The US State Department said Wednesday that Chef Jose Andres is joining the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves as “Culinary Ambassador,” helping to raise awareness of an issue that causes nearly two million deaths each year: toxic smoke from traditional cooking stoves.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who launched the Alliance last year, met Wednesday with Chef Andres to thank him for his commitment and discuss their mutual interest and determination to bring clean cooking solutions to the developing world.
According to the State Department, in his new role, Chef Andres, alongside Secretary Clinton, the United Nations Foundation, and a rapidly growing list of over 160 other Alliance partners, will be instrumental in achieving the Alliance’s ‘100 by 20’ goal, which calls for 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020.
“Chef Andres’ passion for economic and social empowerment through sustainable, safe and clean cooking practices in the developing world has few rivals. After witnessing the impact of dirty cooking conditions while assisting in post-earthquake humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti, Chef Andres formed World Central Kitchen to deploy clean and innovative cooking solutions throughout the developing world,” the State Department said.
Every day, nearly 3 billion people use a crude stove or open fire to cook their meals – typically fueled by biomass such as wood, charcoal or dung – in homes with poor or no ventilation. Exposure to smoke from these stoves has been categorized by the World Health Organization as the fifth biggest health risk factor in the developing world and causes two million people to die each year, mostly from acute pneumonia and chronic lung disease. The vast majority of deaths are among women and children in the developing world.
According to the State Department, encouraging the development and use of clean cookstoves in cultures, communities, and countries throughout the developing world is consistent with the core principles of U.S. foreign policy and development efforts, which focus on improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
In September 2010, Secretary Clinton announced the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. The U.S. Government has committed more than $50 million over the first five years to the Alliance.