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UN Panel: Women Leaders Required for Smooth Transition to Clean Energy

A panel discussion hosted by UN Women and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which together implement the Empower: Women for Climate-Resilient Societies programme, emphasised the significance of women’s leadership in Asia’s transition to renewable energy.

The 5th United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, Asia-Pacific, took place on June 8, 2023 in Bangkok, and the conversation focused on utilising women’s leadership to accelerate the just energy transition.

The panellists, all women, included Alice Jipius, Manager of Tonibung, a renewable energy organisation run by indigenous people in Malaysia, Duong Khanh Ly, Director of Nghia Ta Cooperative in the Bac Kan Province of Vietnam, Kathy-Thuy Nguyen, Country Director for Viet Nam of Impact Investment Exchange, a Singapore-based company, and Amira Bilqis, Analyst of Modelling and Policy Planning at the ASEAN Centre for Energy, Indonesia. (ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has 10 members.)

Duong is a beneficiary of EmPower, a project sponsored by the Swedish Government that safeguards women and girls from natural disasters and climate change, and the ASEAN Centre is a programme partner.

AnnaMaria Oltorp, Head of Development Cooperation, Regional Asia and the Pacific section, Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, introduced the topic by pointing out that the area was particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its high reliance on natural resources. The usage of renewable energy can reduce the risks, but it must be founded on inclusiveness and equity principles, she said.

“The just energy transition is crucial to address the climate crisis while also ensuring that women and marginalized groups are not left behind in the transition,” she added.

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