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Improved Cookstoves (ICS) Design and Standardization - International Consultant

Biomas Project


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), acting as an implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is providing assistance to the Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communication (MoPWTC) and in particular to National Directorate of Renewable Energy (NDRR) to implement the Promoting Sustainable Bio-energy Production from Biomass (SBEPB) in Timor-Leste project.

One of the major challenges for Timor-Leste is to pursue economic development without creating additional burdens on natural resources thereby preserving ecosystems that are critical to maintaining the quality of life and providing environmental services to society. The country is rich in diversified natural forests with a forest cover of nearly 58% of total land area (14,900 square km) of the country. According to FAO, Timor-Leste is losing 1.16% of forests annually or 11,200 ha per year during 1990-2010. The area under plantations has remained stable at 43,000 ha during the period from 2000 to 2010. However, the latest forestry survey conducted by Japan’s Aid3 reported that the annual deforestation rate between 2003 and 2010 is estimated at 1.73% that is much higher than the prediction of FAO. Assuming this alarming trend persisted in the following decades, 17.3% of the forests in the country would have disappeared in 2021 and all forests would have disappeared by 2071. Natural resources play a pivotal role in the lives of people in the Timor-Leste with 75% of the population (140,635) living in rural areas and over 70% employed by the agriculture and forestry sector. The Strategic Development Plan 2011–2030 commits to establishing inclusive development, while the Program of the Fifth Constitutional Government (2012-2017) has set a goal of creating opportunities for all in a fair and inclusive manner. As the Timorese government aspires to transform from subsistence agriculture into a productive and market economy, safeguards must be in place to avoid creating ever increasing economic development and demographic pressure on the natural resource base.  

A report on the urban, peri-urban and urban associated rural areas of Timor-Leste is currently on the brink of a large-scale fuel poverty crisis. Internal migration to urban areas (specifically the capital Dili), poor enforcement of legislation and widespread poverty are some of the main contributing factors to fuel poverty and degraded natural resources. These trends are rapidly heading towards a state where over-extraction and insufficient re-planting of trees is threatening both people’s ability to afford fuel wood for cooking and their ability to easily attain it in other ways. Coupled with this humanitarian issue, the deforestation and forest degradation that occur as a symptom of people’s reliance on wood fuel (+90% of the population) is threatening the sustainability of the natural environment and its ability to perform ecological services in and around Dili.  

Duties and Responsibilities

Based on various assessments including Global Alliance of Clean Cookstoves (2012), World Bank (2010), Mercy Corps (2011, 2016); it is evident that fuel wood is and for some time to come will continue, to be the cheapest and most popular cooking fuel compared to other alternatives like Kerosene, LPG and others. With notable development partner support nearing a decade, ICS With minor exception, have generally failed to penetrate the market to reach a critical mass production stage in Timor-Leste. The majority of cookstoves makers are in the informal sector with localized sales, substandard quality, and little consistency in stove quality. Previous studies on the ICS sector in Timor-Leste have identified many reasons and/or challenges which can be linked to the failure in the dissemination of ICS. Among them include: 

Low awareness and lack of knowledge to majority of targeted end-users on fuelwood saving from ICS. This is especially critical in families which still fetch fuelwood for cooking (free fuelwood in municipalities other than Dili.

  • Low awareness and lack of sensitization on the effects of harmful emissions in the smoke to the cooks and babies.
  • High cost of ICS compared to tradition stoves.
  • Lack of business skills, promotion, marketing strategies, and chain actors in the ICS sector
  • Lack of access to finance to establish proper stove production facilities
  • High material and production costs which lead to high product cost
  • Mismatch or inappropriate stove designs which does not fit cooks preferences and culture.
  • Lack of clear-cut integrated policy from the government that provides incentives for the commercialization of the ICS sector specifically
  • Lack of large- and medium-scale stove makers and promoters
  • Donor-dependence of existing organizations and NGOs rather than a market based approach. 

It is evident that existing models needs to be thoroughly looked into for possible modification to eliminate some of the aspects mentioned above, to ensure better penetration of ICS through a market based approach. While the SBEPB project is working on awareness raising and market promotion issues, the technical aspects of existing ICS models remain as a major issue for creating a vibrant ICS market in Timor-Leste.

With support from Mercy Corps Timor-Leste, a Cook Stove Center of Excellence within the Dili Institute of Technology (DIT), known as the “Timor-Leste Cook Stove Testing and Knowledge Center,” or TL-CTKC.  TL-CTKC opened in July 2013, and facilitated the establishment of a viable market system for the production and sale of Clean Cook Stoves that meet international quality and low-emission standards.  However, the centre capacity needs to be thoroughly looked into to ensure that adequate technical and human resources capacity is prevailing at the centre to ensure standardization of all Timor-Leste based ICS models.

Specific Tasks:

A. Review of existing available models of ICS

  • A comprehensive assessment of the most popular existing models of ICS used in Timor-Leste
  • This assessment should focus on issues related to production processes and raw materials, quality aspects, emission standards and pricing issues.
  • The assessment should also contextualize Timor-Leste specific issues like level of technical know-how and availability of different raw materials.
  • The assessment should look into, but not limited to the following aspects: manufacturing process and scalability, fuel savings, emission standards, durability, weight and space, cost, portability, safety issues, usability and maintenance aspects, looks and cultural aspects of design.

B. Suggest a modification plan for applicable ICS models

  • Explore potential modification aspects of existing ICS models for better market uptake.
  • Suggest specific modification issues to existing ICS producers.

C. Assessment of the existing ICS testing centre

  • Review the existing ICS testing centre capacity in terms of technical and human resources aspect.
  • Prepare a plan for the centre to ensure proper testing and standardization of all ICSs in Timor-Leste.


  • Excellent public speaking and presentation skills;
  • Excellent analytical skills;
  • Demonstrated teamwork experience working with diverse people with multicultural background; and
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet tight work deadlines without compromising the quality of work and deliverables.

Required Skills and Experience

I. Academic Qualifications:

  • Advanced University degree in the fields of environmental management, engineering, energy management, renewable energy or a closely relevant field.

II. Years of experience:

  • At least 10 years of relevant professional experience;
  • Demonstrated experience of working on improved cookstoves design, testing and standardization aspects, preferably in Asia Pacific;
  • Comprehensive understanding of challenges and issues related to ICS penetration in developing countries;
  • Demonstrable knowledge of key technical issues related to ICS and biomass technologies;
  • Demonstrated experience of working on ICS testing related issues, preferably working with ICS testing centres.

III. Languages

  • Excellent English writing skills are essential.
  • Knowledge of Tetun would be an asset.


TOR, P11 form and Financial Proposal templates are available via this link . Please note that Cover Letter, CV/P11, and financial proposal must be submitted as one set of document as the online application allows only for one document/file uploading. 

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Biomas Project
  • Grade: International Consultant - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Urban Development, planning and design
  • Closing Date: 2017-09-07

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