The International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) 11th Assembly started today (Monday) and takes place virtually setting the course for a critical year of global commitments to low-carbon development.
With the postponed COP26 set to take place later this year, 2021 is seen as an important moment for countries to raise climate mitigation ambition including renewable energy deployment, to align economic recovery efforts with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“The COVID-19 pandemic defined 2020,” said Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General. “However, as countries look to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic and build back in a way that is more resilient, just and sustainable, we can define this year as the moment we placed the energy transition at the heart of global policy and investment decision making.”
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The opening day of the Assembly, marked as World Energy Transition Day, sets the direction for four days of high-level discussions on net-zero policies, national energy planning, renewable energy investment and the energy-healthcare nexus, from January 18-21.
Close to 2000 high level attendees including Heads of State, Ministers, energy decision makers, multilateral organisations, international stakeholders, and private sector actors will engage in Assembly meetings under the overarching theme of ‘COVID19 – Energy Transition‘.
United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, told Ministers and global leaders at the Assembly: “The trillions of dollars needed for recovery from the pandemic must be simultaneously used to move our economies towards net-zero emissions.
“We must build a global coalition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Renewable technologies are the first choice for decarbonization strategies.”
Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Spain and Minister of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, is the President of the Assembly.
“We are all well aware of the pressing need to change gears towards a sustainable energy future: with over 70 per cent of GHG emissions coming from this sector, the energy transition plays a key role in managing the global climate emergency,” said H.E. Teresa Ribera.
“Developing countries, economies in transition and highly industrialised countries all have huge opportunities in the decarbonisation of their development pathways: energy access and security, sound economic growth, industry modernisation, job creation.