Now housewives’ cooking methods catch UN’s attention

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Experts from across the world deliberate on different cooking modules and how old and unsafe cooking equipment are affecting health of women

Sharat K Verma

New Delhi, The Hush Post: Have you ever wondered how simple cooking by women folk can help achieve some of the targets of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are to be met with by 2030 as UN’s comprehensive plan of transforming the world by then?

The 17 SDGs and 169 targets of the UN are a bold, universal agreement to end poverty in all its dimensions and to craft an equal, just and secure world for the people and our planet by 2030. In this direction, cooking holds more significance than just preparing a meal, as more than 3 billion people worldwide (out of them 800 million people in India) are dependent on food cooked over open fires or with heavily-polluting solid fuels like wood, charcoal, animal dung, causing widespread impacts to health, climate, women’s empowerment, and the environment.

The Clean Cooking Forum-2017 held in New Delhi last week listed cooking method to achieve the SDGs. Over 600 experts and professionals from 57 countries attended the largest gathering to discuss and hear global voices on the issue. Experts from across the world deliberated on the different cooking modules and how old and unsafe cooking equipment are affecting health of women in different countries, especially the developing and under-developed ones.

The Clean Cooking Forum-2017 held in New Delhi last week listed cooking methods to achieve the SDGs. Over 600 experts and professionals from 57 countries attended it.

Dr Thomas Clasen from Emory University of the United States stated the orthodox and old methods of cooking result in low oxygen level among women which result in their poor health as more hours in kitchens with such cooking equipment causes less inhalation of oxygen.

Dr Tanu Jain, assistant director general of Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, while participating in one of the sessions, stated that of the total 51 per cent burn injuries sustained by women are related to cooking.

“By working to deliver universal access to cleaner cooking fuels, India is taking a significant step toward addressing its air quality issues and improving health, while continuing to serve as an example for other countries working to ensure cooking no longer kills,” said Radha Muthiah, CEO of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

On environment front, experts from countries like Uganda,  Ghana, Nepal, Rwanda etc stated that sticking to the old cooking energy that comes from heavily-polluting solid fuels like wood, charcoal, animal dung were causing severe damage to the climate which badly needs to be addressed immediately. They said the governments of different countries were working on this issue but people’s mindset and behaviour needed to be changed first.

The forum featured an interactive exhibition area where attendees demonstrated and tested some of the latest developments in clean cooking stoves and fuels, including innovative technologies.

Goal number 3 of UN’s DSGs aims at ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages, goal number 5 stipulates achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, goal 7 prescribes for ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy  for all. These goals of the United Nations are directly linked with simple cooking methods in the kitchen by women.