United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Women

Intervention at the Open Working Group on Energy
Fifth Session of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals
27 November 2013
Thank you chair, my name is Emilia Reyes, from Equidad de Género, Gender Equity, a Mexican NGO part of the Women’s Major Group (WMG).
Energy so far, as a sector, has been a mean for concentration of wealth. It cannot remain so. We need to change the way in which power is orienting the current energetic policies, by fully endorsing the human rights framework for all stakeholders. This, in everyday life, means to protect climate, ecosystems, and communities, including women’s livelihoods and rights. We need policies based on the principle of energy sovereignty, relying on descentralised and democratically controlled energy generation and use. Good practices to strengthen states are at hand, via fiscal polices and the use of public budgets for descentralized production, management and delivery of energy (ie. gender budgets). We call for a more equitable access to energy, which means meeting everybody’s fundamental energy needs while reducing excessive energy consumption at the same time.
Some of the WMG organisations are concerned by global initiatives such as SEFA, that promotes global partnerships with the private sector without a credible accountability and regulatory mechanisms or even criteria as to which types of energy are classed as “sustainable”, including indistinctively the damaging practices derived from fossil fuel, large-scale hydro dams, fracking and others.
We need a paradigm shift of means and ways of production and consumption with sustainability criteria. In the gender equality agenda, it would require the redistribution of work and co-responsibility in production, access, management and use of energy (and, by the way, of cooking). In an energetic transition women need to take part in the highest (and sustainable) investments and benefits.
In the environmental agenda, Warsaw just gave us the worst example of the paths to follow. Civil society abandoned the venue in a gesture of protest against the lack of commitments and will on behalf of governments. The Post 2015 process has to promote the highest ambition for addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, including the finance agenda. The energy agenda is crucial, and we expect substantive action.