PRESS RELEASE: CONFERENCE, WOMEN IN ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
August 4, 2010
Press Release: Government Secrecy Around PBMR Closure
September 3, 2010

Published by earthlife at

Gender, Energy and Climate Change Statement

CONFERENCE ON WOMEN IN ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
HOSTED BY EARTHLIFE AFRICA JOHANNESBURG
5 AUGUST 2010

Energy and climate change have often been viewed as an environmental and economic issue – not one with a human face, much less a woman’s face. The longer we take to respond to climate change the sooner we run the risk of disrespecting the value of all life on earth.

The conference on women in energy and climate change hosted by Earthlife Africa-Jhb raised the main issues and concerns on the token-role women have been playing in the energy and climate change sector. Just as the women of 1956 made their voices heard about the injustices they faced, it is once again time to say, “Enough is Enough”!

Women’s voices need to be heard in the national and international discussions about Climate Change and energy policies. It is time to end the cycle of focusing on women as victims only, which keeps women trapped in limited roles and further enhance gender disparities. The fact that women are not recognised in decision-making processes and as contributors to the economy must stop NOW! We know that most poor homes are headed by women, who are responsible for the type of energy used in a home. We know that women are most affected by the lack of access to clean and affordable energy. This does not mean that we cannot play leadership roles nor be equal decsion-makers in the sector. In addition, we call on the youth to take their rightful place and become the leaders who will continue to fight for a sustainable future.

As women from diverse backgrounds and sectors, we have come together not only to raise our voices in the energy and climate change sector but also to map a way forward and to ensure our involvement at all levels of decision-making. Poverty is directly linked to the way in which both energy and climate change are being dealt with both nationally and internationally.

This meeting demands that government acknowledge that women have been marginalised in all Energy and Climate Change policy processes, specifically, IRP2, National Climate Change Response, roll-out of REFIT (Renewable Energy Feed in Tariffs) and the Renewable Energy White Paper review. We therefore want government to act on the following:

  • Our Planet is in crisis
  • Energy and climate change issues are not the responsibility of one Ministry and must include an integrated and coordinated campaign
  • Women’s right to participate in energy choices that affect them
  • Women’s right to be consulted and included in all current energy processes
  • Resources to be made available for increasing women’s participation and understanding of current energy and cliamte change processes
  • Establishment of a gender technical committee and a stakeholders forum

As women, we commit to genuinely consultative processes and reject any participation that only serves to legitimate an inherently unfair system that privileges dominant interests. We need to participate in the consultation and policy development process around energy to ensure that a feminist, sustainable and pro-poor perspective is represented. This includes:

  • Free Basic Services for all including energy, water and sewage
  • Transparency, openness and access to information to enable informed choices, including provincial public hearings on the current processes
  • Sustainable jobs
  • Increased focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency – for example, the immediate roll-out of solar water heaters
  • Immediate implmentation of REFIT
  • Improved skills development and promotion of women in high level decision-making in the energy sector
  • Direct communication campaign both in rural and urban areas to inform the public of the current energy processes
  • Inclusion of rural areas in all discussions and policy planning
  • Use of Indigenous knowledge to inform policy and plans

In reflecting on our own approaches to the matter of gender and energy policy as activists, scholars, labour and civil society members, we must acknowledge that our actions and initiatives have often been piecemeal, reactive and rushed.  We need to build stronger organizations and good alliances, share resources, lobby effectively and design a holistic and integrated approach. This is key to our effective participation in the current energy processes and the Climate Change meeting to be held in South Africa in 2011. Furthermore, national processes such as the local government elections must be used to mobilise increased participation of women in energy and climate change processes.

Arising out of this meeting, the women commit to the following:

  • Signing on to the Statement and publicising the outcome at all Women’s day events.
  • Handing over the Statement to political decision-makers at a local, provincial and national level
  • Endorsing the Statement in our respective organisational plans and platforms
  • Commit to working together on current energy and climate change policies
  • Include aspects of climate change into all areas of mobilising
  • Continuosly share and increase our knowledge on the issues being discussed
  • Ongoing action to reach our energy and climate change goals
PRESS RELEASE: CONFERENCE, WOMEN IN ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
August 4, 2010
Press Release: Government Secrecy Around PBMR Closure
September 3, 2010

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