Jakarta – In recent years, the world has witnessed a significant shift in the global economic paradigm, particularly in the transition from a fossil fuel economy to a low-carbon economy. Governments worldwide are taking necessary steps to develop policies and regulations to accelerate the growth of green and renewable energy. In 2022, global investment will reach a record $1.11 trillion, involving businesses, financial institutions, governments and end users. Despite this, women and marginalized groups remain left out of the discourse and strategic decision-making on the energy transition.

The just energy transition discourse highlights the importance of justice, equity, and inclusion principles in the energy sector while addressing social inequalities. Unfortunately, vulnerable groups, such as households with the lowest incomes, female-headed families, and remote rural communities, still face access and participation constraints in utilizing renewable energy sources. This creates inequalities that must be addressed so that the energy transition leaves no one behind.

A just energy transition must empower women and vulnerable groups while respecting their rights. A commitment from all stakeholders, including governments, companies, and civil society, to actively involve women and vulnerable groups in decision-making is therefore crucial. Organizations run by women or focused on women’s rights also need to build capacity to serve as critical partners in ensuring an inclusive energy transition and protecting the most affected groups.

On November 21-22, 2023, Oxfam Indonesia, through the Fair Finance Asia program, held a series of follow-up workshops themed “Strengthening the Role of Women’s Organizations in Advocating for Fair Energy Transition Financing,” involving 20 women’s organizations and institutions engaged in energy transition financing issues, including Publish What You Pay (PWYP Indonesia), which are expected to formulate advocacy directions for civil society organizations. The objectives of this activity include an in-depth understanding of the situation of women and vulnerable groups in energy transition policies and programs, discussions on opportunities and challenges for gender mainstreaming in advocacy, and strengthening the role and leadership of women in leading the discourse and advocacy agenda for sustainable financing at the national and regional levels.

In the workshop, Mouna Wasef, Head of the Research & Advocacy Division of PWYP Indonesia, provided several notes on civil society practices and lessons learned in promoting just energy transition and sustainable finance. She explained that Indonesia has shown its determination to face the challenges of climate change and energy transition by formulating a gender mainstreaming policy that includes several key initiatives. One of the key initiatives is Indonesia’s Long-Term Strategy for Low Carbon and Climate Resilience (LTS-LCCR) 2050 document. This document highlights the importance of effective and inclusive energy transition and climate-resilient development. The LTS-LCCR 2050 requires an adequate workforce transition, creating decent and quality jobs, and meeting the needs of gender equality and equity in intergenerational and vulnerable groups.

In 2016, Indonesia signed the Paris Agreement and has set its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) as its commitment. The 2016 NDC emphasized concrete actions to address climate change and mainstreamed gender equality, women’s empowerment, and intergenerational equity. This commitment was renewed in the Enhanced NDC 2021, which reaffirms the importance of reducing emissions by involving stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society, vulnerable groups, women, indigenous peoples, and local communities in all planning and implementation stages.

The G20’s Bali Energy Transition Roadmap is an essential milestone in determining priority strategies for scaling up intelligent and clean energy technologies. The roadmap adopts vital principles for a just and inclusive energy transition. The focus includes employment, social and economic development, community engagement, gender equality, behavioral aspects, quality of life, eliminating energy poverty, and integrating young people in decision-making.

In line with these steps, Mouna also explained several policy recommendations to strengthen the mainstreaming of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) in Indonesia’s energy transition. One is the need to issue a Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Regulation regulating GEDSI and its technical operations to increase stakeholders’ compliance in the energy sector. The development of a GEDSI roadmap and funding allocation was implemented to measure the achievements of GEDSI integration and aligned with the time scenario towards Net Zero Emission.

Other measures involve providing data specifications for vulnerable groups in energy transition-affected areas, from village to provincial levels, to support targeted GEDSI policies. Inter-agency cooperation, including the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and non-ministerial organizations, is necessary to achieve gender equality in the energy transition. Finally, adding GEDSI working groups that work on an ad hoc basis and by the 3-5 year needs evaluation provides space for women’s organizations, disability group organizations, and women’s rights advocacy organizations to be actively involved in policy formulation. Through this series of steps, Indonesia is expected to commit to realizing an energy transition that is sustainable but also fair and inclusive and considers aspects of gender equality and social sustainability.

Author: Raudatul Jannah
Reviewer: Aryanto Nugroho