Brussels, 13 July 2022/OACPS/ACP-EU JPA: The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, held its first Women’s Forum for 2022, themed, ‘The role of Women in innovative and green economy’ on 12 July 2022.

The virtual meeting was co-chaired by Hon. Clifford Andre of the Seychelles and Hon. Max Orville of Martinique. The Speakers at the virtual meeting were: Maria Elena Ruiz Abril of UN Women, Mary Collins of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), and Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH).

The first speaker, Ms Maria Elena Ruiz Abril, Policy Advisor on Women’s Economic Empowerment at the Regional Office for West and Central Africa of UN Women, presented highlights of a report on ‘Green jobs for women in Africa’, and addressed not only women’s access to the green economy, but also described some of the barriers to access for women, such as access to finance and funding. Looking at policy interventions necessary for a gender transformative green economy transition, she spoke of the need to get women ready to access the green economy and strategies to level the playing fields, to allow women-led businesses to access green jobs.

Green jobs for Women in Africa

Ms Mary Collins of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), called for robust gender mainstreaming, to help create better policies that respond to the needs of all citizens. She stressed that this included the installation of a gender lens at the beginning of every policy to give women a greater place in the green economy.

The final speaker, Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, a wildlife veterinarian and Chief Executive Officer of her own Foundation based in Uganda, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), presented her own conservation journey, giving a first-hand view of the difference women can make to nature preservation and the evolution of the project. During her presentation she also highlighted the importance of female role models to inspire and broaden the gates for the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators in the green economy.

Green economies are defined as economies that result in improved human well-being and social equity, while at the same time significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

Green economy, understood either as a goal or a structural adjustment process to greener industrialization, agriculture, service sector and scientific and technological development, must not be seen as an end in itself, but as a pathway towards sustainable development and poverty eradication. In this context, it is clear that women’s participation in inclusive, sustainable and green economy can propel growth. Women are consumers, they are also workers and producers, and in this context, they play a crucial role to promote the growth of green and innovative economies and to reap the benefits from them.

The next Women’s Forum is due to take place in Mozambique at the in-person ACP-EU JPA in Mozambique at the end of October 2022.