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ProBEC exit strategy and beyond 2010
GTZ’s exit strategy from ProBEC was conceived in the last quarter of 2008 and has been in a process of implementation ever since. It consists of the following elements:
- Developing market-based services and creating an enabling environment in which these markets could grow, at member state level;
- Creating sustainable coordination and support structures at regional level;
- Establishment of a carbon facility to continue with ProBEC's work;
The last three years have seen the consolidation of ProBEC activities by embedding them in various types of partner organisations, NGOs and government agencies, and private sector players along the entire value chain. This is where services are actually delivered and is the most important part of the system. A lot of effort has gone into embedding these activities via memorandums of understanding, and identifying and supporting local ProBEC "champions". ProBEC's task has been to assist with the formulation of a champion to take this forward, to carry on with some of the
structures that were created, and that will ensure that partners will continue delivering services even if all other support fails.
Additional sytems that had been developed to support this primary layer include setting up National Advisory Groups (NAG) in each country comprising several interested stakeholders in the energy sector, to guide programme activities. ProBEC has also been developing technical competence of service organisations like local universities. A regional network of academic institutions was formed under the banner of the People’s Energy Network (PEN) which provides training and support to its members to further develop and test improved basic energy products.
At the policy level, there is also scope for promoting the conservation of biomass in the SADC Energy Access Strategy in the future.
ProBEC also introduced a new approach to see how factory finished products can work with the piloting of the StoveTec mass-produced rocket stove imported from China, as opposed to community-based production, which requires a huge investment from ProBEC, including training, design, production and quality control. The idea was to rather take someone else’s mass-produced product and concentrate activities on marketing and promotion. However, generally it appears that such products, while being desirable, are not easy to sell in a demanding market that has a low income.
To address the chronic lack of financial resources allocated to this sector, ProBEC has actively lobbied governments to become more involved and commit fiscal resources to further expand ProBEC activities, supported other donors to provide longer term support to member states bi-laterally, and there is a strong willingness from the donor community to uphold this, but they require clearer signs of ownership from the relevant government ministries.
ProBEC has also facilitated the establishment of a SADC Regional Carbon Facility (SRCF) as a way of positioning biomass stoves in the carbon market and of pioneering the extraction of carbon value for public benefit out of ProBEC’s energy efficiency work. The carbon market has the potential to not only provide another revenue stream for basic energy conservation, but the imperatives of climate change will make biomass a respected renewable energy resource. In Europe, woodfuel is now a desirable product, considered a green energy, and it’s on the brink of a new era. Efforts to develop a carbon facility are an attempt to add value to something considered "valueless”, namely, woodfuel. It is hoped that the money that flows into it from carbon will boost production and marketing. "NewCo" will head the SRCF and will bring a wealth of experience to the region. GTZ will announce the winning bidder in January 2011.
The ProBEC website has a host of useful information that has been collected over the years and before the programme closes much new documentation will be added. The website will be hosted for another 6 months as a repository of stove-related information for use by other projects. ProBEC would like to thank its graphic designers and webhosting company, CZU Studio, for offering to host the site for free for the next 6 months.
While there are differences between countries, as might be expected, the implementation of the exit strategy at member state level has, on the whole, gone very well. This is particularly true for the most important primary level of delivery, the embedding of ProBEC activities in local organisations, and there is little doubt that ProBEC will continue, both in spirit and also in name, after GTZ pulls out.