NAIROBI, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- A United Nations official on Saturday called for support towards availing sustainable, affordable and clean energy to help empower African women.
Frank Turyatunga, Deputy Regional Director at the UN Environment African Office, said that such support could enable them acquire opportunities to improve their lives.
"Since women bear the burden of energy poverty, their involvement is critical to the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's)," Turyatunga said during a forum on innovative solutions to empower Africa women in energy sector.
The official called for financial and technical support to help them become entrepreneurs in sustainable energy.
He observed that affordable, clean, sustainable, reliable modern energy services and gender equality are a critical development-enabler for Africa by creating solutions to climate crisis.
"These are also essential for ensuring the global SDGs 2030 and African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 - The Africa We Want are achieved," he added.
He noted that women face significant health and safety risks from household air pollution, carrying heavy fuel loads and lack of lighting.
Turyatunga noted that even though African women's current participation in decision-making and policy processes as well as in the labor force in the energy sector is low, they are powerful agents of change in the transition to clean energy as sustainable energy entrepreneurs.
"Women can be essential drivers in avoiding future emissions and thereby actively contribute to climate change mitigation hence the need to exploit their potential as entrepreneurs," he said.
The UN official called on the developing countries to deviate from "Business as Usual Scenario" and get a paradigm shift by providing innovative environmental solutions.
He told the countries to invest and promotes clean energy, energy efficiency, start innovative financing schemes and invest in education, research and development.
"The countries also need to improve on technology development and transfer, partner with the private sector to finance innovation and harmonize policies," he added.
According to the World Health Organization, about 600,000 people die in the continent each year as a result of household air pollution and that about 60 percent of these victims are women.