From 4th to 7th March the Global Gender Office of the International for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will be developing the Regional Workshop on Gender and Power in Central America. The meeting also involved organizations from Cuba. This effort is conducted jointly with the International Organization ENERGIA and the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE by its Spanish acronym). The event is funded by HIVOS Dutch cooperation.
The activity will take place in Costa Rica and aims to bring together several social stakeholders and representatives of governmental organizations able to influence the energy agenda in Central America.
In Central America, most of the initiatives and processes on reforms to the energy sector have not taken into account gender variables. Unfortunately those cases were gender issues has been addressed, it has been limited to improvements in the "kitchen space" by promoting efficient stoves in the field.
Important issues such as the value of the energy for the generation of economic activities and the different needs of men and women in access to and use of energy services, or the relationship between environmental protection and energy livelihoods have not been part of the lines of discussion in the agendas of political decision makers.
On the other hand, critical issues for developing countries such as poverty, food security and inequity, coupled with lack of access to energy services affects differently men and women. The negative effects of energy shortages and environmental problems are most critical to poor communities and people who depend most directly on natural resources. It is therefore necessary to consider the relationship between gender equality, poverty alleviation, environmental degradation and sustainable development in policy discussions and national energy plans.
The contribution of this workshop is to convene such civil society organizations and representatives of government agencies to enable them to develop or influence on the national and regional energy policies. In turn, they seek to build national networks of gender and energy which Hivos funded and supported by the IUCN manage to develop and implement an advocacy agenda with actions to ensure the inclusion of gender mainstreaming in both regional and national policies and action plans.
By this effort the meeting is expected to be the initial step in creating a network of organizations by country to develop and implement a map of actions to ensure the inclusion of gender mainstreaming in energy policy.
The workshop will open a space for analysis on the relationship between gender and energy. The workshop will involve organizations from Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, Costa Rica and Honduras.