December 14th, 2020 - In 2013 the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), launched the ECOWAS Programme on Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access (ECOW-GEN), with the objective to meet the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) goals in West Africa, while ensuring equal opportunities to men and women.
ECOW-GEN was established against the background that energy access, or the lack of it, affects men and women differently, and that the energy needs of both men and women sometimes differ, ECOW-GEN aims to factor in these differing needs in the planning and execution of clean-energy related interventions in the region to ensure a universal access to energy services. In 2017, the ECOWAS Heads of State adopted the ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access to address barriers to the equal participation of women and men in expanding energy access in the region. Following this, ECREEE has been actively engaging with the Governments of the 15 ECOWAS Member States in order to develop their national action plans to ensure that gender gaps are addressed in the energy sector.
Today, in coordination with the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Energy of Cabo Verde, ECREEE hosted a virtual technical validation workshop in order to share the country’s National Action Plan (NAP) for implementing the ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access. The event was attended by stakeholders from the public and private sector engaging in the energy industry and organizations dealing with matters concerning gender mainstreaming.
As stressed by Mr. Anildo Costa, Energy Consultant in charge of supporting the Government of Cabo Verde to develop the action plan, “gender is a key and cross-cutting component of the Government of Cabo Verde and that commitment is clearly demonstrated in strategic documents such as the Sustainable Development Plan (PEDS) and Cabo Verde Ambition 2030.”
This workshop was a clear demonstration that the Government of Cabo Verde and ECOWAS are moving forward to take decisive actions. One of the key components of the Action Plan is to ensure that barriers that hinder equal access to energy are properly addressed, in order to create a favourable environment to integrate gender in energy access. This issue was highlighted though the five strategic objectives of the Plan:
- Guarantee widespread understanding of energy and gender issues at the public sector level and engage in campaigns targeting the general public;
- Ensure that policies, programs, initiatives, projects and infrastructures take gender concerns into account and contribute to the resolution of inequalities;
- Increase the participation of women in the public sector, technical areas and leadership;
- Ensure that women and men have equal opportunities to enter and succeed in energy-related fields in the private sector;
- Establish gender-sensitive framework for follow-up and accountability.
Dr. Clara Barros, provided in details the presentation of the prioritized activities for each objective and the implementation process of the Action Plan. At the end of the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to engage in discussions, questions and answers and also had the opportunity to make their opinions known on the different components of the plan.