Cookstoves expert from Bolivia, Cambodia, China, India, Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda recently met in Beijing at the China Agricultural University from November 1st to 8th, 2014. The “Clean Future – Clean combustion technology and its application for rural households" offered a senior training program to gather 23 experts including the StovePlus Lead Technical Advisor.

Experts are part of the South-South Sustainable Stove Group (S4G), an initiative established by “cookstove practitioners of southern countries”. The training was an important starting point for China and all represented countries, where its people relying on biomass burning cookstoves, to move forward. The result of the training workshop will be an important modality for the University to establish an exchange platform including a research facility for this South South collaboration. China Agricultural University is expecting to get financial and political support from the China Government.

The China Agricultural University explains that their goal is to "establish a stove-neutral, scientifically validated, conceptual sound, culturally aware, replicable method of evaluation well-suited to the regulation of stove products reaching consumers in developing countries."

China has a long history with cookstoves programs. It started to introduce devices in 1982 and has spread 129 million cookstoves to rural areas (biomass, coal, space heating) in ten years.

" (…) 90% of all cookstoves distributed globally in the 80s were in China; (…) more than 2/3 were still in use as of 1993; R&D conducted at the national, provincial, and county levels; the Chinese program has not only been largest, but also has been the most cost effective (15% of total stove program cost)" (Smith, 1993) 1

Concretely, the senior training program aimed to implement a platform for scientists in the context of the South-South cooperation. Gathering direct input for the sector to move forward getting more experience and knowledge from different continents and from different senior experts. Developing methodologies, concepts and frameworks which are considered more appropriate to the context will be their main activity.

Improving the different tests in use in the cookstove sector is one of the spearhead of this senior training program. The Water Boiling Test (WBT), Adapted Water Boiling Test (AWBT) and the Heterogeneous Testing Protocol (HTP) are the three main tests used by the cookstove actors.

All around this topic, the attendees discussed methods, principles and standardizations and put in application their stove testing protocols to be more conceptually appropriate.

The next step is to implement the utilities for testing and research to collect data and improve existing devices and methods to strengthen and improve the sector.