Global Energy Partnership

The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP – provides a mechanism for Partners to organize, coordinate and implement targeted international research, development, demonstration and commercial activities related to production, delivery, conversion and use of biomass for energy, with a focus on developing countries. Founded in 2006, GBEP now includes 23 Partner countries and 13 Partner international organizations. Partner countries are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Mauritania, Mexico, Netherlands, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, United Rep of Tanzania, United Kingdom, and United States of America. GBEP is supported by a secretariat hosted at FAO Headquarters in Rome.

In December 2011, GBEP published The Global Bioenergy Partnership Sustainability Indicators for Bioenergy. This report presents 24 indicators of sustainability regarding the production and use of modern bioenergy, broadly defined. The indicators are:  (1) Life -cycle GHG emissions, (2) Soil quality, (3) Harvest levels of wood resources, (4) Emissions of non-GHG air pollutants including air toxics, (5) Water use and efficiency, (6) Water quality, (7) Biological diversity in the landscape, (8) Land use and land-use change related to bioenergy feedstock production, (9) Allocation and tenure of land for new bioenergy production, (10) Price and supply of a national food basket, (11) Change in income, (12) Jobs in the bioenergy sector, (13) Change in unpaid time spent by women and children collecting biomass, (14) Bioenergy used to expand access to modern energy services, (15) Change in mortality and burden of disease attributable to indoor smoke, (16) Incidence of occupation injury, illness and fatalities, (17) Productivity, (18) Net energy balance, (19) Gross value added, (20) Change in consumption of fossil fuels and traditional use of biomass, (21) Training and re-qualification of the workforce, (22) Energy diversity, (23) Infrastructure and logistics for distribution of bioenergy, and (24) Capacity and flexibility of use of bioenergy.

Following are excerpts from the report’s Executive Summary.

“The production and use of bioenergy is growing in many parts of the world as countries seek to diversify their energy sources in a manner that helps promote economic development, energy security and environmental quality. Modern bioenergy can provide multiple benefits, including promoting rural economic development, increasing household income, mitigating climate change, and providing access to modern energy services. On the other hand, bioenergy can also be associated with risks, such as biodiversity loss, deforestation, additional pressure on water resources, and increased demand for agricultural inputs, land, and commodities. The evaluation of the benefits and challenges of bioenergy production and use should reflect the national context.”

“The GBEP indicators are unique in that they are a product of the only multilateral initiative that has built consensus on the sustainable production and use of bioenergy among a wide range of national governments and international organizations. The indicators are meant to guide analysis at the domestic level and to inform decision-making that encourages the sustainable production and use of bioenergy as a means towards meeting national goals of sustainable development. Measured over time, the indicators will show progress towards or away from a nationally defined sustainable development path. The indicators are value-neutral, do not feature directions, thresholds or limits and do not
constitute a standard, nor are they legally binding. The indicators are intended to inform policy-making and facilitate the sustainable development of bioenergy, and shall not be applied so as to limit trade in bioenergy in a manner inconsistent with multilateral trade obligations.”