Closed: Mar 24,2019
Type: partner

The objective of this study is to update the understanding of the cooking sector, bringing together in one document a summary of key challenges, opportunities, barriers, and solutions toward achieving universal access to modern energy cooking services by 2030. The study will build on the ongoing work on Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) for cooking to define the term “modern energy cooking services”. Through stock taking, broad consultations with key stakeholders, and in-depth review on the recent development trends, the study is expected to update the key assumptions and market analysis on global landscape of supply and demand situation for the cooking sector and then provide key recommendations moving forward toward achieving universal access to modern energy cooking services.  

Please note that submission of EOIs need to be done through the WB eConsultant system with the selection # 1261617. The deadline for submission of EOIs is March 24. 



In 2015, Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) at the World Bank published the report The State of Global Clean and Improved Cooking Sector, jointly developed with the Clean Cooking Alliance. This report was part of a major re-engagement by the World Bank in the sector, followed through interventions such as Africa Clean Cooking Energy Solutions (ACCES), the East Asia and Pacific Clean Stove Initiative (EAP CSI), and the SEforALL Technical Assistance Program, with focus on helping countries meet the universal energy access goal. Since its publication, the report has been a key reference for sector practitioners. It not only provides the first global baseline for clean and improved cooking, including analyses of fuel and stove penetration, end-user segmentation, and industry structure, but also offers lessons and recommendations to key stakeholders (government, private sector, and the donor community) in developing effective interventions.

Since then, significant developments have occurred in the sector, for example:

  • Increased priority on SDGs and the policy agenda. Universal access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking is part of targets under the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) which calls for ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. It has been widely recognized that cooking solutions are also critical for achieving other SDGs, including good health and wellbeing, gender equality, climate action, and eliminating poverty. In the recent published SDG 7 policy brief, the #1 priority action is to “make clean-cooking solutions a top political priority, and put in place specific policies, cross-sectoral plans and public investments, supported by renewed game-changing multi-stakeholder partnerships”.
  • Increased emphasis on “clean”. Literature shows that in order to achieve significant health impacts, exposure to household air pollution has to be reduced to a sufficient level which only real clean cooking solutions could make it possible. A recent Meta-analysis (Thakur et al, 2018) showed that improved biomass cookstoves can decrease respiratory and ocular symptoms among women, but had no demonstrable child health impact. Based on WHO’s Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality-Household Fuel Combustion, the first ISO for clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions has been published in October 2018 which provides a tiered classification on performance of a few key metrics: PM2.5, CO, efficiency, safety, and durability. The PM2.5 and CO emission factors have been the key metric for measuring “clean”. Although there is no clear definition on what is “clean”, there is increased convergence that ISO emissions tiers 4 and 5 are considered “clean” and tier 3 is considered “transitional”. Clean cooking fuels such as LPG, electricity, biogas, ethanol, solar, and natural gas are increasingly advocated as the solutions that can meet the “clean” metrics.
  • Increased emphasis on cooking as one type of energy services and a systematic approach is needed. Cooking is a system and its purpose is to transform the food items into meals. In order to make the process clean, a whole system is needed to consider interactions of cooking technologies (which is combination of stove and fuel) with human behavior (e.g. who is cooking, what to cook, how to cook, how often and how long to cook), housing condition (e.g. kitchen location, arrangement of rooms and size, construction materials, and quality of ventilation), and other household energy services such as lighting, space heating, water heating that contribute to household air pollution. In order to increase sustained adoption of the modern energy cooking services, end users’ preferences and their context need to be incorporated in the design of interventions. Without focusing on the end users’ needs and their context in mind, any interventions are unlikely to be successful and sustainable. The Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) for cooking (which includes the following six main attributes: cooking exposure, efficient heat, convenience, cookstove safety, affordability, and fuel availability) is a key step to understand the current state of energy cooking services levels and then can be used to design how to move up the service tiers.1‚Äč
  • Increased emphasis on impact-level quantification and measurements. The cooking sector is known for its high impacts on health, gender, environment, and climate. However, because cooking is a complex system that includes interactions of cooking technologies with human and other context dependent factors, technological interventions may not deliver the expected impacts2. Furthermore, in order to attract more public and social financing to pay for these public benefits, there are increased demands to quantify, measure, and eventually verify the claimed impact-level public benefits from clean cooking interventions. For example, there is recent progress in developing methodologies to measure health, gender and expanded climate (black carbon) benefits which include: (i) Black Carbon: Gold Standard Black Carbon Methodology (401.13 CR SLCP) (2015), (ii) Health: Gold Standard 401.3 ADALYs Methodology for Cleaner Household Air (2017), and (iii) Gender: Gold Standard Gender Equality Guidelines (2017) and WOCAN/W+ Time Savings Methodology. Building on these methodologies, ESMAP also recently launched a field study on quantifying and measuring climate, health and gender co-Benefits from clean cooking interventions.
  • Emerging new business models, financing models, and technology development. In order to achieve more “clean” solutions, more efforts are put into clean fuels, not only LPG and biogas, but also alternative biomass fuels- ethanol, briquettes, and pellets. ESMAP report Scalable Business Models for Alternative Biomass Cooking Fuels and Their Potential in Sub-Saharan Africa (2017) provided more detailed analysis. There are also growing interests on promoting electricity for cooking, taking advantages of the progress on electrification and highly efficient electric cooking appliances. On business models, pay-as-you-go and leasing models are increasingly popular to enable consumers to access modern cooking solutions without paying the full upfront costs. IoT platforms start to help connect consumers, retailers, and suppliers to improve service and reduce costs. The results-based financing (RBF) approach is getting attraction to bring in the public financing to leverage the private investments.
  • Partnerships. With more need and interest in the sector, various organizations and programs are being formed at different levels with different focus. ESMAP itself launched an Efficient, Clean Cooking and Heating (ECCH) program in 2015, a cross sectoral collaboration between the Energy, Environment, Health, Gender, Agriculture, and Climate Change units of the World Bank and IFC. Its objective is to support countries to increase access to cleaner, more efficient cooking and heating solutions to achieve health, gender, social, financial, environmental, and climate benefits. One of key strategies of the ECCH program is to strengthen internal and external partnership and promote collaboration among partners.

