The 72nd session of the UN General Assembly week yielded an array of eye-opening events, calling for partner governments, global leaders, and the private sector to address core issues in the developing world. From the Social Good Summit, to the UN Secretary-General’s remarks on Women’s Economic Empowerment, a trend is at the surface: when clean cooking is addressed, overall health of women and children is improved; women are lifted and empowered within their own communities leading to better economic status; and further environmental issues are prevented. 

Here are key highlights from the week:

Voices for Change: Women, Health, & Environment panel at Social Good Summit

As part of the United Nations General Assembly week, the Social Good Summit focused on where we are headed and the goals we want to achieve by 2030 with the help of technology and new media. An intersection of global leaders, the Summit brought together a panel on Voices for Change: Women, Health, & Environment, in which Alliance’s Ambassador Rocky Dawuni and Martha Isabel “Pati” Ruiz Corzo spoke on the importance of SDGs, clean cooking, the environment, and the power of music. “Music creates a space to bring people together to create something larger than themselves,” said Dawuni. 

We The Future

On September 21st, The Skoll Foundation, TED, and United Nations Foundation partnered to host “We the Future: Accelerating Sustainable Development Solutions” in New York. The event brought together innovators from around the globe to showcase and discuss bold models of systemic change that have been proven and applied on a local, regional, and global scale -bringing us a step closer to achieving the SDGs and a better future for all.

The Alliance's CEO Radha Muthiah moderated the “Model for Change: Shifting Behavior” panel centered around clean cooking and behavior change. The panelist included Alliance Ambassador Rocky Dawuni; Orode Doherty, Country Director of Africare Nigeria; and Kate Lloyd Morgan, Co-Founder of Mediae.

Key themes:

Addressing Clean Cooking: CEO Radha Muthiah stated that clean cooking is at the core of central issues in the developing world: “If the Sustainable Development Goals are truly not going to leave anyone behind, we have to address this issue of clean cooking. If we are looking to ensure a world where growth is sustainable for our planet, we have to address the issue of clean cooking. If we are to engage women inclusively and equitably in all of our societies and all of our productive engagements, we have to address this issue of clean cooking,” she added.

Behavior Change: Raising awareness and behavior change becomes a central part of the equation. Getting consumers to change their behavior regarding their cooking needs comes down to making them aware of the overarching benefits of switching to cleaner, more effective cooking solutions.

The solution starts with the user: Developing clean cooking solutions through innovation and expansion of the cookstove marketplace will provide consumers with ample options, and meet their core needs and wants.

Time Poverty: UN Secretary-General António Gutierres Emphasizes Power of Women 

At the High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the change in power dynamics when women are central to inclusive development and empowerment.  “[Women] are paid on average 23 per cent less than men and carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work. This is not only detrimental to women, it represents a loss for society as a whole,” remarked Mr. Guterres while calling on governments, the private sector, multilateral institutions and others to take the Panel’s guidance into actions.

SEforAll releases “Energizing Finance” report

Joined by ministers from Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) formally launched its “Energizing Finance” report series at the United Nations aimed at advancing universal energy access goals by 2030. The report revealed a huge gap in funding of energy and clean cooking access in recent “Energizing Finance” report series. The research discovered that current lack of funding in the sector will largely hinder accomplishment of 2030 global goals, but also offers key insight and recommendations to support and boost institutions more effectively. An estimated investment of around 4B per year is needed to provide clean cooking solutions to those who need it.