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New database aims to help build the future of clean household energy policy

Almost one-third of the world’s population doesn’t have access to clean, efficient energy sources for cooking. A team of SEI scientists hopes to help tackle the problem with better policies.

Lynsi Burton / Published on 30 September 2021

Nearly 1 in 3 people in the world – mostly in the Global South – don’t have access to modern and clean sources of energy for cooking and heating, instead using fuels such as wood, kerosene and charcoal.

These polluting fuels kill roughly 4 million people each year with related illnesses and are a leading source of carbon emissions, according to the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA).

SEI scientists are addressing the problem.

“Over the years, it’s become quite apparent that you need to tackle this with big policies,” said SEI Senior Scientist Rob Bailis. You can’t just throw money at it.”

African woman cooking food over wood-burning fire, Nanyuki, Kenya

Kenyan woman cooks on an open wood fire. Photo: Ton Koene / Alamy.

Bailis and SEI colleagues Fiona Lambe, Emily Ghosh and Anisha Nazareth collaborated with members of the Air Quality and Health team at the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a repository of policies promoting increased access to clean fuels and technologies for household cooking, heating and lighting. The main objective is to provide policymakers and advocates with a simple and accessible source of information they can use to compare their own existing policies and support the development of new ones.

SEI, together with WHO, CCA and Health and Energy Platform of Action (HEPA), unveiled the Household Energy Policy Repository on 29 September 2021 for a virtual audience of stakeholders.

The repository currently features over 120 policies and 30 evaluations from more than 30 countries, all in a searchable online tool. The content of the repository was assembled using a combination of web scraping software, academic search engines, and expert consultations.

Bailis hopes that people will “use the knowledge contained in the repository to help inform better policies moving forward.”

It’s intended to be a living tool for users, who are invited to add existing evaluations and policies that the team may have overlooked as well as new policies that are implemented over time.

To access the repository, learn more or submit new evaluations and policies, visit

Watch a presentation on the Repository


Profile picture of Rob Bailis
Rob Bailis

Senior Scientist


Fiona Lambe
Fiona Lambe

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

2018 portrait of Emily Ghosh
Emily Ghosh



Anisha Nazareth
Anisha Nazareth

Associate Scientist


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