ECREEE, in collaboration with the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) organized a workshop on Biomass Resource Assessment and Mapping, under Activity Group 1 (AG1) of the Working Group on Capacity Building (WGCB) for Sustainable Bioenergy. The event was held in Rome, Italy, from 13–14 November 2012 with the support of the Government of the United States of America.

The workshop was a follow-up to the Regional Bioenergy Forum held in Bamako in March 2012, where participants identified biomass resource assessment and mapping as an essential first step of the Bioenergy Strategy Framework.

The event brought together representatives of the Ministries of Energy and Agriculture from the ECOWAS Member States, GBEP partners and observers, as well as regional and international organizations, academia, and business and civil society representatives active in the field of bioenergy.

Discussions focused on various methodologies and tools for resource assessment and mapping of biomass resources (calculation of total available biomass), tools and methodologies on investments in bioenergy related to environmental, social and economic aspects; they also covered cataloguing and sharing experiences on biomass use, existing resource maps and socio-economic conditions, including methods for the allocation and tenure of land from the ECOWAS Region.

Workshop conclusions were presented by the chairpersons, Mr Raffi Balian – Department of State, Government of the United States of America – and Mr Bah F.M. Saho of ECREEE. These include: (1) establishment of a network of institutions at regional and at national levels (including the civil society) to facilitate bioenergy promotion in the ECOWAS region; (2) compiling a matrix of tools and methodologies on resource assessment, mapping and investment planning; (3) compilation of data/information on the bioenergy sector in the region highlighting gaps to improve data for investment; (4) identifying financial opportunities to attract business driven investments in the bioenergy sector.

Representatives of all ECOWAS countries were called on to take leadership in their role as ambassadors of sustainable bioenergy to foster energy access and food security, and thereby improve health conditions for citizens. These actions, as catalysts of change in the energy sector in the ECOWAS region, are fundamental for achieving the goals of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative.