This was the question a panel of leaders and experts sought to answer as part of a webinar organised by the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE). The panellists looked at the nexus of energy and climate, and brought perspectives from government, the private sector and academia. They acknowledged that women are underrepresented at policy and decision-making level in the energy sector. Achieving the UN sustainable development goals, especially SDG5 (on gender equality) and SDG7 (on universal access to reliable, sustainable, and modern energy) would bring us a long way in addressing these imbalances.
Ambassador Nergaard joined speakers and panellists from Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET), Gojek, and the Atlantic Council, among others. She provided Norway’s perspectives on gender issues, the energy transition, and why a just energy transition may only be achieved by empowering women.Norway’s perspectives on gender issues, the energy transition, and why a just energy transition may only be achieved by empowering women.
Norway ranks as number 2 of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2020, and therefore clearly has experiences to share on policies to level the playing field between men and women. Furthermore, Norway is an energy rich country, and fully realises how important access to energy is for economic growth.
Globally, around 3 billion people still depend on polluting stoves for cooking - with close to no progress on this issue over the last decade. ASEAN’s impressive efforts, therefore, to increase electrification rates and improve cooking stoves have direct impact on the lives of thousands of women. Southeast Asia’s rising energy demands and potential for accelerated energy transition carry with them the promise of an enhanced role for women.
Ambassador Nergaard underlined that more educated women, women entrepreneurs within the sector, and women with access to economic resources will help us achieve a just energy transition. International cooperation and partnerships between governments, the private sector and academia are crucial, allowing us to share experience and ideas, build awareness, and find solutions.
Norway fully supports the role of women in the energy transition and appreciates the fruitful partnership with ASEAN. As part of its partnership with ASEAN, the Norwegian government is funding a 34-month project called the ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project - ACCEPT. It is a collaboration between the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). ACCEPT aims to improve the coherence between the ASEAN energy and climate policies, and contribute to more a climate-friendly development of the energy sector. Studies will be carried out to analyse the existing energy and climate policies, provide recommendations and assist the ASEAN member states in shaping policies.