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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


As pointed out by the panelists, access to energy services and technologies are
not gender neutral. The lack of modern fuels and electricity is therefore both a
gender issue and a poverty issue.
Most of the poorest households are headed by women. Women and girls are
disproportionately burdened by lack of access to modern fuels and electricity
since they are responsible for fuel gathering, cooking and food preparation.
Many girls are withdrawn from school to attend to such domestic chores with
lifelong harm to their literacy and economic opportunities. They also suffer
considerable damage to their health, especially respiratory diseases from indoor
air pollution, by having to cook indoors on poo rly vented stoves. Energy
services such as heat for cooking and power for food processing are therefore
particularly important for women and girls.
We firmly agree with the Secretary General that improving access to modern
energy services can make an important contribution to the goal of gender
equality and empowerment of women. We also agree on the importance of a
more thorough understanding of men?s and women?s needs for and potential
uses of energy in order to ensure that the goals of energy-related pro jects are
realized equitably for women and men.
The Norwegian Delegation will like to underline that there is a need to enhance
research and data gathering on women?s energy use and needs when developing
energy policies and projects. Capacity -building and technical training for
women should also be emphasized as a strategy for enabling women?s access to
decision-making processes.
Mr. Chairman, everyone has the right to a reasonable standard of living,
including food, clothing, housing, medical treatment and essential social
services. Supporting equal rights for women and men are a basic principle in the
Norwegian society. It is also fundamental to our understanding of many of the
linkages in the development debate that the fulfilment of women?s rights is a
prerequisite for many of our development efforts.
Norwegian development cooperation support countries in their efforts to meet
their political and legal commitments with respect to gender equality. This will
also facilitate the effort to mobilize the considerable resources women represent
in work to promote development and provide a stronger platform for women?s
role as agents of change for development. Gender and energy are priority areas
for Norwegian development cooperation and we are in the process o f preparing
an action plan on how gender can be more effectively integrated into our
development cooperation.
The focus of traditional energy and environment programming has been on
technology and science. Integrating gender and rights issues into energy projects
shifts this focus as project beneficiaries are placed at the centre of the
programming process. This leads to a more flexible approach, with projects
responding to the particular needs of women and other disadvantaged groups,
local priorities and contexts. We need to ensure that our approach is based on
the principle of ?working with women not for women?.
Thank you.