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Durban Declaration
by Africa Manager
Africa / US Energy Ministerial Conference & Women in Energy

Durban, South Africa •• Dec. 12, 2000 •• SolarQuest® iNet News Service ••
Women in Energy Ministerial Meeting
11-12 December 2000 Durban
South Africa

We African Ministers (list attached) Responsible for the Development and Utilization of Energy, in partnership with the United States Department of Energy, representatives of International Organizations, Non-governmental Organisations and private sector, having met on 11-12 December 2000 in Durban South Africa, at the occasion of the Women in Energy Ministerial Meeting, which is part of the 2nd Africa US Ministerial Conference to discuss and explore possible policy, financial and socio-economic solutions for problems experienced by African Women with regard to the energy sector;

Recognising that:

  • The underdevelopment and poverty which African Countries experience exacerbate the problems of women in accessing energy;
  • Women are the key main consumers and users of household energy resources and services but are marginalised and should be in the forefront of African energy policy making and formulation;
  • The traditional division of labour negatively impacts on the development of women and the girl-child and this reinforces and perpetuates their poverty and the lack of development in their lives;
  • Rural women’s role in socio-economic development is seriously compromised by the amount of time they spend collecting energy resources;
  • Women are continuously exposed to health and safety risks associated with energy resource collection and use, often suffering serious respiratory ailments and personal safety problems;
  • The Beijing Platform of action called on governments to support the development of equal access for women to sustainable and affordable energy and energy technologies, through participatory needs assessments, energy planning and policy formulation at local and national level; and
  • The over exploitation of biomass leads to negative environmental impacts.

Hereby declare:
  • To support the Beijing Platform of action on energy matters and all other energy related initiatives geared to consolidate the position and status of women in society;
  • To involve more women in decision making and enhance the capacity of women in the energy sector;
  • To support the participation of women in the conceptualization, development and implementation of energy policies, projects and programmes;
  • To review the gender sensitivity of the existing policies and develop national energy policies that are gender sensitive and fully acknowledge the role of women in energy development;
  • To replicate best practices in energy;
  • To support intergrated and sustainable energy development and utilisation which will impact positively on women’s lives in terms of their health, income generation, status and overall welfare;
  • To support endeavors that enable women to participate in, and gain access to, appropriate energy technologies;
  • To support the development and utilisation of energy resources in an environmentally friendly manner; and
  • To prioritize and accelerate programmes of rural electrification to benefit women.

Follow up actions

The U.S. Department of Energy is pleased to contribute to the list of actions coming out of the Women in Energy Ministerial Meeting with a programme designed to enhance the knowledge of a new generation of Women Energy Leaders. The U.S. Department of Energy commits to a training programme in the United States. There, emerging women leaders selected by African Nations can meet to exchange ideas, network, learn, and be exposed to the latest in the U.S. technologies and policy decision making in the energy sector. Utilizing the experience of America’s International Institute of Education (IIE) in energy, the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories and Universities, energy experts will offer a cutting edge programme for African Women.

The World Bank Group including through its partnerships with other donors in the Energy Sector Managenment Assistance Programme (ESMAP), and the Regional Programme in the Traditional Energy Sector(RPTES), commits to supporting the implementation of the Declaration, in particular with respect to capacity building, policy formulation, and knowledge generation and dissemination.

The African Minister of Energy agreed:

  • to communicate the outcome of this conference to their heads of state, development partners and critical departments such as Ministries of Women Affairs, Education, Transport, Communication, Health
  • to facilitate strategies, action plans and programs that benefit women at national and regional levels,
    to review the financial impact and make the necessary planning for the initiative,
  • to encourage financial institutions including micro-credit to facilitate women in accessing modern energy services.
  • to make progress reports annually at the Africa US Energy Ministers meetings.

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