© Hivos / Feri Latief

Green & Inclusive Energy

Energy is at the core of enabling human development. We need energy in our daily lives, for our economic activities, our education and our health. However, more than a billion people do not have access to reliable, affordable and clean energy. The energy we produce is not distributed evenly. At the same time, fossil fuels are being depleted at an ever-increasing rate. The extraction and consumption of oil, gas and coal is a key driver of climate change and leads to instability and pollution across the world.

This is why energy investment decisions being taken in the coming decade will determine to a large extent the potential to manage human development, urbanization, and climate change until the end of the century. Will we continue the historic trend of fossil fuel based energy, servicing only the new megacities? Or will we choose for green and inclusive energy systems, to the benefit of all?

More access to cleaner, more efficient and affordable energy would lead to great improvements in family health, food supplies, income and opportunities for women, and would allow them to participate more productively politically, socially and economically. However, the energy needs of the poor, especially those living far from economic centers will only be economically sustainable if a joint effort is made. We need adequate policies and investment from governments, involvement of civil society organizations and innovative new business models for private sector actors.

Investing in women

Women and men are affected differently by energy access or a lack thereof. Although energy policies and programmes that explicitly address this issue and involve women in decision making, planning and implementation have better outcomes and improve the livelihood of entire communities, gender issues are generally not taken into account. Green and inclusive energy creates space for both men and women and specifically increases opportunities for women that will allow them greater and more productive participation in politics, society and the economy.

Watch the video of our partner ENERGIA that explains the disparity in energy access and use between women and men and what investing in women can contribute to development:

The agenda for Green and Inclusive Energy

In order to break the trend of fossil fuel based energy and choose green and inclusive energy systems to the benefit of all, everybody has a part to play.

International organisations such as the Multilateral Development Banks, the Green Climate Fund and OECD countries including the European Union should allocate a significantly larger budget to green and inclusive energy solutions. In addition, these institutions should invest in strong implementation and adequate reporting so that progress can be measured around the energy related Sustainable Development Goals and Sustainable Energy for all (SE4ALL) goals, including gender.

National governments should adopt and implement policies to make energy systems more green and inclusive. In doing so, they should display increased transparency and accountability. Furthermore, governments should increase investments in domestic renewable energy and reform detrimental fossil fuel subsidies. In addition, they should create a supportive investment climate for private sector development.

Both international and national institutions should open up the room for civil society organisation representation, including women’s groups. Their participation should be on a serious and equal footing. Civil society organisations must in return use the space created. A strong agenda for green and inclusive energy systems needs to be developed to be able to act as legitimate and knowledgeable advocates for people’s energy needs at the international level.

Furthermore, civil society organisations should establish a cooperation model at the international level that enables effective lobby cooperation and representation of national and local partners.