World Energy Transition Day to kick-start crucial assembly meeting

IRENA, World Energy Transition Day
Image: IRENA

The International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Eleventh Assembly will get underway virtually from today, the opening of which will be marked as World Energy Transition Day. It sets 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.”

World Energy Transition Day will set 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, Antonio Guterres, said: “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 decarbonisation strategies.”

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Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Spain and Minister of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, will be 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,” Ms Ribera said.

“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.

“To us all, IRENA has become a lighthouse in the energy revolution we need. Promoting innovation and widespread adoption of renewables and energy efficiency technologies and encouraging Governments to accelerate the transition. Spain is proud to align with IRENA’s endeavours and I will be honoured to take the lead of its 11th Assembly in 2021.”

Assembly sessions on January 18, 19 and 20 will include a high-level panel on energy transformation for a sustainable post-COVID recovery, followed by four ministerial discussions covering the topics of national energy planning and implementation, scaling up of renewable energy financing, the pathway to carbon neutrality and the role of the energy transition in energising healthcare.

Additionally, conclusions from preliminary stakeholder meetings that took place on January 13 and 14, including IRENA’s Legislators ForumPublic and Private Dialogue and the IRENA Youth Forum, will be reported back to the Assembly. The Assembly, which takes place at the start of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), will be live-streamed on the IRENA website.

“IRENA’s global mandate offers us a unique opportunity to convene global leaders, promote knowledge sharing and create the partnerships needed to advance low-carbon development and realise the immediate and long-term benefits of the transition,” Mr La Camera said.

“The Assembly is at the heart of these efforts.”

For more information on the 11th IRENA Assembly, click here.