European Sustainable Energy Award given to our colleague Katharina

Our valued colleague, Katharina Habersbrunner, was recognized last month for her longstanding and exceptional commitment to a gender-sensitive energy policy. The European Commission’s award as part of the EU Sustainable Energy Awards recognized both goal and the values ​​of her work at once: gender equality grounded in a sustainable energy transition.

Her commitment to the decentralized energy transition in Europe and the global South, in order to guarantee both women and men access to affordable and clean energy and to enable them to actively participate in the energy transition, is limitless. Yet she is full of optimism: “I am deeply convinced that we can achieve the Paris Agreement by 2030 with a gender just and socially just energy transition”.

Reducing number of low-energy households

Katharina supports the development of mini-grids and sustainable decentralized briquette production in Ethiopia, Uganda and Eastern Europe. She also initiates and promotes new, decentralized energy communities in Africa, Eastern Europe and Germany. All of which are encouraged to produce and consume renewable energy and to sell any surplus in order to participate in the entire energy supply chain. Above that, Katharina is currently working on a H2020 project called “EmpowerMED” to reduce the 50 million low-energy households in the Mediterranean, most of which are single women or households run by women. Because low-energy households are also more affected by negative health aspects. In addition, the aim of this project is to provide political decision-making aids and practical recommendations for both local and EU-wide bodies to reduce energy-poor households.

Transfer knowledge among women in the energy sector

In all of her diverse climate and energy projects, Katharina is utterly committed to respect human rights and gender equality in order to implement just climate and energy policies. She is convinced that we all must make great efforts and use all available resources and potentials to achieve the climate and energy goals set in the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. Therefore, she uncompromisingly obliged herself to build up capacity & transfer knowledge among women in the energy sector. In this Katharina uses communication which includes all genders in order to build coherent bridges between cross-sectoral policy fields. Despite good agreements such as the EU Gender Equality Strategy and the 2030 Agenda, Katharina is certain that these alone are not enough: “What we need is the coherence between the existing framework conditions and the sectors, for example by including gender mainstreaming and gender-specific climate protection measures in the EU Green Deal ”. Colleagues and partners alike appreciate Katharina’s extensive expertise, her positive attitude and far-reaching successes, which she has achieved through her outstanding commitment.

Congratulations dear Katharina!