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Bioenergy decisions are complex because the sector cuts across different disciplines covered by a range of Ministries - notably energy, agriculture, environment, industry, and trade. Hence bioenergy policy needs to be embedded in a broader context of relevant strategies and policies. Development of bioenergy policy and strategy should be undertaken with a clear view of the underlying objectives and be based on an analysis of the trade-offs between these different objectives. Given the differences of pathways in terms of potential input (e.g. resource utilisation and related risks), and output (e.g. energy provi-sion for different end uses and delivery of employment and other benefits), a range of analyses should be undertaken as part of the policy and strategy formulation process.

This will allow for:

Optimization of gains from proposed bioenergy activities

Avoidance of negative consequences that may arise from either activities related to bioenergy production/processing or from the policy itself

Resource allocation to the right activities that will promote the policy objectives defined through a comprehensive and inclusive planning process

Enhancing the effectiveness of the national bioenergy policy and strategy

Figure 1 outlines a step-by-step decision tree that can facilitate the transparent strategic planning process for bioenergy at the national level.

Three broad steps have been identified. While the diagram shows a linear process, it is recognised that multiple feedback loops exist amongst them.

1. Context Analysis including the analysis of different and possibly conflicting policy and strategy objec-tives, the analysis of domestic energy needs and alternative energy resources, including but not limited to bioenergy, and the bioenergy status quo. (WHY and WHICH)

2. Assessing Options and Potentials including the analysis of what is a sustainable bioenergy potential by considering several factors that are relative to specific geographical locations, such as: technical and implementation options for bioenergy production, geographical suitability and constraints, an assess-ment of risks and possible mitigation options, and an identification of suitable combinations of technology and institutional mechanisms. (WHAT, WHERE, HOW, and Risks and Opportunities)

3. Designing an Implementation Strategy including forming an understanding of the technical priorities in a country, and clear indications of how these identified bioenergy priorities will be implemented, supported and monitored.

National Bioenergy Policy and Strategy Formulation

Comprehensive and inclusive planning is a precondition to ensure that bioenergy delivers on national objectives in a durable manner, without creating new pressures on land, food security and ecosystem functions.

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