Posted on 31 Mar 2021
Charcoal is a vital commodity, used by as much as 80% of the urban population in East Africa as their primary energy source for cooking, and it provides incomes and livelihoods for millions.
But failures to enforce existing regulations and to design better enforcement regimes are a threat to sustainable development. Regulatory blind spots lead to environmental degradation, as trees are unsustainably harvested, and public health costs, linked to indoor pollution. And, as GITOC argues, drawing on new empirical data from Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan, this grey market creates specific corruption, criminality and cartelisation risks.
Drawing on the report’s findings, the discussion will focus on state and civil society responses to illicit activity associated with the charcoal trade and the potential for a more sustainable market.
Dr John Chumo: Secretary, Kenyan National Environmental Complaints Committee
Arthur Owor: Director of the Centre for African Research in Gulu, and Coordinator of ‘Our Trees We Need Answers’ advocacy and pressure group in Northern Uganda
Nyathon Hoth Mai: Program Officer, Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Program at the Sudd Institute, South Sudan
Michael McLaggan: Analyst, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime