IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera was received by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on 17 June 2019, when visiting the UN headquarters in New York. During their meeting, the Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for IRENA’s work and underscored the importance of the Agency’s contributions to climate action and sustainable development given the centrality of renewable energy to the Agenda 2030 and Paris Climate Agreement.
The Director-General emphasised, to the Secretary-General, IRENA’s aim to strengthen its cooperation with UN organisations, referencing the partnership with UNDP that the Director-General would sign later that day. The co-operation between IRENA and UNDP will explore joint initiatives aimed at accelerating the implementation of the development agenda and stimulating renewable energy investments in developing countries.
Mr. La Camera noted that renewables and energy efficiency measures represent the most technically feasible and cost-effective emission reduction strategies. The two agreed on the critical nature of phasing out the construction of new coal plants, with the Director-General highlighting the Agency’s efforts to support countries develop policies that minimise disruption whilst accelerating their transition from coal to renewables in light of the strengthened business case of sustainable energy sources. Mr. La Camera described Africa and Southeast Asia as priority areas, where rising energy demand and a reliance on coal can be met and replaced with renewables.
Mr. Guterres acknowledged the important role IRENA can play as a partner in strengthening UN Energy - a UN coordination mechanism on energy. Mr. La Camera expressed IRENA’s full support for the Secretary-General’s efforts in this regard, and reaffirmed the Agency’s commitment to the work of the UN and broader multilateral efforts to drive action on climate change and sustainable development.