Vietnam’s Biogas Programme for the Animal Husbandry Sector has received the Humanitarian Award at the World Energy Forum (WEF) in Dubai.
A partnership between the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, with support from the Dutch government, the biogas programme has improved the lives of more than 650,000 people across Vietnam in the last 10 years – increasing incomes, improving family health and reducing carbon emissions.
This is the third international award the programme has received, following the Energy Globe Award in 2006 and the Ashden Award in 2010.
In announcing the award, the WEF stressed the humanitarian value of the biogas programme, emphasising its capacity to improve the livelihoods and quality of life of low-income, rural people by effectively leveraging the social, economic and environmental benefits of biogas and bio-slurry to develop a commercially viable and sustainable biogas sector.
Accepting the award, MARD Deputy Director for Livestock Production, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Duong, said the international recognition gained by the programme had given the programme team further motivation to ensure more Vietnamese people would benefit from biogas in the years to come.
“The benefits are very real,” Mr. Duong said. “I will never forget the smile on a farmer’s face when she first lights her biogas powered cooking stove.”
A household-sized biogas digester, which has an average cost of US$ 500, assists enhancing rural livelihoods by offering a clean renewable energy source (biogas) for cooking and lighting. Its residue, bio-slurry, is a valuable organic fertiliser, providing further economic benefits to users. As biogas is a clean-burning fuel, families enjoy strongly reduced levels of indoor air pollution. Women and children in particular benefit from the investment, as they are responsible for cleaning pots, attending the stove and collecting firewood, which now require less time. By substituting clean-burning gas for firewood, biogas reduces deforestation, while the bio-slurry improves soil fertility by closing local nutrient cycles. In addition, biogas installations contribute to mitigating global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
With over 120,000 digesters now built around the country, activities in 52 provinces and 1,400 micro-enterprises and 860 quality controllers trained, this pioneering partnership has created a commercially viable US$ 100 million green industry, improved the lives of more than 650,000 people and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 550,000 tonnes per year.
The WEF is a high-level event with over 11 presidents and 21 heads of state attending to create a global conversation on the world energy situation. During the conference the UN also launched World Energy Day, which will take place on the 22nd of October annually.
Dagmar Zwebe, Programme Leader Renewable Energy, SNV Vietnam