IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre called for education and career opportunities for women in the energy sector during the “EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit”, which brought together high-profile speakers including European Commission’s President José Manuel Barroso and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
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, pointing out that “equity should be the common denominator of all discussions on energy”. She noted that women receive less training and have less access to biomass fuels than men, whereas 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, she stressed.
The IUCN Director General further suggested drawing up a new world map which identifies the positive examples of women’s access to energy and said the Rio+20 Conference will be a good opportunity to promote this idea in a context where sustainable energy is a central element of sustainable development.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for political leadership and mobilization of sustainable energy investment in order to secure access to energy for all by 2030.
EC President José Manuel Barroso highlighted the Europe 2020 Strategy, which promotes “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” and contains 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%.
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 institutions and stakeholders committed to the objectives of the UN-led “Sustainable Energy for All” Initiative.
2012 has been declared the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” by the United Nations. The IUCN Director General is a Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All.