The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created after the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Its mandate was to coordinate the activities of other UN bodies as they relate to issues of sustainable development; to analyze progress at national, regional and international levels; and to promote the implementation of Agenda 21.
This was a forum at which environment ministers from at least 60 countries and high-level UN officials mingled with NGO activists. ENERGIA and partners seized this opportunity to infuse the 9th CSD meeting with conversations on gender and energy and to influence national and international energy policies.
Participation in preparatory meetings
Prior to the event, ENERGIA and its partner ENDA Tiers Monde—program Energie/Senegal joined their efforts to increase the impact of their messages. ENERGIA participated in a number of meetings, including a CSD preparatory meeting in Berlin in December 2000, Women and Energy in Durban in December 2000 and the Village Power Meeting at the World Bank, which all gave inputs for the CSD-9, including the development of practical frameworks to integrate gender into policy. ENERGIA participated in the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development (IGEESD) meeting held in February in New York at the UN Headquarters.
Development of targeted communications products
A special edition of ENERGIA News, a print magazine on gender and energy developed by ENERGIA since Phase 1, was published prior to the April 2001 Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-9) meeting. As part of its advocacy strategy, ENERGIA identified this as an opportunity to highlight the gender issue in the energy sector. Beyond informing key actors, ENERGIA aimed to mobilize partners/members and provide information on how they can contribute to the discussion and integrate gender, in concrete ways, into energy policy and planning. With this approach ENERGIA facilitated a common understanding of concepts, practices, approaches and messages.
ENERGIA prepared a position paper on gender and energy as a basis for further discussion at the meeting. This paper identified all the major commitments made by the UN and other organizations in support of gender mainstreaming and highlighted the major issues and needs regarding gender in the energy sector. It set out the reasons why gender issues needed to be more strongly integrated into energy policies, planning and projects, to increase sustainable energy access for women. It included ten general recommendations for engendering energy and empowering women, as well as specific recommendations for the Commission on Sustainable Development, international agencies, donor agencies, governments, business and industry, workers and trades unions, NGOs and other groups in civil society.
Advocacy and advisory services
Joy Clancy, a member of the ENERGIA Steering Committee, acted as technical advisor to the book of case studies that UNDP was preparing for CSD-9. As experts working on the nexus of gender and energy, ENERGIA and its members supported CSD organizers and provided them with input.
To create an open space for discussions, ENERGIA and partner ENDA Energy jointly hosted a side event to discuss gender issues with participants from all fields present at CSD-9. ENDA Energy played a considerable role in training, advocacy and lobbying for African countries through awareness raising and capacity building in climate change. It also launched a gender and energy network in Senegal to be extended and linked to other like-minded networks and institutions in West Africa.
Changing the narrative: CSD-9 Report
ENERGIA contributed to shape the discussion and narrative on gender and energy. The CSD-9 Report referred to gender aspects, recognizing the urgent need to ensure equal access for women to sustainable energy technologies, services and opportunities through needs assessments, energy planning and policy formulation at the local and national levels. It also outlined the negative impacts on human health of indoor and outdoor air pollution, especially on women and girls, and acknowledged the importance of promoting women’s participation in the energy sector.