Meanwhile, the progress of improving access to modern energy cooking services continues to be slow. The recently published Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report 2018 shows that, despite advances on other SDG7 targets, there is little progress on improving access to clean cooking fuels and technologies. In particular, the annual access growth rate during 2014-2016 did not keep pace with population growth, thus resulting in an increase in the absolute global deficit in access to clean cooking. The global population without access increased by 2 million annually to reach 2.985 billion in 2016, from 2.981 billion in 2014. Most access deficit countries have yet to give priority and resources to promote modern energy cooking solutions which are vastly underfunded. As the latest 2018 edition of the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) highlighted, despite some evolution in policy frameworks since 2010, there has been little progress on standard-setting for cookstoves or on consumer and producer incentives to stimulate adoption of clean technologies. Based on the Energizing Finance 2018 report from Sustainable Energy for All, across the 20 countries with the biggest gaps in access, finance for clean cooking dropped 5% from USD 32 million in 2013-14 to USD 30 million in 2015-16. This investment is a tiny percentage of the USD 4.4 billion annual investment needed by 20303 to address a problem faced by three billion people, highlighting the pressing need for dedicated
and accelerated action.

As part of the global effort to tackle this development challenge, with the funding support from DFID, ESMAP has recently launched the modern energy cooking services (MECS) program under the ECCH program, together with the UK research consortium led by Loughborough University. The objectives of the MECS program are to (i) analyze key drivers and propose pathways for accelerating access to MECS; (ii) research and stimulate innovation on how emerging technologies, technology configurations, new business models and approaches may accelerate access to MECS; (iii) provide a more holistic understanding of how MECS fit into the broader system of modern household energy services; and (iv) provide policy makers and other decision makers with field-tested evidence on the key investments, and policy and institutional changes that are needed to effectively and affordably accelerate the transition. One of the first-year activities under the MECS program is to take stock of the cooking sector development to date and through the process to engage a broad range of global and country partners on this initiative. The activity will be managed by ESMAP and assisted by the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA), and is expected to receive inputs from key partner organizations such as Loughborough University, Endev, WHO, SEforALL, and Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).


The objective of this activity is to update the understanding of the cooking sector, bringing together in one document a summary of key challenges, opportunities, barriers, and solutions toward achieving universal access to modern energy cooking services by 2030.

