plan follow-up activities 3. Comparison: An energy-saving stove (top right) and a traditional fire pit (bottom left).

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