COP 26 Climate-Energy Dialogue in the Middle East and North Africa region

In December 2015, all parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to limit the rise in the global average temperature to well below the 2°C, above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the present century. Emissions from the energy sector account for around two-thirds of the global greenhouse gas emissions; therefore, energy transition, largely driven by renewable energy, is central to achieving the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. Furthermore, the current COVID-19 pandemic has caused great social and economic disruption in the region while the economic recovery plans provide a key opportunity to build back more sustainable and climate-resilient economies and energy systems, where renewable energy will play a key role.

The countries of the MENA region have committed to achieving the long-term climate goals described by the Paris Climate Agreement through the submission of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and their commitment to reflect its highest possible ambition every five years. In preparation for the COP26, countries have updated or are in the process of updating the energy component of their NDCs, integrating more ambitious renewable energy deployment targets and improving the quality of the NDCs to enable a more effective implementation.

IRENA, in partnership with the UNFCCC and UK COP26 Presidency, hosted a webinar on “COP 26 Climate-Energy Dialogue in the Middle East and North Africa region”, providing a regional forum for the discussion on driving energy transition and building momentum on climate action, in the lead up to COP26, through enhanced energy component of the NDCs, and exploring the key role this plays in MENA countries’ energy transitions and economic recoveries from COVID19.

This virtual event aimed to explore different areas of the NDCs review process, that countries are currently undertaking. The dialogue aimed to serve as a platform for exchanging experiences, lessons learnt and best practices in the region as well as understand the linkages between NDCs, long-term strategies and the post-COVID 19 economic recovery plans. The dialogue focused on the following areas:

  • Encourage more ambitious climate action by all governments in MENA, including the submission of updated NDCs and long-term climate/energy strategies in support of the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
  • Broaden the knowledge and understanding about the linkages between short-term economic recovery measures, NDCs, long-term climate / energy strategies in achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Share regional experience on the domestic energy systems transformation required to achieve and advance the GHG reduction targets in NDCs of MENA countries.
  • Deepen the understanding on the opportunities to maximize the socioeconomic benefits of the energy transition.