United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Women on Energy

As discussed in yesterday?s Multi-stakeholder Dialogue, we are concerned that the
Chair?s text does not strongly enough reflect the points regarding the need for gender
mainstreaming approaches in energy policy formulation, planning, budgeting and
decision-making processes which were raised by Women and other delegations at the
IPM, and CSD 14, including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Fiji.
What is needed goes beyond merely involving more women in energy programs. It
requires both a recognition of the fact that women and men have different social and
economic roles, and a commitment to ensure that women?s concerns and contributions
are represented and taken into account. To assist governments in understanding the
linkages between gender and energy in developing countries, we have compiled
recommendations from stakeholder consultations in 19 different countries in preparation
for CSD 15 and presented them in a book entitled Where Energy is Women?s Business,
which we are happy to share with you.
In developing countries, particular attention is needed to promote access to electricity and
modern fuels and equipment for domestic uses, agriculture, informal income-generating
activities, and community-based enterprises. In many countries, women already play an
important role in the energy sector, particularly with regard to collection and
consumption of traditional biomass fuels, but they are not at the table when energy plans
are made, and national energy decisions are not necessarily designed with their needs in
mind. It is critical for sustainable development that investments in energy infrastructure
and services promote women?s social and economic development, as well as men?s.
We mentioned yesterday some tools that could be used by governments in this regard,
such as strategic investments in capacity building, technical and business training, and
enterprise development for women, together with capacity building for government
officials and development practitioners regarding gender and energy issues and
institutional arrangements to ensure women?s representation in designing and
implementing energy policies, programmes and projects. In addition, gender budgets,
audits and gender disaggregated data can be used to inform national energy and
development policy and implementation strategies, and innovative financing measures
are needed to enhance women?s access to credit for energy-related equipment and
enterprises. Above all, national energy policies should specifically address women?s and
men?s energy poverty in rural and urban contexts.
Women as a Major Group strongly support governments that are working towards low
carbon development paths and reject unsustainable energy policies such as those
emphasizing increased nuclear generating capacity. We note that many countries in
transition plan to base their energy sector development on nuclear power, and call instead
for clear targets on renewables and improved energy efficiency as their is enormous
potential for improvements in these areas. We also recommend strong action to prevent
destruction of land and communities as a result of coal and uranium mining, large-scale
hydropower and commercial ethanol production. We are eager to participate in fair and
inclusive partnerships to promote access to clean, safe and affordable energy for the
future, including modern cooking fuels, renewable wind and solar systems, small hydroelectric
generators, modern biofuel systems and energy efficiency mechanisms.