22 June - 2017, 5:57 pm

Summary of ICS Regional Knowledge Sharing Workshop


ICS Regional Knowledge Sharing Workshop, 18-20 August 2014 at Hotel Himalaya, Kathmandu Nepal has been one important intervention in bringing together the south Asian Cookstoves testers and related stakeholders to discuss on the issues of biomass cookstoves testing and setting up the ground for the outline of the ISO TC 285 Field Testing Guidance Document (Working Group III). It was participated by about 13 expert delegates from the region and about 45 from Nepal. The first day inauguration and policy session in general was participated by over 80 participants specially the people from related ministries of Government of Nepal and associated stakeholders including colleagues from RTKCs from China, India, Cambodia and invitees from Bhutan, The World Bank representatives, Clean Energy Development Bank, GIZ among others organization in Nepal.  The remaining two days were with the specific testing centers and closely related stakeholders.

Participants at the workshop
The Nepalese policy makers on the first day - inauguration session spoke about the context and its importance especially in Nepal with their commitments for providing friendly environments regarding ICS promotions by generating national and international cooperation’s. The need for updated, firsthand data availability on ICS and related Indoor Air pollution was highly emphasized and was committed by Nepal Planning commission Vice Chair Prof. Dr. Govind Raj Pokhrel (chief guest of the event) to incorporate these issues seriously in the upcoming plans.
The second session, the policy session was related to understanding the ICS and standardization policies/practices of China, India and Nepal. The success and failures of some policies in India, Nepal and China were highlighted with updates on the status of their existing policies/testing standard activities.
Participants at the workshop
It was then followed by the panel discussion on “Development Partner’s Perspectives on ICS Programmes and ICS Testing Issues”. Panel Consisted of the representatives of The World bank, USA, UNDP Bhutan, SNV Nepal,  ENERGIA The Neatherlands and SE4ALL UNDP Nepal. The discussion was based on the pre-framed questions such as:  theorganization's definition of program effectiveness; main criteria in choosing stoves for the program; What priority is given to tested stoves and which metrics do they use.. (efficiency, air quality…); perception on user acceptance through stove testing results.. If laboratory performance was significantly different from field performance, would that make a difference to the program's decisions.. etc.. The overall impression was that there is still lack of well-coordinated evaluation modalities for the cookstoves programmes and need to have one that addresses the needs of all the players – donors, ground users, implementers, policy people etc. Different Organizations has their own way of evaluating effectiveness while the test methods and results have not been considered seriously.
 
Participants at the workshop
The following session was based on Sharing Testing Experiences by 4 RTKCs (Nepal, India, China, Cambodia) – purposes/methods/results/ relationship with ISO IWA/ How do they support National Policies.. were some of the topics of presentations and discussions. Role of key parameters and standard units for evaluation of biomass cookstoves was presented along with Nepal Benchmarks of Clean Cookstoves were also presented on the same session. The testing experiences from the RTKC’s depicted the importance of Quality Assurance as one of the important aspect that has not yet been taken care seriously. Both the lab tests and field test are essential for the cookstoves programmes as well as Research and Development of technology, but there should be a mechanism to link up field test and lab test results. Question of durability testing was unanswered.
 
Panel Discussion
The late afternoon session dealt with Group Breakouts into five, each with 7-10 people to discussion on Integrating Stakeholders Perspectives on National Policy Framework. Each group contained development partners, RTKC representatives, policy makers. Each came up with certain issues to share as an outcome of their discussions at the end. The overall impression of the group discussion was that every programmes are to compliment national policies while there still exists gaps in between the international programmes and national policies specially in Nepal. National Policies needs more reviews to make it flexible to the private  sectors.
 
The Day two Sessions were based on the field testing issues- began with sharing on Field Testing Experience – methods used; results obtained; use of results by 4 testing centers and followed by group discussions on : Field Testing Protocols -  Do we have all the protocols we need? How can we gain confidence that field performance reflects design performance? The general outcome was that we do not have a concrete protocol that address all the needs and need one that has it all. Linking the lab results with field has been a long standing issues with the presently available/followed field testing methods. Incorporating user acceptance, durability would add to the field testing guidelines to be worked on in future. Certain projects with CDM requires just efficiencies of stoves in the field where WBTs in the field has been the basis. The issue is the efficiencies in the lab and field using same protocol gives  significant variations and we need to address this issue in the protocols as well. These were some of the issues being raised including others.
Panel Discussion
 
Another discussion was based on the ‘performance and usage metrics to be examined in the field’. Programme needs and user acceptance were important parameters to be included while the performance matrices should have easily comparable units and identities.  The last discussion topic of the day was on structure of writing Field Testing guidance document for ISO TC 285 Working Group III- with questions to answer such as: what facets are required? Who can participate? Etc. It took quite some time to let people know what is going on in the ISO TC 285 and the next WG meeting in Guatemala. And then the issues of field information as required depending on the programme/project scope were raised.
 
Day three sessions began with presentations incorporating Strength, Weakness, Challenges, and Opportunities of Stoves Testing. Five testing centers presented opening discussion questions to the floor. Some of the important issue rose regarding the topics were the GACC supported RTKC have been well capacitated for conducting tests while the sustainability issue has been overlooked. Especially in the developing countries people/stoves entrepreneurs are not willing to get their stoves tested unless they are required by the programmes or projects. R & D has not been so much emphasized by the programmes/projects but need to be done that can be one of the means of sustainability to RTKC.   The challenges incorporating calibration issue was important one where the equipments and instruments available in the neighboring countries like India would reduce this problem to some extent.
 
Group works at the workshop
The following session was associated with the in fractures for ICS Design and Testing Quality Assurance and clearifying the concept of Round Robin Testing initiated by GACC. The infrastructure for Stove Development units was shared by RTKCs having the separate unit for development of stoves. The Round Robbin Testing by GACC was clarified to the participants and views discussed on this initiatives urging all the testing centres to participate. 
 
The closing sessions was followed by RTKC lab visit by international participants and then closing reception dinner.
 
Overall the feedbacks from the participants were encouraging and way forward for building on collaboration among the South Asian RTKCs and other development partners. It was commonly agreed that knowledge sharing activities as such should be organized periodically so that everyone could be aware of the developments of each other and position themselves in the pool that could help further development of the sector. Programme Effectiveness needs to be well defined with appropriate modalities and methods.

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