Mutual Linkages of Sustainable Energy, Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

RE-Think the Energy-Gender Nexus: Adding Value to Sustainable and Inclusive Development in the Energy Sector

Date: Saturday, 20 June 2015     Time: 10:45 – 12:00   Room: Geheime Ratsstube  Duration: 75m
In recent years, women’s economic empowerment and sustainable energy have emerged as key components of inclusive and sustainable growth, both as goals and more significantly as catalysts and strategies to accelerate and promote poverty reduction through productive activities. This welcome recognition has impacted the international discourse surrounding the global development agenda, and now gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEEW) have become widely accepted as preconditions for the success and sustainability of any initiative – whether it be policy formulation, project design and implementation, capacity building, etc.
This trend is of particular interest and importance at this time, as the international community prepares for the UN Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda in September 2015, and an agreement on a new international climate regime at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties meeting in November 2015.
As a contribution to the discussions leading up to the two landmark events that will shape the direction of the international development agenda and climate action for the next decades, this side event aims to further explore the synergies of the energy and gender nexus, and demonstrate how rethinking the energy-gender nexus can add value to sustainable and inclusive development.
Mr. Philippe Scholtès, Managing Director of Programme Development and Technical Cooperation, UNIDO
Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl, President, Global Forum for Sustainable Energy (GFSE)

Ms. Andy Wehkamp, Managing Director for Renewable Energy, SNV

Ms. Vanessa Lopes Janik, Operations Officer, Energy Sector Management Assistance Program | ESMAP and Sophia V. Georgieva, Social Development Specialist Urban, Rural and Social Development Global Practice Europe and Central Asia World Bank

Mr. Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy (ECREEE) and Ms. Monika Madueke, ECOW-GEN Programme Coordinator, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy (ECREEE)

Ms. Elizabeth Cecelski, Senior Technical Advisor, ENERGIA

Ms. Caroline Nijland, Director of Business Development, Foundation Rural Energy Services (FRES)

Ms. Wandee Khunchornyakong, CEO, Solar Power Company Group, Thailand

H.E. Inga Rhonda King, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Permanent Representative to the UN
The 75 minute session will be structured as follows:
5 minutes                    Brief introduction of the topic by the chair
8 minutes                    Presentation by the keynote speaker
35 minutes                  Each panelist will be invited to provide an input (5 minutes each)
15 minutes                  An open discussion will follow to explore key issues (moderated by the chair)
10 minutes                  Questions from the floor and final summary/wrap-up
Key Questions
Within the context of the proposal for Sustainable Development Goals, and the much anticipated UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris, the speakers will be asked to present their expert views and experiences in promoting the mutually reinforcing goals of sustainable energy and women’s economic empowerment. Panelists will present lessons learned and potential ways forward to successfully promote and enhance the role of women as active participants and leaders for production and consumption of sustainable energy. More specifically, the speakers will be asked to address the following topics:

What are the interlinkages between energy and gender and why is it important to understand and consider them in sustainable energy planning?

Progress on gender equality has been made in some areas. However, the potential of women to engage in, contribute to and benefit from sustainable development as leaders, participants and agents of change has not been fully realized. What are key roles for women in driving innovative climate action in a fair and equitable manner? What is needed to empower women so that they can have a leading role (as entrepreneurs, innovators, manufacturers, producers, advisors and promoters of sustainable energy technology) and add value to sustainable and inclusive development in the energy sector?

Broad consensus exists that sustained efforts are needed to retain and bolster the energy industry female component in order to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce, which is of particular importance at a time when the world is confronted with climate change, rising energy demand by tapping into ever-more complex and remote carbon reservoirs. What are possibilities to tap this potential and what are the main challenges for women in the energy sector?

How can we strengthen the potential of women so that it results in concrete action in support of the Post-2015 development process and gender equality in general? 
The panel



Mr. Philippe Scholtès, Managing Director of the Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division
Philippe Scholtès is the Managing Director of the Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division, UNIDO Vienna and the Director of Agribusiness Development Branch, UNIDO HQs, Vienna. Here he drove the partnership with FAO, IFAD, the African Union and the African Development Bank around the African Agribusiness and Agro-industries Development Initiative or 3ADI. A key aspect of the initiative is the alignment of development assistance with larger resources flows, in order to raise overall impact on food security and wealth creation. Between 2003 and 2010 Philippe Scholtès was UNIDO Representative in Vietnam and later Regional Director for South Asia. Led the formulation of country programmes in Vietnam, India, and Afghanistan and facilitated the execution of the UNIDO portfolio in these eight countries in Asia.
As Programme Manager at UNIDO HQs, Vienna, Austria he developed, negotiated and executed technical assistance projects in over 30 countries in Africa and Asia to strengthen capacities in economic analysis and policy design until 2002.



Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl, President, Global Forum for Sustainable Energy (GFSE)
Irene Giner-Reichl has been a member of the Austrian Diplomatic Service since 1982. Her main area of expertise is economic and social development, women’s rights’ issues, environment, energy, and development cooperation. She has held numerous international bureau functions. From 1995 to 1998 she was the director of the international department of the Austrian Ministry for the Environment. From 1998 to 2001 she was Austria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, IAEA, UNIDO and CTBTO in Vienna. From 2001 to 2004 she headed the UNIDO Office in New York in the rank of an Assistant Director General. From 2005 to 2012 she was in charge of Austria’s development policy and cooperation as Director General in the Ministry for European and International Affairs. Since January 2012 she is the Austrian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia.
Irene Giner-Reichl founded the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE) in 1999 as a multi-stake-holder platform for dialogues on energy in the service of sustainable development and acted as Convenor for the GFSE’s global and regional meetings ( Since 2013 she is Vice-President of the REN 21 Steering Committee.




Ms. Andy Wehkamp, Managing Director for Renewable Energy, SNV
Andy Wehkamp was appointed to the SNV Managing Board in April 2013. Starting her career with SNV in 1996, Andy has held a range of positions within the organisation, including Regional Director for West & Central Africa (2011-2012) and Asia (2005-2010), and Country Director for Uganda, Peru and Vietnam. Before joining SNV, Andy held different managerial and policy positions with Oxfam-Novib in the Netherlands and in Central America, and with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  She has a Cum Laude MSc degree in social anthropology from the University of Amsterdam.




Ms. Vanessa Lopes Janik, Operations Officer, Energy Sector Management Assistance Program
Vanessa Lopes Janik joined the World Bank Group in December 2006 and is currently an Operations Officer for the World Bank’s Energy Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) working at the global level across Energy, Gender, and Climate Change issues since 2009. She has specific country level experience on climate adaptation in Mozambique and gender in energy programs in Mali, Senegal and Vietnam. Vanessa Lopes Janik has presented at international forums, and contributed to various publications and country programs. At the regional level, Vanessa co-leads a Gender and Energy program in AFR and contributes to regional initiatives in LAC, SAR, and EAP. Before ESMAP, Vanessa worked with the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and for the World Bank’s Energy, Transport and Water Sector Boards. She holds a Master in Business Administration and Bachelor in International Development, Social Change, and Psychology from Clark University.




Ms. Sophia V. Georgieva, Social Development Specialist Urban, Rural and Social Development Global Practice Europe and Central Asia World Bank
Sophia V. Georgieva is a Social Development Specialist at the World Bank’s Urban, Rural and Social Development Global Practice, where she has worked for the past nine years. Her areas of expertise are in qualitative research, poverty and social impact analysis of reforms, and social inclusion. She has worked across sectors, including energy, water, and transport reforms, climate change adaptation, social inclusion of gender, youth, and minorities. Most recently, Sophia conducted regional research on social impacts of energy subsidy and tariff reforms in eight states Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This research informed country energy policies, and resulted in two World Bank publications:  Adapting to Higher Energy Costs: Public Perspectives and Responses to Rising Energy Costs in Europe and Central Asia and Toward Gender-Informed Energy Subsidy Reforms: Findings from Qualitative Studies in Europe and Central Asia. Prior to that she has developed research on pro-poor energy efficiency in Eastern Europe, and pro-poor climate change adaptation in South and Central America. Sophia has a Master’s degree in Political Science with a focus on Eastern Europe, Eurasia and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Peace/Conflict Studies.



Mr. Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Mahama Kappiah is the Executive Director of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). He was eminent in the establishment of the Centre which aims to ensure increased access to reliable, affordable and clean energy in the West African region. Under his leadership, ECREEE has attained international recognition as a unique regional renewable energy and energy efficiency promotion agency in sub-Saharan Africa, with other regional economic communities such as the EAC and SADC seeking to emulate. Prior to the establishment of ECREEE in 2010, Mahama Kappiah was Head of the ECOWAS Energy Division. Some of his achievements include the creation of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulation Authority (ERERA). Before joining the ECOWAS Commission, he worked in the Planning and Development Department of the Volta River Authority (VRA) of Ghana, where he served in various capacities. Mahama Kappiah is a member of the REN21 Board. He holds a Master of Science degree in Electromechanical Engineering from the Kharkov Polytechnic Institute, Karkov, Ukraine. He has over 20 years of experience working on issues related to energy, environment, climate change and sustainable development in West Africa and internationally.



