Commit more resources into clean energy solutions – Samira Bawumia

The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia, has urged the global community to commit more resources, political will and incorporate more female perspectives into the design and implementation of clean energy solutions.

That she said would enable the world to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) -7  which focuses on universal access to affordable, reliable, and renewable energy by 2030.

She advocated this when she addressed the SDG 7 Energy Access event organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, ENERGIA, and GWNet on Wednesday at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

She was there in her capacity as a “Global Champion” for both the Clean Cooking Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Health and Energy Platform for Action (HEPA).

 The event, moderated by the former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, brought together like-minded stakeholders to discuss clean energy solutions and climate change efforts.

Mrs Bawumia noted that achieving SDG7 would facilitate the achievement of the 16 others, especially those related to gender equality, poverty reduction, health, job creation, climate change, and the protection of the environment.

However, she said multiple data had shown that the world was not on track to achieve any of these targets, including the Energy Progress Report (2021) by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which stated that there was a huge deficit with access to clean cooking solutions.

She said the number of people who lacked access to clean cooking solutions across the globe reduced from 3 billion in 2010 to 2.6 billion in 2019, while in Sub-Saharan Africa only 25 million people (17 per cent of the population) had access to clean cooking solutions.

On the other hand, she said, the number of people without access increased to about 900 million in 2018, as population growth outpaced efforts to provide clean cooking solutions.

“If efforts are not ramped up substantially and quickly, it is estimated that 660 million people will remain without access to electricity, and 2.4 billion without access to clean cooking by 2030,” Mrs Bawumia said.

She said close to 900 million people or around 85 per cent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa lacked clean cooking access, accounting for 35 per cent of the global access deficit.

 With women and girls as the primary consumers, producers, and managers of household energy across the world, she said, they would, alongside children, bear the brunt of the situation by suffering the effects of indoor air pollution-related diseases and be deprived of access to education and career.

“Affordable clean energy is a deeply gendered issue rooted in social inequalities. No serious conversations can be about the achievement of SDG 7 without considerations for women and girls, with a major focus on clean cooking solutions.  We need to mainstream the clean cooking conversation as a development enabler,” she said.

The Second Lady addressed another COP26 event on, “Integrating Short-Lived Climate Pollutants into Climate Actions,” where she outlined how the government was promoting the use of clean cookstoves and the adoption of liquefied petroleum gas as the primary cooking fuel by 2030.  

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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