The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) has agreed on a set of voluntary, practical and science-based sustainability indicators with the aim of helping countries to assess and develop sustainable production and use of bioenergy. In addition the Partnership has approved to launch a capacity building initiative that seeks to promote the optimum use of modern bioenergy for sustainable development.
The agreement marks the first global, government-level consensus on a set of voluntary, science-based indicators for assessing the sustainable production and use of bioenergy.
The indicators are intended to guide analysis of bioenergy at the domestic level with a view to informing decision making and facilitating the sustainable development of bioenergy in a manner consistent with multilateral trade obligations.
The 24 indicators identified by GBEP Partners and Observers take a holistic approach to assessing many important aspects of the intersection of bioenergy and sustainability, including greenhouse gas emissions; biological diversity; the price and supply of a national food basket; access to energy; economic development; and energy security.
GBEP says that it is currently the only initiative seeking to build consensus among a broad range of national governments and international institutions on the sustainability of bioenergy and in the fact that the emphasis is on providing measurements useful for informing national-level policy analysis and development.
GBEP work addresses all forms of bioenergy. The GBEP sustainability indicators do not feature directions, thresholds or limits and do not constitute a standard; nor are they legally binding on GBEP Partners. Measured over time, the indicators will show progress towards or away from a sustainable development path as determined nationally.
In reaching international consensus on the sustainability indicators, GBEP has successfully responded to the mandates received from successive G8 Summits in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The newly agreed sustainability indicators will be presented in a report to the G8 Summit in Deauville, France, on 26-27 May.
The set of GBEP sustainability indicators was agreed at a meeting of the GBEP Steering Committee held in Washington DC and jointly hosted by the US and the United Nations Foundation. It saw the participation of 17 countries from both the developed and developing world along with representatives of 7 international institutions and organizations.