Forum on renewable energy, development and gender in rural areas - ESCWA
23 Nov 2021
8:30–16:00

UTC+2 Beirut time

Forum

Forum on renewable energy, development and gender in rural areas

Location
  • Amman, Jordan
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ESCWA's “Regional Initiative for Promoting Small-Scale Renewable Energy Applications in rural areas of the Arab region" (REGEND) aims to improve the livelihoods, economic benefits, social inclusion and gender equality of rural communities in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia. This regional initiative, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, addresses energy poverty, water scarcity, vulnerability to climate change and other challenges related to natural resources. 

Under REGEND, and within the framework of the Eleventh International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, ESCWA, in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture, is organizing a multi-stakeholder forum on the use of small-scale renewable energy technology in entrepreneurial development and gender mainstreaming in productive sectors within rural areas. The objectives are to:

  • Present and reflect on REGEND’s best practices, success stories, and lessons learned and discuss effective and sustainable partnerships for future coordination and collaboration after the initiative's completion;
  • Bring together a diverse range of national stakeholders and assist them to design and implement, in a participatory manner, solutions to the issues and opportunities identified by REGEND;
  • Function as a platform for information exchange and dialogue and stimulate the institutionalization of rural entrepreneurial activities;
  • Assist in the establishment of an active network of practitioners within the productive sectors of rural areas and thus strengthen local capacities to increase the uptake of small-scale renewable energy and attract investment;
  • Develop a strategic agenda on renewable energy and rural development, devising practical projects to spread awareness on renewable energy technologies and their application in integrated sustainable development models for empowering rural women and youth.

Outcome document

Recommendations for the development of a strategic agenda on renewable energy and rural development and the establishment of the network of rural practitioners

  • Develop a strategy to reach a wider range of business owners and entrepreneurs in rural areas.
  • Present project proposals of business owners to investment and financing institutions.
  • Formulate supportive integrated policies as the most effective tool in creating an enabling environment for the adoption of new practices by all stakeholders.
  • Adopt experimentation, learning, continuous monitoring, and adaptability of activities with the availability of new information to serve as inputs for course correction.
  • Continue to provide integrated programs for capacity building, and designing new programs to keep pace with any developments.
  • Expand to attract more relevant stakeholders locally.
  • Expand the REGEND business model by involving different donor institutions nationally, regionally, and internationally.

The presentation covered REGEND’s highlights where the project was selected in 2021 as an SDG Good Practice as well as being featured in the United Nations High Level Dialogue on Energy 2021 Theme Report on Enabling SDGs Through Inclusive, Just Energy Transitions. Moreover, it detailed REGEND’s field projects, capacity building activities, and productive equipment implemented and procured in Jordan along with their concrete impact on the lives of the beneficiaries.

The session delved into the various achieved benefits resulting from REGEND’s integrated business model where the two women presidents of the beneficiary community-based organizations gave their testimony about how the project was able to empower the organizations’ growth, reduce their costs, increase their productivity and income, and enhance the living standards of the community. The session also highlighted how REGEND’s work was able to address multiple SDGs while also enhancing communication and cooperation between the various stakeholders working nationally and on a rural scale.

The session discussed the numerous administrative and operational challenges faced during the implementation and commissioning of REGEND’s small-scale renewable energy field projects and presented the lessons learned that will help facilitate future promotion and implementation of small-scale renewable energy projects in rural areas. Furthermore, special focus was given to the importance of integrating small-scale renewable energy technologies and productive equipment with productive activities and the ensuing benefits. Finally, the indispensability of awareness raising and targeting rural areas with customized awareness campaigns was underlined as a priority to continue promoting small-scale renewable energy technologies in rural areas.

The session’s speakers shared micro-finance and revolving funds success stories which were used for the benefit of rural women and entrepreneurs in various sectors including but not limited to renewable energy, agriculture, and food processing.  On the other hand, the session also shed light on the additional obstacles faced by women in accessing finance and the suggested solutions.

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