Scope of Work

The Consultant is expected to build on the earlier report of The State of Global Clean and Improved Cooking Sector4, and update the sector understanding of the sector: what has changed, what has not changed, and what need to be done next. The Consultant is expected to incorporate the key development areas identified in the context section and conduct the following tasks:

Task 1: Define/refine the term “Modern Energy Cooking Services” - The term “modern energy cooking services” is used to emphasize the approach that goes beyond an evaluation of the cooking fuel and technologies for a household. It aims to capture the multiple dimensions of cooking from the household's perspective. "Services" emphasize the need to focus on end users and their preferences. Without focusing on the end users' needs and their context, any interventions are unlikely to be successful and sustainable. The World Bank is working with international partners on how to define and track multiple attributes of modern energy cooking services (MECS) under SDG7 on access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Based on the common understanding of the limitation of using the binary indictor of clean cooking fuel to measure household cooking solutions, ESMAP/World Bank is leading on the MTF for cooking which includes the following six main attributes. Cooking exposure is to indicate level of personal exposure from cooking activities using the proxy indicators. Convenience is determined by the amount of time taken to collect or acquire cooking fuel and the time taken to prepare the stove prior to a cooking activity. Affordability is the percentage of a household expenditure on cooking fuel. Efficiency refers to how efficient a cookstove is and safety accounts for the number of accidents caused by the stove. Availability refers to how readily available the primary fuel is throughout the year.

Building on the ongoing efforts on MTF for cooking, the purpose of this first task is to support the Bank team to define/refine the “modern energy cooking services” with measurable indicators and thresholds. The Consultant should provide data evidence and analysis to support the proposed definition, indicators, and thresholds, and include consultations with key stakeholders to reach consensus. The additional information on MTF for cooking is included in Annex 1.

Task 2: Take stock of the existing initiatives, coalitions, and key players in the cooking sector - With assistance and data inputs from the CCA, the Consultant is expected to systematically review the existing initiatives, coalitions, key players for the cooking sector. The deliverable will be a database to show different players by classifications of roles (e.g. funder, policy makers, researcher, developer, advocate, convener, technology provider/supplier), technologic focus, geographic focus, etc. The databased should be easy to use, search, and update. It should be viewed through an interactive map or an equivalent user-friendly format.

Task 3: Conduct broad consultations with key stakeholders of the cooking sector - Based on the developed database in task 2, the Consultant is expected to conduct a survey as well as in-depth interviews with identified key players of the cooking sector (e.g. UN agencies, MDBs/IFIs, country level policymakers, financiers, project developers, cooking fuel/stove enterprises, development agencies and NGOs, and other key stakeholders) on the sector trend, challenges, opportunities, barriers, and solutions. The Consultant should send the draft survey questionnaire and interview questions to the World Bank team before proceeding the consultation.

Task 4: Conduct in-depth review on the recent development trends - With inputs from the stakeholder consultation, the Consultant should incorporate the development areas identified in the context section and dive into the trends on technologies (e.g. fuel and stoves and data collection/information platform), business models, financing models, insights on behavior change, gender responsiveness, evidence and measurement on impacts, financing sources, policies, and institutions. For key topics (e.g. PAYG technology, IoT information platform, RBF approach), with guidance and inputs from the World Bank team and the key partners for this study, the Consultant is expected to develop stand-alone background papers or case studies.

Task 5: Review and update the key assumptions and market analysis on global landscape of supply and demand situation using the definition and indicators developed under task 1 of modern energy cooking services - The Consultant will review recent data inputs from SDG 7 tracking report, MTF, RISE, and SEforAll, as well as other available sources and information collected from the stakeholder consultation and in-depth review on the recent development trends to update the market analysis on global landscape of supply and demand situation as well as the sector ecosystem. Such updates and analysis need to go beyond the cooking fuel and technologies to reflect the multiple attributes of modern energy cooking services.

Task 6: Consolidate the findings in a summary report - The summary report should include an executive summary which summarizes the key findings and recommendations and a main body with more detailed elaboration. The summary report may refer to the additional background papers or case studies on certain topics for additional information as indicated in task 4.
During the assignment implementation, under the guidance of the World Bank team, the Consultant will help to organize the review meetings with key partners to get their inputs during (i) the inception stage, (ii) the initial finding stage with drafted messages and outlines, and (iii) the final draft of the summary report.

Deliverables and Payment Schedule

The assignment is expected to be accomplished over a six-month duration. The deliverables and payment schedule are described below.

