IRENA and UN Strengthen Partnership to Progress on Sustainable Energy Agenda

20 September 2019| Articles


Joined by the common goal to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) agreed to enhance existing cooperation. In a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, both organisations commit to advancing on Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The new strategic framework for cooperation was signed by Director-General Francesco La Camera for IRENA and Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin for UNDESA on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly currently taking place in New York.

“Renewable energy is the most effective climate action tool available. Together with energy efficiency they are key to sustainable development, enabling energy access, spurring economic growth, creating employment and improving health,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “Today’s agreement is a signal of a shared commitment between our organisations to advance sustainable energy for all by 2030, particularly to the world’s poorest populations.”

“Energy lies at the heart of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change” added Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and head of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “Advancement in SDG 7 has the potential to spur progress across the other SDGs - on poverty eradication, gender equality, climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security, health, education, sustainable cities and communities, clean water and sanitation, jobs, innovation, transport and the treatment of refugees and other displaced people.”

Both sides agreed to stronger cooperation with joint initiatives and activities to accelerate action in areas as renewable energy, access to energy, climate change, just and inclusive transition, financing for sustainable development and the energy transition. A stronger emphasis will also be laid on the energy’s interlinkages with other Sustainable Development Goals such as jobs, gender, health and water.

They also agreed to enhance support for intergovernmental discussions related to SDG 7, including during the High-level Political Forum, the IRENA Assembly, the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024 and UN Climate Conferences COPs.

Cooperation has been manifolded particularly on SDG 7 on energy. Under the umbrella of the multi-stakeholder Technical Advisory Group on SDG 7, IRENA and UNDESA worked closely together in the lead up of the first review of SDG 7 in 2018 as well as the high-level mid-term review of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All in 2019.

IRENA is currently chairing the work of the five Custodian agencies responsible for the Tracking of SDG 7 progress on an annual basis - comprising of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) - and looks also forward to continuing collaboration with UNDESA and the Technical Advisory Group on SDG 7 in this context.