United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Women

Women?s Major Group Contribution to Discussions on
Energy and Sustainable Development
Building on international affirmations and commitments on
gender, sustainable development and energy, the Women?s
Major Group presents the following priorities:
1. In developing countries, especially in the poorest
areas, where most energy is currently supplied by
biomass fuel, primarily by women, policies should be
implemented that focus on expanding access to
cleaner, more efficient and affordable cooking fuels.
Government should make commitments to reduce by
half, by 2015, the number of women without effective
access to clean cooking fuels, and make improved
cooking technologies widely available.
2. Provision of clean and affordable energy services for
household and productive activities should be
prioritized as a basic need. Governments, the private
sector, civil society and local communities should all
take an active role in the development, investment
and delivery of clean and affordable end-use
technologies and fuels that directly meet poor
women?s household and productive energy needs.
3. National sustainable development plans, including
poverty reduction strategies, should prioritize poor
women?s and men?s access and ownership to energy
services as a central feature in the formulation of
energy policies and implementation.
4. International financial institutions should develop
comprehensive strategies focusing on investments in
energy infrastructure and end-use technologies that
directly meet poor women?s energy needs.
Innovative energy financing options should
strengthen women?s access to mainstream banking
and micro-financing opportunities in order to support
enterprise development.
5. Governments and Major Groups should guarantee
women?s effective participation and representation in
energy decision- making and management at every
level. This should include support to energy
institutions to engage with gender issues, and the
professional education for women in energy,
engineering and vocational technical training. This
will facilitate a critical mass of women and men
practitioners that can effectively integrate a gender
perspective in the energy and development sectors.
6. In conflict and disaster situations, special efforts
should be made to ensure that displaced women and
their families have access to energy services in ways
that do not endanger their lives.
Finally, we call upon governments to recognize the
importance of energy access for health care, food security
and education necessary to address the impacts of
HIV/AIDS. This is of critical importance to women and young
girls in developing countries, given that they are the highest
risk group.