Welcoming Remarks by UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Sukhrob Khojimatov

October 17, 2023
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan/Batyr Aubakirov

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, and esteemed colleagues, 

I am honored to join you all today and celebrate the newly established Women for Just Transition Network powered by Qazaq Green Association and supported by UNDP. 

Let me also use this opportunity to thank representatives of the Parliament, Ministries, civil society, and academia who carved time to contribute to this important topic. We deeply appreciate your support.

I also extend my gratitude to the gender advocates within the diplomatic corps, Her Excellencies Kathy Leach and Monica Iversen. Their dedication to women's empowerment aligns seamlessly with UNDP's mission, and we are honored to have them alongside us in this pivotal journey.

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to UNDP's Global Director of Gender Equality, Raquel Lagunas, and our Regional Gender Advisor, Corneliu Eftodi. Their expertise has been instrumental in ensuring the success of this event. Welcome to Kazakhstan!

Going back to the topic of our today’s event let me start by emphasizing the following - women’s role in just and inclusive transition pertains not only to the present but the future of our society.

Just a week ago, the world community recognized the groundbreaking work of Professor Claudia Goldin, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics. Goldin's research underscores a significant expansion in the gender pay gap following a woman's first childbirth, signaling the broader economic challenges women face, especially as they enter motherhood. 

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global additions of renewable power capacity are expected to increase by 107 gigawatts (GW) in 2023, marking the largest absolute increase ever. This strong growth is attributed to various factors, including policy momentum, higher fossil fuel prices, and concerns about energy security. Such a breakthrough in capacity increase also results in a concurrent expansion of the labor market within this sector. More than ever before, gender equality issues are gaining increasing relevance and significance.

IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook 2022 report, by 2030 there will be 139 million jobs in the energy sector worldwide. Of those jobs, 38.2 million will be in renewable energy and 74.2 million in other energy transition-related sectors. This offers a chance to reskill and upskill a varied and balanced transition workforce. Leveraging women’s participation as change agents can encourage, influence, and speed up the energy transformation.

IEA statistics shows that on average, there are 76% fewer women than men working in the energy sector, a significant difference from the average 8% gap seen in the total workforce, according to 2018 data from 29 countries (22 IEA members). The average gender wage gap conditional on skills in the energy sector among those countries is approximately -15%, meaning women working in the sector earn 15% less than men, even when controlling for skill level.

The recent analytical research conducted by UNDP Kazakhstan scrutinizes the renewable energy sector (RES) from a gender perspective. The study revealed room for certain institutional, legal, and educational transformations. You will hear more about the findings and recommendations later today.

To realize a truly sustainable and equitable economic transition Kazakhstan must prioritize women's economic empowerment and ensure their active participation and leadership in a policy and decision-making. Given Kazakhstan's demographic shifts and its ambitions to transition to a low-carbon economy, it's imperative to address such gender-specific challenges now. 

It is not only a matter of justice but also essential for achieving Kazakhstan's environmental and economic aspirations framed by the Sustainable Development Goals. I am proud that today's workshop organized by UNDP, brings this matter forward.

In Kazakhstan, our commitment to assisting the nation in fulfilling its gender equality goals remains unwavering. We prioritize initiatives that amplify women's voices in decision-making, enhance their competitiveness in the labor market, elevate them to leadership roles within the private sector, and fortify efforts to combat gender-based violence.

UNDP's pioneering approach, showcased through the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions, is actively presented to the Kazakhstani government to foster productive collaborations in this domain. This robust initiative evaluates public institutions against internationally recognized criteria, providing a tangible and effective blueprint for fostering gender-responsive development – a significant response to gender inequality not only in terms of talent pool, but recipients of public goods.

To sum up, I personally believe that jointly, we can turn all these recommendations into actionable steps, ensuring that the empowerment of women is not just a conversation but a lived reality. Let us work together to overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and make meaningful strides towards gender equality.

I am sure that discussions with key stakeholders and learning sessions will equip this network with actionable solutions and ignite positive change in our society and beyond.

Thank you. Kop rakhmet.