Deliverables Indicated timeline Payments
Inception report with detailed work plan and annotated table of contents for the summary report, and the first review meeting with key partners. Two weeks after signing contract 10%
Deliverables for Task 1 and Task 2 and questionnaire for Task 3 One month after signing contract 10%
Deliverables for Task 3 and Task 4 2 months after signing contract 20%
Deliverables for Task 5 and the second review meeting with key partners 3 months after signing contract 20%
Draft report for Task 6 and the third review meeting with key partners 5 months after signing contract 20%
Final report 6 months after signing contract 20%

Communication Arrangements

The Consultant will communicate with the World Bank team regularly throughout the assignment through monthly update meetings or phone calls on:

  • Research progress and milestones achieved
  • Available data and any preliminary analysis conducted to date
  • Upcoming activities and next steps.
  • Anticipated changes to research plan and study timelines. Any significant changes to the approved research plan and timelines have to be approved by the World Bank.

The Consultant is also expected to present and participate in the workshops/technical discussions as well as dissemination activities organized by the World Bank team on the topic.

Annex 1. Measuring Access to Modern Energy Cooking Services with the Multi-Tier Framework

Historically, access to energy for cooking is often equated with the use of nonsolid fuels as the primary cooking energy source. However, this binary metric fails to capture the multifaceted nature of the underlying phenomenon, and does not adequately inform energy policy, planning, project implementation, and progress monitoring. This fuel-type binary metric omits the role of the cookstove and cooking environment and presumes that all nonsolid fuels are clean and efficient, and that all solid fuels are harmful. Such an approach also does not adequately reflect the underlying scientific evidence regarding interlinkages between cooking emissions, indoor air quality, and health risks. In addition, convenience aspects such as the time and effort involved in collecting or preparing the fuel are ignored. Other attributes of household access to cooking solutions such as availability and affordability of fuel, and safety, are also not reflected. An important challenge in measuring access to cooking solutions is the phenomenon of “stacking,” which involves the parallel use of multiple cooking solutions in the same household. Also, access to cooking solutions is affected by factors such as variations in type and quality of fuel used, different cooking practices, proper use of equipment, and the size of the kitchen and the degree of ventilation. In essence, access to energy for cooking refers to the usability of the cooking solutions in the context of the various attributes mentioned above and with an emphasis on end users’ experience, and not just the availability of a clean cooking fuel or technology.

Through consultations and inputs from multiple agencies, a new multi-tier framework (MTF) for measuring access to energy for cooking has been developed, which includes six attributes: cooking exposure, efficient heat, convenience, cookstove safety, affordability, and fuel availability (Figure 1). It provides a comprehensive tool to capture information about access to energy for cooking, encompassing various cooking solutions, user behaviour, cooking conditions, and use of multiple cooking solutions, as well as convenience and safety aspects. It allows disaggregate as well as aggregate analysis to yield detailed information about various parameters as well as indices that facilitate comparison over time and across geographic areas.

The MTF data are currently being collected in 16 countries with three published reports and more are coming in 2019. The efforts are also ongoing to mainstream the data collection in the country statistics systems. The MTF is changing the paradigm of measuring energy access and is expected to be a vital tool in measuring access to modern energy cooking services and informing policy designs.

