Incoming Director General Inger Andersen discusses the importance of gender-responsive energy policies

Incoming Director General, Inger Andersen, current Vice President of Middle East and North Africa, World Bank, discusses the importance of gender-responsive energy policies. She highlights women and men’s differing roles in energy consumption and the need for women’s involvement in the sector.

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Only electrical cables under the sea has no gender dimension

Next year is the UN’s last chance to get a new climate agreement in place. But an effective climate agreement requires that a gender perspective be thought of. From January Inger Andersen, pt. Vice President of the World Bank, one of the drivers in this study, when she sits in the driver’s seat of the world’s oldest environmental organization, the International Union for Conservation on Nature, which has been one of the pioneers in the thought that gender and climate.
11/11/2014 // BIRTHE PEDERSEN

Inger Andersen knows that time is short. Within a short time it is too late to cut just the tip of the most serious climate change. If we are to keep the goal of limiting the growth in average temperatures to 2 °, the countries agree to reduce CO2 emissions by 40-70 percent by 2050. Otherwise we disaster scenario with an average growth of 3 and 5 ° which will get incalculable consequences ranging from water resources and food production, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate stressed at the presentation of its latest report in Copenhagen recently. And the deadline for the adoption of a new climate agreement will expire in less than a year.

“We have little time to respond to the climate threat. Therefore, we must do it properly. And we do not have time to make the mistake to overlook the fact that the world’s population has gender roles and are affected differently by both climate change and the actions that can be put in place to adapt and restrict them, “said Inger Andersen.

She has since 2010 been Vice President of the World Bank, initially with responsibility for sustainable development and from 2012 for the Middle East and North Africa. But from January 1, she sits down in the chair Director General of the world’s oldest environmental organization, the International Union for Conversation of Nature, IUCN. Thus she becomes one of the central figures in grassroots efforts to keep countries into their responsibility to take action before it is too late.


Men and women have different roles in energy consumption

In December meet Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, for the penultimate meeting before COP21 in Paris next year, which is the deadline for the adoption of a new convention with binding targets for reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

But if the goal to be achieved, gender and equality incorporated in both adaptation to the climate change that is inevitable, and the conversion of energy to stop the development. And here IUCN been one of the pioneers. The organization has established a department for gender issues, the Global Gender Office, and appointed a global gender adviser, for example, has taught delegates and grassroots organizations at the UN climate conferences in the relationship between gender and climate.

For Inger Andersen, who have helped to develop and implement an action plan for gender in the World Bank, is this link between gender and climate condition that climate action will work in practice.

“Men and women often have different roles in relation to energy consumption. Therefore, the gender dimension not just be an idea we have kept in mind. It must be one of the leading principles throughout the implementation of measures to reduce CO2 emissions and adapt to a changing climate, “she says.


Women made most considered as victims

The awareness that women are particularly vulnerable to climate change, is not new. The tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 was the big eye-opener. 70-80 percent of the victims were women and girls, a pattern already accounted during the cyclone in Bangladesh in 1991, when 90 percent of the victims were women, among other things, for the simple reason that girls as opposed to boys do not learn to swim.

This dimension is increasingly considered in efforts to strengthen people’s readiness and ability to withstand climate-induced natural disasters. For example, the warning systems in case of flooding taking into account that women may be unable to hear warning sirens when they stay in the home.

In other words, there is a focus on women as victims. However, the gender dimension must also cross in a variety of other climate considerations, finds out, Andersen.

“This includes the adjustment of agriculture in trying to secure food production and food security when we get more droughts, more unpredictable rainfall and more extreme weather. Women make up half of the farmers in the world, and in poor countries proportion can be much higher. If we want to strengthen agricultural production under changing climatic conditions, we must think of the problems that are specific to women smallholder farmers. What happens to women’s access to water or arable land, when both water soil resources will be fewer? We need to think about women’s ownership of land, access to loans, and gender-specific structures in society that make women and female small farmers poorer. And not only on male farmers or industrial agriculture, as the tendency is often, “says Inger Andersen.


Gender illustrates choices about energy transformation

Climate change may also have gender-specific economic consequences. In poor countries which will also be the most immediate victims of climate change, it is often the women’s job to fetch water. Should they go further and spend more time on it, they will have to choose other and perhaps lucrative assignments from, or girls may be taken out of school. The same applies to the collection of firewood for cooking.

“Sustainable forest management is an important response to climate change. However, wood or charcoal is also the main energy source for women in poor countries, who are responsible for feeding the family. Therefore, one can not simply prohibit felling the trees. And the alternatives developed in Instead, such as wind or solar cells, will only work if women’s views and needs are taken into account from the start. How are they genuinely available to the women who need them? Should women pay for the new energy sources, and can they do it? The concrete response to climate change must be incorporated fully into the kitchens, for this is where the real problems are. And it is only if women are heard, “said Inger Andersen.

