Achieving the energy transition in Latin America and the Caribbean is a key step of the regional low-carbon pathway. However, it requires a strong commitment from multiple sectors. Both, government and the private sector must invest in renewable and sustainable energy, considering a long-term vision and the commitment to the Paris Agreement. Decarbonizing the energy sector, including clean transportation and energy efficiency, are essential elements of climate change mitigation in LAC. A recent IDB study found that achieving the Paris Agreement goals in LAC would require realigning 7% to 19% of GDP, representing up to US$1.3 trillion worth of private and public spending every year for infrastructure and social programs.
The development of renewable energy in the region is essential not only to tackle climate change but also to generate inclusive employment: according to IRENA, more than 80% of the new jobs created in the decarbonization plan would be in male-dominated sectors, however, renewable energy employs globally about 32% women, compared to 22% in the energy sector overall, additionally, within renewables, women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs is far lower compared to administrative positions.
Achieving a just and inclusive energy transition
While there are multiple aspects to consider in achieving an inclusive and sustainable transition, having a holistic framework that includes a gender perspective, the participation of indigenous people and local communities, and the engagement of the younger generation is key to successfully implementing the programs.
Ensuring national ownership, and the adequate inclusion of different stakeholders empowers them and enhances the viability and implementability of renewable projects. The democratization of energy access can be achieved through information and knowledge sharing, as well as articulating the creation of networks, learning communities, and decentralized grassroots movements.
With a primary focus on the 7th Sustainable Development Goal, it is vital to consider a local framework for the global agendas to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. One example is that energy democratization is not only about access to electricity but also about transferring technology from developed to developing countries, and ensuring local contexts are taken into consideration.
Leading the Tide
To showcase how women in the region are transforming the climate agenda and hear their stories, the IDB launched the podcast Leading the Tide: Women’s Voices on Climate Change Action. Each episode will feature a climate topic and the different perspectives of woman leaders in our region who will narrate their experiences, struggles and why is it important to include and recognize women in this agenda.
This is the third episode of “Leading the Tide” (Liderando la Marea) Podcast and our two guests, Eduarda Zoghbi and Joyce Najm Mendez share with us how they have paved their path, their experiences, and ideals. In addition, our guests will glimpse how they are trailblazing the energy transition in Latin America and the Caribbean. Listen to the full episode of Leading the Tide and follow our episodes with different regional experts.
Don’t miss our past episodes here: the first episode of Leading the Tide: Women’s Voices on Climate Action and second episode of Leading the Tide: Women’s Voices on Climate Action “Exceptional Women Revolutionizing the Caribbean through Climate-Smart Projects”.
Eduarda Zoghbi is a political scientist with a Master’s in Energy Policy from Columbia University. She serves as Director of the Women in Energy Brazil program from Columbia Global Center Rio, developing activities supporting women’s entry into the energy workforce. Over the last year, Eduarda served as an energy and gender consultant at Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). She worked on electricity access policies and mainstreaming gender in energy projects to achieve SDG 7. She is a Fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Women Leaders in Energy and recipient of the “Global Youth Visionary” awards and the North American Association for Environmental Education “30 Under 30”. Before graduate school, Eduarda was a climate change consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank in Brazil. She worked with the Brazilian government to manage and implement projects related to sustainable infrastructure, green finance, forestry, and agriculture.
Joyce Najm Mendez is a Technoxamanist, TEDx lecturer, and social entrepreneur working on transboundary cooperation in the water-energy-food nexus. Graduate Student in Sustainability and Adaptation Planning at the Centre of Alternative Technologies. She is the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Focal Point for the SDG7 Youth Constituency, also part of the Youth Advisory Panel of the Global Center on Adaptation, and a member of the IRENA’s Director-General’s Global Council on Enabling Youth Action SDG7. Currently, she is a climate change consultant for UNICEF NY – Paraguay. Joyce has co-founded several organizations and grassroots movements locally and regionally (Latin America), emphasizing energy justice, tackling mainly the areas of sustainability, Adaptation–Mitigation of Climate Change through education, empowerment, and research.
Check out the third episode of Leading the Tide: Women’s Voices on Climate Action on this link
Check out other episodes here.