Ms. Monika Madueke, ECOW-GEN Programme Coordinator, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy (ECREEE)

Monica Maduekwe is the Coordinator for the ECOWAS Programme on Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access (ECOW-GEN) at the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), a programme she established, and is currently overseeing the development of the pioneering ECOWAS Gender and Energy Policy. Monica has extensive international experience in the energy sector having worked as a Regional Coordinator for the GEF-UNIDO Strategic Program for West Africa (SPWA) – Energy Component. She has also worked as a project staff for the regional project on Supporting Energy Efficiency for Access in West Africa (SEEA-WA). Moreover, she has executed consultancy jobs for UNIDO and is experienced in executing the various aspects of clean energy development: policy formulation; capacity building; awareness raising and advocacy; and investment promotion and business development. She has a MSc. degree in Energy Studies with specialization in Energy and the Environment, from the University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom and is a member of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE).




Ms. Elizabeth Cecelski, Senior Technical Advisor, ENERGIA
Elizabeth Cecelski is Advisory Board Senior Policy Adviser and member of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on DfID project at ENERGIA . Since 2003 she is Technical Adviser for Research & Advocacy as well as Consulting Editor for ENERGIA News. As a founding member, and presently member of the Advisory Group Elizabeth Cecelski supported and was responsible for numerous projects on gender mainstreaming in global energy programmes. From 2003-2006, she acted as Principal Investigator for UK Directorate for International Development and ENERGIA KaR Research Programme. Between 2010 and 2014 she was working as Technical Adviser to NORAD on gender mainstreaming in its energy and country programs on clean energy including rural electrification, transmission systems, and petroleum development in Uganda and Tanzania. In 2004 Elizabeth Cecelski received the Pioneer Award by the World Renewable Energy Network rewarding her for her over 30 yearlong work on the challenges in energy and developing countries.


Ms. Caroline Nijland, Director Business Development, Foundation Rural Energy Services (FRES)
Caroline Nijland is Director Business Development of Foundation Rural Energy Services (FRES) in The Netherlands. Since 2007 her principal responsibilities are to find funding for the implementation of rural electrification activities in Sub-Saharan Africa (solar home systems and solar/hybrid mini-grids) and to implement rural electrification activities. As a board member of the 5 FRES companies she supervises their operations to ensure operational excellence. She works closely with international organizations and national governments and development institutions in Africa to implement the activities. She is also since February 2014 board member/Vice President of the Alliance for Rural Electrification in Brussel. Caroline Nijland obtained degrees in the field of Education and International Relations (master) in The Netherlands. From 2000, she became involved in the field of rural electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa and sustainable development and has extensive experience in setting up and managing small scale electricity companies in this field. She is specifically interested in the topic of providing electricity to rural and peri-urban areas through the use of solar energy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her main interests are legal, regulatory, financial and operational topics.




Ms. Wandee Khunchornyakong,  Chairwomen and CEO of the Solar Power Company Group (SPCG), Thailand
Wandee Khunchornyakong is currently Chairwomen and CEO of the Solar Power Company Group (SPCG) and Managing Director of Solar Roof Company Limited. To date, SPCG is the largest solar power generation company in Thailand with solar investments attracting more than USD 800 million. By providing clean energy jobs for women, Solar Power Company Group is directly empowering the next generation of Southeast Asian businesswomen and entrepreneurs who will continue to catalyze renewable energy projects in the developing world. Ms. Khunchomyakong was a pioneer in her field and has over 30 years of experience in the solar industry. In 2013, she was named Women Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards. Nowadays, she is a figured person of the solar energy business as a producer of 36 solar farm projects, totaling capacity of 260 MW and the top of solar farm commercial scale in Thailand and ASEAN. UNFCCC has awarded her to be a Leading women-powered solar energy transformation under the Momentum for Change, 2014 reducing 200,000 tons of CO2 and she has been invited to be a speaker in international forum and universities. Ms. Khunchomyakong holds BA in Laws and MSc in Renewable Energy and Marketing.

Contact points
To discuss the session layout and theme, please kindly contact the following persons.
Ms. Sunyoung SUH, s.suh [at], Energy Branch, UNIDO 
Ms. Katharina PROESTLER, K.Proestler [at], Energy Branch, UNIDO


Jun 20 2015


10:45 am - 12:00 pm


Geheime Ratstube (2015)