IRENA at UNGA73: Renewables Central to Global Climate and Sustainable Development Objectives


 Photo Credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe

As leaders meet in New York for their annual gathering, IRENA is actively engaging with states and stakeholders during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. This year’s theme, Making the United Nations Relevant to all People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies, highlights seven priority themes for the session, ranging from gender equality to the environment. 

Access to sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy underpins all seven themes. In fact, it plays a central role in helping to deliver all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is key to decarbonising the global economy in line with the target of the Paris Agreement. This is reflected in the diversity of the International Renewable Energy Agency’s engagements at UNGA 73.

On Friday, 28 September, IRENA’s Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, together with heads of state and governments from small island developing states (SIDS) and development partners will launch the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative 2.0. The initiative seeks to increase climate resilience and advance sustainable development in small island developing states through a renewable energy transformation. It supports the strong commitment of SIDS leaders and development partners in advancing renewable energy deployment by contributing to the development of enabling policies, market frameworks, technology options and capacity building through a holistic approach. This new and ambitious phase is an opportunity to take the achievements of SIDS in terms of renewable energy investment and deployment between 2014-2017 to the next level, confirming the centrality of renewables to NDC and SDG implementation.

IRENA’s Director-General will also take part in the Leaders’ Roundtable: Climate Change and Public Health, hosted by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Climate Change & Environment. The roundtable brings together leaders from diverse fields to identify near-term solutions and innovations that bridge policymaking, finance, and climate and health management, including in emergency settings. 

IRENA’s participation in the roundtable will focus on the benefits of renewable energy as a means to improving health and saving lives by providing affordable, low-carbon, sustainable, reliable and abundant electricity in particular to rural clinics and hospitals around the world. When it comes to the climate-health nexus, renewables are a win-win solution.

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Climate Change & Environment, in partnership with Facebook, is also hosting a climate networking event - Promoting Youth Action. The meeting seeks to encourage the role of youth in delivering the Paris Climate Agreement and SDGs, and brings youth leaders together with government, business and non-profit leaders to explore solutions that are changing the world today.

Finally, IRENA will take part in consultations in relation to preparations for the Climate Summit convened by the UN Secretary General in 2019. The summit will convene on the theme ‘A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win,’ and seek to challenge states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens to step up action in six areas: energy transition, climate finance and carbon pricing, industry transition, nature-based solutions, cities and local action, and resilience.