Gender and Energy: ESMAP Update, May 2010
News ESMAP’s Gender and Energy Development Strategies Program (GEDS) aims to address gender dimensions of the energy sector, through regional and thematic activities, that focus on just-in-time Technical Assistance. GEDS’ program objective is to integrate gender equity considerations into the policies, strategies and programs of client countries. One of the main aims of the GEDS program is to develop traction on the ground to contribute to the on-going regional work with clients. The GEDS program focuses on enhancing client capacity through a i) regional and ii) thematic focus while leveraging ESMAP’s iii) knowledge sharing and think tank expertise to deliver results.
The TA will develop and implement gender components within projects, building on, and contributing to, knowledge development, outreach, and exchange. The Africa Renewable Energy Access Program (AFREA) Gender and Energy program is the first regional component of the GEDS program and the successes and challenges in its implementation will serve as a pilot for other regions. At the Global level, ESMAP is working closely with the Social Development Department within the Bank to provide a gender and energy background report to the upcoming Energy Strategy and also to begin generating pilot activities within other regions. Under the larger GEDS program, all efforts and teams will work together to ensure efficiency, knowledge exchange, and maximize the use of resources in order to achieve results on the ground.
Update on Activities
The AFREA Gender and Energy Program Project Concept Note has gone through the peer review process and implementation has begun. As a first step, a SWAT team of gender and energy experts at the Global, Regional and Local level is being organized to provide just-in-time technical assistance to the Africa energy projects and teams. The program will adopt a phased approach: Phase I will focus on the identification/allocation of resources (experts and funding) and initiation of the work on the ground with the assistance of the SWAT team to develop practical approaches, strategies and guidance. Phase II will begin with consulting an advisory panel on the approach developed in Phase I. The key output of the AFREA Gender and Energy program will be development of a gender approach methodology for energy projects in the Africa region, and to build a network of experts at the local, regional and global level.  These experts will work with the task teams to develop action plans that are operational and relevant, and will document the approach and the results, and share those with the community of practice and with governments. These outputs and deliverables aim to contribute towards the greater outcome of increasing energy access while understanding and addressing the needs of the poor, through capacity building, dialogue and engagement with women and men in the region.
Preparation of an ESMAP funded Gender and Energy Issues Paper is being led by the Social Development Department and is in the final stages for internal review; it will serve as a background paper for the 2010 Energy Strategy (ES) consultation process. The aim of this paper is to inform the preparation of the ES by identifying gender issues that are relevant for the sector as a whole and for the ES, and providing a basis for these issues to be incorporated into the ES as appropriate.  In so doing, this paper aims to provide background materials on the links between gender and energy, and articulate key gender-responsive energy sector priorities.
ESMAP, the Social Development Department, and the South Asia Energy team will host a Regional Workshop on Energy and Gender Capacity Building for South Asia, in partnership with the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB).  The workshop will take place June 15-17, 2010, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The main objectives of the workshop are: i) to develop a common understanding on why gender matters in energy sectors, especially the value added for development effectiveness of investments of addressing gender dimensions in design and implementation; ii) increase the capacity of Country Project Counterparts, Bank Staff, and other stakeholders in identifying, addressing, and monitoring gender issues in energy policies, programs, and projects; iii) Assist governments and Bank staff to develop a three-year program of activities on gender and energy in South Asia, including the identification of the specific elements for which ESMAP support will be requested;  and iv) pilot an approach for “Training for Action” which could be replicated in other regions’ energy sector and/or in other sectors.
ESMAP continues to be involved with global and corporate discussions on gender as it gains heightened attention. In the global context, initiatives such as the World Bank Gender Action Plan which focuses on achieving the Millennium Development Goal on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment is reaching its FY2011 end mark and discussion on transition is beginning. This, along with the prioritization of Gender for the upcoming IDA16, and the 2012 World Development Report on Gender and Development are all activities highlighting the critical need to mainstream and consider Gender in projects and programs. ESMAP realizes opportunities for gender mainstreaming are increasing and will continue to work closely with regional and operational colleagues to ensure its readiness for action.