As the number of refugees and displaced people grows, the pressure on forests due to rising demand for biomass fuel is increasing.
Photo: © Ollivier Girard/CIFOR/Flickr.com.

New tool to make access to woodfuel in displacement settings easier

According to this report, fuel for cooking food is not only a critical resource for displaced people but also for the communities that host them. It is also crucial to their food security and nutrition.

Assessing woodfuel supply and demand in displacement settings“ is a FAO-UNHCR handbook  which offers a new tool for helping displaced people access fuel for cooking food,  while reducing environmental damage and conflicts with local communities. 

According to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, at the end of 2015 over 65 million people worldwide were displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, generalised violence or human rights violations, many living in refugee camps or improvised settlements. These people according to the report need a reliable and sustainable acess to fuel.

However, as the number of refugees and displaced people grows, this often puts pressure on forests due to rising demand for biomass fuel such as wood and charcoal. Left unmanaged, this increased competition for natural resources can lead to conflicts with local populations.

The new technical handbook released in July 2016 therefore contains a methodology that humanitarian workers and camp managers can use when tackling such issues. It also outlines a step by step process for assessing energy needs and the nature and availability of local fuelwood sources and using geographic information system and remote sensing data to map the distribution and changes over time of woody biomass resources.

(FAO/UNHCR/ob)

Download report

Photo source:Flickr.com/ CIFOR