In Mozambique, Naturvernforbundet is working to promote the use of improved energy solutions for households. The work takes place in cooperation with partners and communities in most provinces in the country. Experiences gained from this work are shared with one another and used in political advocacy work. This will ensure solutions that people can afford and that have the least possible negative impact on the environment and people's livelihoods and health. The emphasis is on improvements related to the production and use of charcoal.
Naturvernforbundet has collaborated with ADEL-Sofala since 2008 on a project called "Local sustainable energy centers in Sofala". From 2010, we have supported the start of the national forum for energy and sustainable development, FEDESMO. In addition to building up FEDESMO and support the forum's activities, we support pilot projects carried out by member organizations, like ADEL-Sofala, KULIMA and Livaningo.
Mozambique has a lot of natural resources. They have, however, come under an increasing pressure, not least the country's large land and forest resources. Both legal and illegal logging for export contributes to a rapid reduction of the forested area, the same with production of charcoal for domestic consumption. Around the biggest cities charcoal production must increasingly be moved into new areas. The distance to the remaining forests has increased from 50 km before 1980 to over 200 km today, and much of the charcoal must be collected even further away. Although energy from biomass accounts for 80% of energy consumption in Mozambique, there is still little attention from governments and other key stakeholders on practical solutions for the poor and improvements of the use of biomass. In 2011, a new national strategy for renewable energy was adopted.
Mozambique adopted in 2011 a new poverty reduction strategy, which states that economic growth in itself is not enough, but that it is necessary to have a development which includes communities that essentially are outside the formal economy. At the same time increasing energy prices have contributed to making conditions worse for many. This strategy focuses clearly on topics which Naturvernforbundet has included in its project, like involvement of local communities, better resource management and organization of both user groups and local resource committees.
Civil society actors have great opportunities to contribute to development in Mozambique, particularly at the local level, where government structures are weak. Mobilization and better organization is essential for most development initiatives. However, also civil society is weak, there are few local and national organizations, and they have limited expertise and resources.
A number of organizations in cooperation with local communities have come up with good examples of local energy planning, with involvement and solutions that people have the opportunity to finance. This work is scattered, and experiences must be collected and streamlined to be scaled up. Many of these organizations have little activity directed towards national politics. On the other side, organizations with stronger lobbying against national authorities have little knowledge of the practical solutions.