ESMAP Panel | Sectoral Perspectives from the World Bank - Climate Change, Gender, Energy and Regional Experiences

August 2013 | Meridian International Center, Washington DC


Pacific Women Climate Leaders gathered in Washington DC for the US State Department International Visitors Program event in August 2013. Women and men often have different perception of disaster risks, face different vulnerabilities, and are tasked with different roles in disaster emergencies. To help bring in program and project experiences, ESMAP organized a panel on Sectoral Perspectives from the World Bank - Climate Change, Gender, Energy and Regional Experiences chaired by Justin Sosne, US Department of State.

The panel commenced with an overview presentation on the World Bank's Engagement on Climate Change by Nancy Chaarani Meza the World Bank's Climate Change department. Key messages were presented from Turn Down the Heat report, a snapshot of the latest climate science prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute in Germany, which says we are on a path to a 4°C (7.2°F) warmer world by the end of this century under current greenhouse gas emissions pledges. The report provides a clear picture of the devastating impacts on agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, and human health. While every region will be affected, those least able to adapt - the poor and most vulnerable - would be hit hardest. The presentation also covered the various initiatives taking place on Climate Change across the World Bank Group and how gender is highlighted as a cross cutting theme across the Climate Investment Funds.

The second presentation focused on the Social and Gender Dimensions of Climate Change where Margaret Arnold from the World Bank's Social Development department emphasized that climate change projections do not allow us to fully take informed decisions, especially on the social dimensions, leading us to often make decisions under uncertainty, requiring holistic analysis, flexibility and participation. There are multiple actions to strengthening the resilience of the poor including supporting community driven development and understanding the gender dimensions of climate change to empower women as resilience champions. As the focus moves away from women's vulnerability to emphasize their agency and capacity to act, women's organizations can impact disaster risk management and resilience efforts.

The third presentation provided an overview of the East Asia and Pacific Gender and Disaster Risk Management program where Zuzana Staton-Geddes from the EAP region focused on the example of country-led activities in the Solomon Islands. There, in an effort to breach some of the barriers between women and men responsible for disaster response, the World Bank supported the National Disaster Management Office through a series of pilot trainings. From May 2012 to June 2013, four workshops were held in Gizo, the Wester Province, in Kirakira, Makira-Ulawa Province, in Tulagi, the Central Islands, and in Auki in the Malaita Province. The training was been designed to give participants a solid understanding of the different needs and capacity of various groups in the society; and to use this knowledge in the development or revision of provincial Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for emergency response. The training has been adapted to the needs of each province, drawing on the series of Guidance Notes Making Women’s Voices Count: Integrating Gender Issues in Disaster Risk Management in East Asia and Pacific  and the regional Companion to the World Development Report on Gender. The country-activity is part of a broader program supported by AusAID through the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific Infrastructure for Growth Trust Fund (EAAIG).

The last presentation highlighted ESMAP's work on Integrating Gender Issues within the Energy Sector highlighting experiences from the Africa region and the various resources and tools developed. In the energy sector, women and men often have vastly different experiences of the risks, benefits and impacts of energy projects – from access to benefits in terms of jobs, compensation and community investment; to decision making roles for new energy technologies; to access to finance to pay for electricity services. Understanding the differing roles of women and men within markets, communities and households allows teams to develop projects which provide space for both men and women to participate and benefit. The panel closed with a video (link) showcasing the experience of Senegal's rural energy program which now includes women in the decision-making process, improving their lives and that of their families.



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