The 11th annual session of the IRENA Assembly convened virtually, focusing on promoting green pandemic recovery and mobilizing investments to support the global energy transition.
The Global High-Level Forum on Energy Transition, approved by the Assembly, will meet at least once per year with the intention of accelerating energy transition action across stakeholders.
Four ministerial plenary meetings and four stakeholder meetings convened to engage legislators, youth, and the private sector to share best practices on issues related to scaling up renewable investments and implementing policies to expand access to sustainable affordable energy.
During its annual session, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly launched a Global High-Level Forum on Energy Transition to accelerate energy transition action from countries, industry, investors, academia, and visionaries. The Assembly also convened high-level dialogues focused on green COVID-19 recovery and mobilizing renewable energy investments.
Comprised of 163 member States, the IRENA Assembly provides a “global platform for inclusive and diverse discussions on all facets of the energy transition.” Its 11th session took place virtually, from 18-21 January 2021, under the theme, ‘COVID-19 – Energy Transition,’ bringing together 2,000 attendees, including Heads of State, ministers, multilateral organizations, global stakeholders, and private actors.
To maintain the political momentum for green recovery in 2021, in its first year, the Global High-Level Forum on Energy Transition will focus on three themes: building recovery efforts on the energy transition; increasing renewable energy in health and food; and driving net-zero strategies in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. The forum will be guided by first-hand insights from the investment, business, and finance community. It is open to all IRENA’s 163 member States and 21 States in accession, will be presided over by the President of the Assembly, and will convene at least once ahead of each Assembly session.
“Our discussions on recovery have underscored the urgency to intensify and strengthen international cooperation and take action on energy transitions,” stated IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. “This year will be crucial in our collective ability to make a lasting difference,” he said.
Four ministerial plenary meetings engaged ministers and high-level Assembly participants in discussions around four themes: National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition; Scaling up Finance for Renewables; Renewables and Pathway to Carbon Neutrality – Innovation, Green Hydrogen and Socioeconomic Policies; and Driving the Agenda for Energizing Healthcare.
In collaboration with multilateral partners, IRENA also organized stakeholder meetings to connect policymakers, experts, innovators, and civil society representatives to share best practices regarding the energy transformation and sustainable development. These meetings included a Legislators Forum, a Public-Private Dialogue, and a Youth Forum, as well as a side event to present an overview of the High-Level Dialogue on Energy, a summit-level event planned for the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2021. [IRENA Press Release] [IRENA Assembly Executive Overview] [11th Session of IRENA Assembly Webpage] [Watch on Demand: Day 1] [Watch on Demand: Day 2] [Watch on Demand: Day 3]
By Gabriel Gordon-Harper, Thematic Expert on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy