The NAMA project in Georgia is a good example of strengthening civil society involvement and embracing a gender sensitive approach to tackle the challenges of rural energy poverty, unsustainable logging and CO2 emissions. A pilot phase has shown that involvement of both women and men in project planning, capacity building and implementation is crucial for sustainability of and local ownership of NAMA.
Local communities in rural areas of Georgia suffer severe energy poverty and struggle with providing heat and warm water for households’ needs. In general, only one room is heated by a stove, which is also used for cooking and heating up water. All households depend on wood as a source of energy and spend some 30% of their income on energy. Dependency on wood leads to 6500 ha of forest annually depleted by unsustainable logging. This has major implication on environmental calamities, which most severely impact the poor, who are relying on natural resources for their livelihoods.
The burden of collecting firewood and heating the water largely falls on the shoulders of women, who care for the basic needs of the households. A lot of their time is spent on this, but they still don’t meet the energy needs. Moreover, indoor pollution by the stoves has an adverse effect on their health.
In order to actively cope with these challenges, men and women from local communities in cooperation with a coalition of NGOs have stepped together to develop a NAMA (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action) that can provide access to safe and affordable energy. The pilot phase, started 7 years ago was driven by local communities and provided a good basis for implementation of the gender sensitive NAMA. The latter aims to strengthen civil society organizations to foster climate mitigation activities, low-carbon development and poverty reduction in an inclusive and transparent way.
The project foresees the installation of 10.000 energy efficient stoves and 10.000 solar water heaters in 5 rural areas of Georgia. 20.000 families are to gain access to affordable renewable energy and energy efficient systems. This will save costs for heating water and their houses and also increase the quality of living and comfort. The project will reduce the negative impacts on the environment, but has an even stronger social component.
Environmentally, NAMA will contribute to reduction of firewood consumption, saving over 1000 ha of forest per year. Energy efficient stoves will cut the energy consumption by half and the solar water heaters are to provide hot water for free almost year round.
From a social aspect, the project is to substantially unburden men and especially women, by reducing the need for heating water, chopping and carrying fire wood. NGOs have built capacity of local women and men who are involved in the project. Women are mostly involved in monitoring, and maintenance of sustainable development benefits, while men mostly work in construction and installation of technologies.
In the pilot phase, women were not only involved in the implementation processes, but were promoting the benefits of renewable technologies, spreading information in other communities and bringing other people on board. They have become ambassadors in delivering of best practices, and they are free and open to share their experience and support other women.
Overall, the long term experience from the pilot phase shows that a duly enforced bottom-up and inclusive process with equal involvement of women and men contributes greatly to local sustainable goals and ensures ownership of the actions. Facilitating implementation of community driven NAMA will provide that the real needs of men and women are clearly determined and correctly addressed.
What are NAMAs?
Originally conceived in the Bali Action Plan in 2007, NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action) are nationally driven actions, which developing country parties take as a part of their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to domestic sustainable development. Since NAMAs are to be defined in nationally appropriate ways, they may pursue a national or sectoral goal in the form of programs, standards, policies, regulation, financial incentives or project-level actions. They are designed not only to contribute to mitigation, but also adaptation of communities to climate change. The UNFCCC distinguishes between NAMAs that are to be implemented with international support (e.g. technology, financing and capacity-building) and domestically supported NAMAs.
by Anna Samwel
Regional Coordinator Caucasus at Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF)
WECF is an international network of over 150 women’s, environmental and health organisations empowering women for a just, healthy & sustainable world
For more information about this project, please contact Anna Samwel via email@example.com