“This means that a gender perspective helps to illuminate the choices we have to make. When we have to focus on energy production on an industrial scale with large centers, and when we should rather think in small local energy sources. This is also true in industrialized countries. For example, if started raining on how much it costs in economic growth and GNP that women should stay home from work because their children are increasingly sick of respiratory infections due to pollution from coal-fired power plants, the debate would on energy transitions might look different in many countries, “she says.


Fewest women in technology and finance committees

But for that to happen, women must be where decisions are made. And it is not, an analysis of how countries integrate women and kønsperspeketivet in the international negotiations on a new climate agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – the so-called COP conferences that have taken place every year since 1995.

The analysis was conducted by the Global Gender Climate Alliance, IUCN has helped to create. It examines issues such as gender distribution in the committees that prepare the conferences. The proportion of women is highest in the Expert Advisory Committee, where 10 of the 25 members are women, and in the standing finance committee with seven female members of the 19th

But otherwise there are far between women. There is a third of women in the committee on climate change adaptation and three women, or an average of one out of six members of the Committees for climate technology, and the Board of the Green Climate Fund to finance developing countries’ adaptation to climate change.

On paper, the gender dimension otherwise high priority by COP conferences, where negotiations within the UN climate convention, UNFCCC, takes place.Already in 2001, the COP 7 established that gender mainstreaming must be part of the process and that each national action plans must be based on the principle of gender equality. And in 2012 it was agreed that there should be a gender issue on the agenda of every COP conference.


The first global index of gender and environment

But of the 32 sex-related decisions COP conferences adopted trades most of intent on ensuring women’s representation and participation in decision-making processes. And gender is virtually absent from decisions on energy conversion.

“The gender dimension is most evident in the matter of climate change adaptation. But as soon as we are over in the great debates about investments in energy shifts, the debates tend to be reduced to a technical discussion. This is what happens when women’s voices are not heard because women are not at the negotiating table, “said Inger Andersen.

To measure countries’ political will to take gender and equality in the decisions, the Global Gender Climate Alliance developed the first environment and gender index rankings 72 countries in relation to their inclusion of sex and gender in relation to environmental issues.

The ranking is based on a variety of parameters, such as women’s participation in miljøbslutningerne, but also the extent to which the gender dimension is included in the studies and analyzes and national environmental legislation. Iceland is the top scorer in the index, followed by the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden with Denmark in ninth place, thus following the same trend as for example the World Economic Forum’s ranking in Global Gender Gap Report, where the five Nordic countries, however, is at the top of the leaderboard.


Kønsmålen be moved further

“You see, for example, that Spain is the number eight, is the top scorer in terms of female representation in government delegations to the environment, but in turn scored low on gender-specific approach to ownership. USA perform worse one Greece and Bangladesh with regard to women’s participation in decision-making, “said Inger Andersen.

“This index is an instrument that marks the first step on a long journey to get the gender dimension into the climate negotiations,” said Inger Andersen, who feel privileged at having to lead an organization that has invested so significantly on getting sex and gender in environmental work, including an action plan for gender within the framework of the UN Convention on Biodiversity.

“IUCN began working with gender and environment already in the 80s and today has a backbone of gender awareness that structures throughout the organization, from scientific studies for specific projects and policy recommendations. IUCN has helped to train donor countries in kønsmaindstreaming. It means that there is a good basis to move the needle further. How it concretely to happen, I now work with together with staff of IUCN. But I know from my work at the World Bank, where we have implemented an action plan for gender mainstreaming, gender policy must completely in the concrete projects and initiatives in the field. ”

“There is a gender angle on virtually all initiatives, even the most technical. Maybe just with the exception of electrical wires brought under the sea. And yet …” ponders the forthcoming General.


Inger Andersen was born in Jerup at Frederikshavn in 1958. She graduated in development economics and African politics from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies.

She began her career in the Peace Corps in Sudan in 1982 and after five years affiliated to the UN Sahelkontor in New York and then, in 1992, to become the UN’s development organization, UNDP Coordinator for the Middle East.

In 1999 she was appointed by the World Bank with responsibility for water issues and sustainable development, before she was appointed Vice President for Sustainable Development in 2010 and the Middle East and North Africa in 2012.

From 1 January 2015 accede to her post as Director General of the International Union for Conversation of Nature, IUCN.

International Union for Conversation of Nature

IUCN was established in 1948 as the world’s first global environmental organization and today has 1,200 member organizations and 1,000 permanent employees in 45 countries and is supported by 11,000 unpaid scientists and experts.

Through partner organizations, particularly in developing countries, implementing IUCN programs for the protection of biodiversity and environment-driven solutions to climate, food and development issues.


Global Gender Climate Alliance

Environment and Gender Index

Facts about cop19 and sex

The UNDP report on the relationship between gender and climate change adaptation

Gender and Climate Change: Technical Guide for Cop20 in Lima