Community Insights Group (CIG) hosted a luncheon with leading professionals and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) leaders in Denmark to present and discuss the Regional Directive on Gender Assessments in Energy Projects, recently validated and adopted in ECOWAS. The Decree’s validation is seen as a ground-breaking achievement for the Region in ensuring that the specific interests of both women and men are equally taken into account in the development of energy projects.
The luncheon was facilitated by Gabriela Factor from CIG and Monica Maduekwe, coordinator of the ECOWAS Programme on Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access (ECOW-GEN), who has been a driving force behind the Decree.
Monica began the luncheon with a presentation of the provisions of the Decree, and emphasising the success factors behind its adoption by the region’s technical experts and the steps for its operationalization throughout the 15 ECOWAS member states, which once implemented would make gender impact assessment and management plans mandatory for energy projects. According to Monica, ‘the Regional Directive provides a template that enables individual member states to strengthen the effectiveness of their project impact assessment procedures, ensuring that the human rights of both men and women are respected and that energy projects lead to better living conditions for all’.
This was followed by a discussion on next steps and opportunities for supporting the Decree’s implementation, and the capacity building and awareness raising efforts that it will require.
Some themes to emerge from the day included:
- The importance of integrating gender into other impact assessment methodology and processes such as environmental and social impact assessment.
- Capacity-building to ministerial staff, NGO and local consultants in the African countries as they look to translate the regional Decree into national legislations.
- The need to look beyond adverse impacts and project affected persons to also identifying and measuring project benefits in terms of gender and development.
- The need to kick-off the Directive’s implementation with very high quality assessments in order to provide good practice and guidance for others to follow.
- The need to de-mystify the word ‘gender’, by making it more relatable to men as well; raising the case for a gender approach as a vehicle for the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the general advancement in equality, as well as more efficient impact and benefit management in energy projects.
Bettina Thomsen, Vestas
Birgitte Bang Nielsen, IFU
Carole M. Welton Kaagaard
Elisabeth Kiorboe, WWF
Gabriela Factor, Community Insights Group
Heidi Hjorth, Copenhagen Social
Jacqeline Tedaldi, Community Insights Group
Maj Manzac, EKF
Monica Maduekwe, ECREEE
Rikke Carlsen, IFU
For more information on ECOW-GEN, a flagship programme under the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), and the Gender Assessment in Energy Projects Decree, see http://www.ecreee.org