MTF cooking attributes

  • Cooking exposure: Health impacts from household air pollution created by traditional cooking activities have been a key driver for promoting clean and efficient cooking. PM2.5 and CO emissions are considered key marker pollutants for exposure to household air pollution. According to the WHO guidelines for indoor air quality, the annual average PM2.5 concentration should be lower than 10 μg/m3 and the 24-hour exposure to CO concentration should be less than 7 μg/m3. Direct exposure measurement on the body of the cook would be the most accurate method to measure exposure to pollutants, yet this process is very costly and not practical to implement in large-scale household surveys. Cooking exposure is currently formulated using the recently published ISO/TR 19867-3 Voluntary Performance Targets for cookstoves based on laboratory testing (2018) (hereafter, referred to as ‘ISO 2018’). The key parameters that determine the cooking exposure tiers are stove/fuel emission factor, ventilation level, and contact time. As a protective approach, the MTF follows the ISO 2018’s assumption that the contact time or the time spent in the cooking area is equivalent to 24 hours per day. The emission factor for the stove/fuel should be estimated using existing lab tests from the country following ISO 19867-1 harmonized laboratory testing protocols. In the case that the lab testing for the stove/fuel emission factor is not available, the MTF uses a series of proxy questions to estimate the stove/fuel emission factor. For the ventilation level, following the approach used in ISO 2018, MTF will uses proxy questions to estimate three levels of ventilation scenarios – high, average/default, and low ventilation. Based on the estimated ventilation levels (high, average/default, low), the estimated stove/fuel emission factors will be adjusted into performance tiers following the guidance from the ISO 2018. This attribute also accounts for the use of multiple stoves or stove stacking.
  • Cookstove Efficiency: The MTF follows the cookstove efficiency tiers in ISO 2018. The cookstove efficiency should be estimated using existing lab tests from the country following ISO 19867-1 harmonized laboratory testing protocols. In the case that the lab testing for the cookstove efficiency is not available, the MTF uses a series of proxy questions to estimate it.
  • Convenience: In the MTF, convenience is proxied by the amount of time necessary to collect the fuel and prepare the stove for cooking. It is a key consideration from the user perspectives and has high gender impacts.
  • Safety: The degree of safety risk can vary by type of cookstove and fuel used. Risks may include exposure to hot surfaces, fire, or potential for fuel splatter. Reported incidences of past injury and/or fire are used to proxy safety in the MTF.
  • Affordability: Cooking is a required activity in a household, and therefore, households will allocate whatever share of their household income necessary to meet the basic cooking requirements. The affordability of a given cooking solution should be considered when assessing household access of cooking solutions, as a high share of household income required for cooking fuel can constrain other elements of cooking solutions such as safety, health, and convenience. The MTF utilizes a levelized cost of cooking solution to determine affordability.
  • Availability of Fuel: Availability of a given fuel can affect the regularity of its use. Constraints to availability can come in the form of seasonality (especially for solid fuel types such as wood), market supply shortages (such as with LPG cylinders), or limited supply of electricity through grid connections (manifesting in blackouts, for example). Shortages in fuel availability can cause households to resort to inferior secondary fuel types. The MTF uses the household’s report of primary fuel availability across the last 12 months.


MTF Cooking Tier Structure

The over MTF cooking tier structure is presented in the following table. Each household is assigned a score for each of the six attributes of cooking solutions mentioned above. These six scores are then aggregated into a single household score by assigning the lowest tier rating across the six attributes. Tier 5 represents households with the cleanest, safest, most reliable and efficient cooking solutions. As more data, evidence, and field experience are available, the MTF cooking tier structure may be continuously adjusted and refined.

    Tier 0 Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
Cooking Exposure ISO's voluntary performance targets (Default Venilation) PM2.5 (mg/MJd) CO (g/MJd)







Cooking Exposure

High Ventilation
PM2.5 (mg/MJd) CO (g/MJd)







Cooking Exposure Low Ventilation
PM2.5 (mg/MJd) CO (g/MJd)


Cookstove Efficiency ISO's voluntary performance targets <10% ≥10% ≥20% ≥30% ≥40% ≥50%
Convenience Fuel acquisition and preparation time (hours per week) ≥7 <7 <7 <3 <1.5 <0.5
Convenience Stove preparation time (minutes per meal) ≥15 ≥15 <15 <10 <5 <2
Safety   Serious accidents over the past 12 months Serious accidents over the past 12 months Serious accidents over the past 12 months Serious accidents over the past 12 months No serious accidents over the past year No serious accidents over the past year
Affordability   Fuel Cost 5%  of household expenditure (income) Fuel Cost 5%  of household expenditure (income) Fuel Cost 5%  of household expenditure (income) Fuel Cost 5% ≥ of household expenditure (income) fuel cost <5% of household expenditure (income) fuel cost <5% of household expenditure (income)
Fuel Availibility   Primary fuel available less than 80% of the year Primary fuel available less than 80% of the year Primary fuel available less than 80% of the year Primary fuel available less than 80% of the year Available 80% of the year readily available throughout the year






1 See the reference (data, reports, questionnaire) for the first three MTF countries: Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.

2 See the article Undercooked: An Expensive Push to Save Lives and Protect the Planet Falls Short

3 The annual investment need was estimated by International Energy Agency and did not include investments in fuel supply infrastructure and fuel subsidies to bridge the affordability gap.

4 All data collected and used in the 2015 report will be accessible to the selected Consultant.