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SEforALL to create new People-Centered Accelerator to support gender equality, social inclusion
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Jane Olga Ebinger

In 2015 the world’s leaders agreed on two significant objectives: to put the world on a pathway to “well below 2°C” and to meet the challenge of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving these historic milestones requires us to move toward a global society with net zero emissions and which provides for everyone more equitably than we do today.

 

The clean energy transition demanded by these agreements offers us an historic economic opportunity for growth and development.  It heralds an economic transition that must move us towards a mid-century economy that is zero net emissions and which must provide for everyone on this earth more equitably than we do, today.

 

Mainstreaming women’s participation and agency throughout development and economic processes, particularly in critical sectors such as energy, is necessary to ensure this just transition. 

 

Clean energy technologies offer women as well as men opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurial pursuits that could result in a more diverse energy sector and create opportunities for lasting change.

 

From the participation rates of girls and young women in science, technology and mathematics education to the participation of women in the energy sector workforce, in management or on the boards of energy services companies, the energy sector is behind in terms of gender balance with women representing just 16 percent of board members.

 

Specifically, in areas with low levels of access to electricity, ensuring a just transition requires addressing gender specific dimensions of development.

 

Promoting women’s access to and participation in energy service design and clean energy businesses – as well as new business models for delivery – can secure benefits such as ensuring access for difficult-to-reach customers, income-generating opportunities, education, and improved health and security. It can also positively change women’s position in society and the household, and empower them to have a “voice” in decision making.

 

In facilitating this just transition, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) recently announced its intention to launch the new “People-Centered Accelerator” that will support gender equality, social inclusion and women’s empowerment in the energy sector.

 

The Accelerator will bring together a voluntary group of like-minded partners who are committed to advancing these goals, and work with global leaders to promote an energy transition that leaves no one behind. By working together, partners supporting the Accelerator aim to:

  • Enhance and extend the provision of sustainable modern energy to the very poorest people in society who will not be reached by business-as-usual approaches.
  • Incorporate gender equality at the heart of the energy transition, by enhancing women’s full participation in sustainable energy solutions at every level.
  •  Help to unlock finance from private and public sources for gender equality, social inclusion and women’s empowerment in the energy sector.

Bring together and strengthen collaboration between a broad range of stakeholders to achieve these aims in the context of the People-Centered Accelerator’s work streams and activities.

 

SEforALL is now working with interested partners to create an action-orientated work plan, which includes appropriate working arrangements for the Accelerator, with the aim to formally launch the Accelerator at the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties this November.

 

The work plan is based on consultations led by SEforALL over February-June 2017, and an initial design meeting for this new partnership that was co-hosted at Krafla Geothermal Power Station by Landsvirkjun and SEforALL. Three main work streams are currently proposed:

  1. Demonstrate and help scale up sustainable access pathways for the most vulnerable and hardest to reach people
  2. Help direct capital to gender responsive and socially inclusive energy businesses to support faster delivery of sustainable access solutions
  3. Empower women engaged in energy service delivery to achieve autonomy, authority and decision-making power at work, and thereby accelerate progress on international climate change and sustainable energy goals

To further this, SEforALL is working with partners to map existing stakeholders and initiatives on these issues to help inform engagements and promote systemic change. Work is also underway to gather the data and evidence to support the business case for action in each work stream.

 

Jane Olga Ebinger is the Policy Director at Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). SEforALL would like to hear from stakeholders who are interested in engaging and supporting the Accelerator as it moves forward. As we move through the energy transition this will help bring a more inclusive voice and participation in the design, delivery and planning of energy services.


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