Women’s access to energy addressed by IUCN Director General at EU summit
IUCN Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre chaired a panel on “'A Gender and Rights-based Approach to Energy Access and Governance” and called for education and career opportunities for women in the energy sector during the high-level “EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit”. European Commission’s President, José Manuel Barroso, and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, were among the high-profile speakers of the event.
Chairing the panel on “'A Gender and Rights-based Approach to Energy Access and Governance”, Julia Marton-Lefèvre raised the question of modern access to energy for women. She opened her statement by pointing out that equity should be the common denominator of all discussions on energy”. Women receive less training and have less access to biomass fuels than men. Access to non-polluting energy has positive effects on women's health and social advantages. Therefore, training for women to use these technologies is crucial. Ms Marton Lefèvre concluded by putting forward the idea of drawing up a new world map which identifies the positive examples of women’s access to energy around the world and underlined that Rio+20 will be a good chance to promote this idea in a context where sustainable energy is a central element of sustainable development.
European Commission’s President, José Manuel Barroso and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon presented the initiatives and actions which the two institutions are committed to in order to secure access to energy for all by 2030. Ban Ki-moon called for political leadership and mobilization of sustainable energy investment, according to the “Sustainable Energy for All initiative” coordinated by the UN.
José Manuel Barroso stressed EU’s commitment to sustainable energy goals, especially through the Europe 2020 Strategy. This action plan engages to “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” and introduces the 20/20/20 energy targets: reducing gas emissions by 20% (30% if conditions are favourable) against 1990 levels; reaching a 20% share of renewable sources in total energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency by 20%. In addition, the EU Energy Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development is a part of the EU’s response to UN “Sustainabke Energy for All Initiative”.
The Summit was held on 16 April in Brussels and was hosted by the European Commission and the Danish Presidency of the Council of the EU. It brought together United Nations agencies, the European Union’s institutions and stakeholders committed to the objectives of the UN’s “Sustainable Energy for All” Initiative.
2012 has been declared the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” by the UN General Assembly.