ENERGIA’s Advisory Group and International Secretariat met in the Netherlands at the end of May to discuss programme progress, network ambitions, current trends, challenges and strategic options. This was an important step in the strategic planning process that the network has embarked upon.
The Advisory Group consists of high level professionals coming from the gender and women’s rights movement as well as from international governmental organizations with an important role in the energy sector. This ensures a constant link between the topics of gender and energy, and an exchange of views from different professional perspectives during the discussions.
Since its creation in 1996, ENERGIA has been pushing for the inclusion of a gender perspective in the energy sector. At first, we mainly focused on mainstreaming gender in energy policies, programmes and projects, advocating and networking. When ENERGIA entered a new phase in 2014, women’s empowerment in the energy sector and research to provide much needed evidence started to play a crucial role as well.
Back in 1996, there were hardly any organisations specifically addressing the issues we tackle. Twenty years on, many actors have entered the arena and it is commonly accepted that both energy access and women’s involvement are crucial to poverty eradication and to fulfill Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on SGDs three, five and seven. Seeing these changes and shifts is extremely encouraging. At the same time, and knowing that there is still much more to do and to win, this calls for rethinking and strategizing around our position and added value.
Analysing the changed arena –along with current trends in the energy sector, looking at the institutional framework and examining current programmes and challenges — provoked rich discussions during the two-day meeting.
There is still quite a way to go in our strategic planning process for the upcoming period but we are highly encouraged now that the first valuable steps have been taken and the direction has been set, and we are enthusiastic to continue and look forward to involving our partners, network members and other stakeholders in the discussion.