IRENA endorses global energy transition forum as part of COVID-19 recovery

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Striving to spur energy transition as integral part of COVID-19 recovery, members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) approved on January 21 the establishment of a new, vision-building Global High-Level Forum on Energy Transition.

The decision concludes the Agency’s annual Assembly which brought together over 2000 participants from Members and partners in a virtual meeting from January 18 to January 21.

According to the Abu Dhabi-based organisation, to maintain the political momentum for green recovery in 2021, the new Forum intends to accelerate energy transition action from countries, industry, business, investors, academia and visionaries. It will focus on three overarching themes for 2021 such as building recovery efforts on energy transition, increasing renewables in health and food as well as driving net-zero strategies in line with the Paris Agreement, IRENA said.

The Forum is expression of countries’ reaffirmation of the Agency’s strategic mandate entrusted in 2018 to lead on energy transitions and reflects the crucial role renewable energy plays in meeting development and climate goals as outlined in IRENA’s “Post-COVID recovery: An agenda for resilience, development and equality”. Open to its 163 Members and 21 States in Accession, the Forum will be presided by the President of the Assembly and convened at least once ahead of every Assembly.

“This Assembly has shown that energy transition has risen to the forefront of the global agenda,” IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said. “Our discussions on recovery have underscored the urgency to intensify and strengthen international cooperation and take action on energy transitions. This year will be crucial in our collective ability to make a lasting difference,” he added.

“I hope the new Forum will provide governments and partners with a global platform to strengthen cooperation and identify solutions to respond to the effects of the pandemic and advance net-zero strategies. It is IRENA’s primary task to empower our Members with knowledge and tools to translate the opportunities that energy transitions offer into policies, strategies and results,” La Camera said.

The Forum will be guided by first-hand insights from the investment, business and finance community, reflecting Members request to open new and strengthen existing cooperation with the private sector in support of IRENA’s investment and policy agenda for energy transitions.

Members also requested IRENA to support country-led actions in the preparation and follow up of the High-Level Energy Dialogue convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in September and in the run-up to the Climate Conference COP26 in December.

Furthermore, IRENA Members recognised the forerunner role of IRENA’s socio-economic and policy analysis and urged the Agency to provide continuous support and guidance to government decision making for green recovery and promoting a just and inclusive transition.

They also recognised continued leading role of IRENA in providing cutting-edge knowledge and innovation toward net-zero targets, urging for new global solutions on end-use decarbonisation like green hydrogen.

The members also approved the IRENA’s global investment and financing agenda prioritising investments in renewables, efficiency, infrastructure and innovation, urging the continued facilitation of financing and projects in IRENA Member countries including the most vulnerable communities through initiatives like the Climate Investment Platform.

Finally, IRENA recognised the launch of new partnerships to leapfrog renewable technologies to drive the energy-health and energy-agriculture nexus as well as the resilience of remote communities.

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