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Final Report Summary - COMPETE (Competence platform on energy crop and agroforestry systems for arid and semi-arid ecosystems - Africa)

The ultimate aim of the COMPETE project was to stimulate the sustainable bioenergy implementation in Africa. For this purpose it established a platform for policy dialogue and capacity building in the major multi and bilateral funding organisations and key stakeholders throughout the bioenergy provision and supply chains.

COMPETE carried out a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, assessment of current land use, energy demand and technology innovation focused on Africa to identify pathways for the sustainable provision of bioenergy, which aimed to:
- improve the quality of life and create alternative means of income for rural populations in Africa;
- aid the preservation of the critical functions of arid and semi-arid regions in Africa as intact ecosystems;
- enhance the equitable exchange of knowledge between European Union (EU) and the developing countries

The project delivered a matrix of multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral Work-packages (WPs), each led by globally recognised scientists and implementers with the aim of:
- providing an evaluation of current and future potential for the sustainable provision of bioenergy in Africa in comparison with existing land use patterns and technologies;
- facilitating South-South technology and information exchange capitalising the world-leading Research, development and demonstration (RD&D) in bioenergy in Brazil, Mexico, India, China and Thailand;
- developing innovative tools for the provision of financing for national bioenergy programmes and local bioenergy projects, including: carbon credits, bilateral and multilateral funding instruments, and the role of international trade;
- developing practical, targeted and efficient policy mechanisms for the development of bioenergy systems that enhance local value-added, assist local communities and address gender inequalities;
- establishing the competence platform to ensure effective dissemination and knowledge exchange inside and outside the network.

The project activities were performed in the following seven thematic WPs:

1. WP1 - Current land use patterns and impacts
The main objective of WP1 was to identify land in the semi-arid and arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa where conversion from other uses, and where intensification of or conversion to bioenergy use, would not have detrimental environmental and socio-economic impacts.

WP2 - Improved land use energy crops and agroforestry systems
An overview of experiences and concepts for sustainable production and use of biomass for energy was provided. This included improvements in conventional agricultural production since productivity improvement is vital for making land available for new crops without increasing pressure on existing land resources.

WP3 - Sustainability analysis of alternative land use
The ecological, economic and social sustainability of alternative land use for energy crop and agroforestry schemes was assessed, as well as practical mechanisms for defining, monitoring and rewarding good sustainability practice were identified.

WP4 - South-South and North-South cooperation
The principal objective was to link the project activities in Africa with ongoing successful research and demonstration efforts in the field of energy crops and agroforestry systems in Latin America and Asia. Furthermore, this WP was concerned with the transfer of knowledge and technical know-how amongst developed and developing countries, as well as with the promotion of joint ventures for common activities in the field of new energy crops and agro forestry systems.

WP5 - Financing of alternative land use and international trade
Innovative strategies for the provision of financing for national bioenergy programmes and local bioenergy projects were developed, including carbon credits, bilateral and multilateral funding instruments, and the role of international trade.

WP6 - Policy development
The main objective was to coordinate policy research activities in African countries which aimed at facilitating the efficient implementation of improved energy crop and agroforestry systems in order to enhance economic productivity and sustain rural and peri-urban livelihoods.

WP7 - Dissemination - concept and set-up of a competence platform
The principal objective was to actively promote the exchanges between the working groups and to effectively link with existing networks and a large variety of stakeholders, target groups and key actors.

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