Renewable Energy for Agri-food Systems: Assessment and mapping tools to guide decision-making

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) held this webinar in the context of the work on Agri-food Systems, Energy and Renewable Energy. With the evolving climate and development needs, access to affordable, stable and sustainable energy is a key element to ensuring food security and growth. Country level targeted evidence needs to support this nexus to ensure that renewable energy solutions can be identified and deployed. As part of the key recommendations published in IRENA and FAO’s joint publication Renewable Energy for Agri-food Systems, detailed spatially defined assessments can effectively guide investments and decision-making on renewables use in agri-food systems.

The energy and food nexus has also been highlighted in recent and forthcoming COPs as one key area to target and support. This virtual event was a step on the road to COP27 which took place against the backdrop of geopolitical, climate and Covid-19 induced challenges that are having profound implications for the world’s supply chains and associated impacts on energy and food security particularly for the most vulnerable. Building resilience into energy and food systems has emerged as an important policy priority with renewables a key part of the solution.

Renewable energy solutions and integrated food-energy systems could directly advance both energy and food security, while contributing to poverty alleviation, job creation, gender equality and climate action. One of the pre-requisites for scaling-up investments in renewables is context-specific data and information on existing energy infrastructure, needs and flows at each stage of the agri-food value chain and other metrics necessary to design interventions and assess their social and economic viability.

The event showcased examples of assessments and mapping tools being deployed to support decision-making and facilitated a discussion on how stronger cross-sector partnerships could translate into greater investment flows into renewable energy use within agri-food systems to jointly advance climate and development goals.