IRENA’s inaugural Youth Forum was be held on 10 January 2020, in the margins of the Agency’s tenth Assembly. Structured under the theme Renewables beyond 2030: The Key Role of Youth in the Global Energy Transformation, the Agency’s first major event for and by the youth recognised the vital role that young people play in achieving climate stability and advancing the sustainable development agenda and energy transformation at large.
Through a series of interactive sessions that facilitated the exchange of ideas amongst youth, as well as between youth and government representatives alongside other thought leaders of the energy transition, participants were able to initiate concrete contributions to the global energy discourse, while identifying ways for youth to stay up-to-date and informed of the latest developments in the renewable energy sector with a view to amplifying their voice and actions in supporting renewables.
The IRENA Youth Forum also showcased how increasing the share of renewables in the global energy mix can be an effective instrument to address socio-economic challenges, support the development of innovative solutions and foster global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Discussions facilitated in three thematic topics:
(1) Innovation and Renewables
(2) Adaptation and Mitigation Efforts and the Role of Renewables
(3) Socio-economic Benefits of Renewable Energy
Read more about the outcome of the IRENA Youth Forum here.
The IRENA Youth Forum was open to youth of a minimum age of 16 years. The event strived for global and balanced geographical representation of youth, and highly encouraged participation from youth in LDCs, SIDS and developing countries.
The pioneer group of youth comprised over 45 participants who were selected through a competitive process based on rigorous criteria.
Applications for the IRENA Youth Forum were open between 21 September to 25 October, 2019.
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Young people are key agents for social change, economic growth, environmental protection and technological innovation. As countries across the world continue to take bold steps towards decarbonising their energy systems, the need to include youth in the energy transformation is becoming increasingly clear. Today's youth will lead the sustainable development agenda of tomorrow. It will be incumbent upon them to inject renewed momentum into the global energy and development discourse, and it is therefore only fit that they have a seat at the table.
In view of this, IRENA has actively pursued youth engagement initiatives including the GROWTH@IRENA summer trainee programme, which gives undergraduate students the opportunity to gain practical experience by working with the Agency; the IRENA Student Trainee Programme to support Governing Body Meetings, in which high school students assist the Secretariat during the IRENA Council Meetings and Assembly Sessions; and the Youth Circle at the World Future Energy Summit, wherein students engage in dialogue with representatives and experts in the renewable energy sector.
IRENA’s aim to spread awareness on the multiple benefits of renewable energy is not limited to information dissemination alone – the Agency strives to ensure that various stakeholders including the youth are given a platform to voice their input, and that their voice propels the renewable energy discourse to greater heights.