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European Commission Stakeholder Consultation on Women and Sustainable Energy, December 2016

European Commission Stakeholder Consultation on Women and Sustainable Energy, December 2016




7 December, 2016 to 8 December, 2016






On Thursday the 8th of December 2016, the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) held a stakeholder consultation on women and sustainable energy. The event was attended by 110 international participants, bringing together representatives of governments, donor agencies, UN agencies, NGOs, regional renewable energy agencies, academia, women’s NGOs and networks, and the European institutions. Working closely with the Commission and its Technical Assistance Facility, EUEI Support helped mobilise participation in the event and contributed to the consultation. 

In his remarks opening the consultation, Director Roberto Ridolfi stressed the high priority that Commissioner Mimica affords promoting gender issues – not only in energy, but also in other sectors such as water and agriculture. He also stressed that the empowerment of women is a major cross-cutting priority in all aspects of development cooperation, and will be a central focus of DG Devco’s work going forward. With this the Commission is building on the EU Gender Action Plan (2016-2020) and the revised European Consensus on Development, as well as on the recent Council Conclusions on Energy and Development, passed in November 2016. The Consensus’ provision for new partnerships and the Conclusion’s explicit reference to the key contribution of women in energy value chains, in particular in promoting renewable energies and increasing access to energy and energy services, represent an important starting point for future action.

A first concrete step to these ends is the €20 million “gender window” which the Commission has designed within the Electrification Financing Initiative, ElectriFI. The aim of is to facilitate access to affordable finance and to reliable sustainable energy services. The stakeholder consultation on the gender window brought together global stakeholders on gender and energy, raising awareness about the new instrument and enabling those with experience of women’s involvement in the energy sector to share experience and build partnerships. 

Felice Zaccheo, the new Head of Unit for Sustainable Energy and Climate Change gave an overview of ElectriFI’s gender window. The overarching objective is to increase women’s access to energy and women’s empowerment. 

Specific objectives are to: 

  1. Improve women’s access to affordable sustainable energy products, services and finance;
  2. Improve women’s access to vocational and skills training;
  3. Increased advocacy and policy development. 

In the upcoming call for proposals the Commission is looking to fund 1-2 major partnerships of organisations of different, complementary stakeholders active in the field of gender and energy. The partnerships should cover different levels (global, regional, national, local) and be composed of stakeholders that will work together for the common goal of increasing women’s access to energy and empowering women. The partner organisation managing the fund must be a non-profit organisation. The partnership should seek to scale-up successful and proven approaches and business models in specific energy value chains within their respective regional or national context and framework. The partnership should include an organisation active in advocacy, ensuring that work towards creating and improving enabling environments is undertaken. At least one of the partners should also have a proven track record in monitoring progress to serve the partnership in this capacity. Civil society organisations (CSO), community based organisations (CBO) and women’s NGOs should bridge the gap to the local context. The partnerships should actively work towards improved access to finance for women energy entrepreneurs. A cultural shift in the way financial institutions do business is called for to develop new financial products that cater to the specific needs of women energy entrepreneurs and to demonstrate the business case of such enterprises. 

The European Commission will issue the call for proposals in early 2017. Member States are encouraged to look into possibilities for co-funding the partnerships that intend to submit proposals and to explore synergies with their ongoing activities on gender and sustainable energy.

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