Harare - Legislators should find ways of ensuring Southern Africa’s women - who constitute both the majority of the population and the bulk of farmers in a region heavily dependent on agriculture - have access to renewable energy.
This was said by the Speaker of Namibia’s
National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, at a virtual workshop on Mainstreaming Gender in the Renewable Energy Sector this week.
The Southern African Research andDocumentation Centre (Sardc), the SADC Parliamentary Forum and Parliament of Zimbabwe jointly organised the workshop.
The workshop highlighted that in most rural communities, women were at the forefrontof securing energy resources - usually firewood - and hence the need to craft sustainable energy solutions for them.
Prof Katjavivi told participants that, “The (SADC) Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-2030 encourages the development of a regional policy and regulatory framework that promotes theuse of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, solar, wind and biomass generated electricity and geothermal power.
“In addition, the RISDP recognises that the socio-economic transformation of the SADC region, along with sustained peace and security, is dependent on a number of issues that cut across a number of sectors and that includes gender and development
“Therefore,it is our role as Parliamentarians, to ensure that we push for the enabling legislature to facilitate gender equal representation, participation and mainstreaming in all areas, including renewable energy so that both women and men reap the benefits and livelihoods are improved.”
The Speaker of Zimbabwe’s National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, called for implementation of SADC agreements on energy and development in a holistic manner that factored in gender issues.
“It is of significance, therefore, that members of parliament take a concrete legislative agenda whose objective is to expeditiously gender mainstream renewable energy in their respective countries in fulfilment of the Paris Climate Agreement which espouses use of green renewable energy.
“That will mitigate the negative impact of climate change to a greater degree in the long term,” hesaid.
SADC PF Secretary-General Ms Boema Sekgoma commended legislatures that had enacted laws and policies that promoted renewable energy use.
Ms Sekgoma added: “The Forum subscribes to a view that access to the energy sector should indeed be democratised, which means that every SADCcitizen, without discrimination, should obtain a fair opportunity of benefiting from the multiple advantages which renewable energy confers.
“This is in line with the vision of the Forum to be a flag-bearer of democratization and socio-economic development in the SADC region, and the Forum frequently promotes initiatives to mainstream gender in all sectors, including renewable energy.”
SARDC executive director MrMunetsi Madakufamba said due to lack of access to modern energy services, many women and girls spent most of their time performing basic subsistence tasks, including time-consuming and physically draining chores of collecting firewood and other biomass fuels.
This, he explained, constrained them from accessing decent employment, educational opportunities and livelihood enhancing options, as well as limited their options for social and political interaction outside the household.