IRENA Engages Next Generation on Building a Climate-safe Renewable Future

21 September 2019| Articles


Young people are at the frontline of climate change. They are key actors of the energy transformation and as innovators, campaigners, entrepreneurs, leaders and renewable energy professionals their skills and advocacy will be essential for building a climate-safe and sustainable energy future.

By engaging with young people and integrating their contribution into the Agency’s work, IRENA builds on the potential of the next generation for shaping the energy transition, addressing climate change and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IRENA also intends to strengthen collaboration and establish a new workstream for the Agency to engage with youth.

At the margin of the UN Youth Climate Summit, IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera met with youth delegates in New York. He welcomed young representatives including from YOUNGO, the official youth constituency at the UN’s Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), to listen to the voice of the next generation of decision-makers. He engaged with young delegates as they shared their expectations and ideas regarding IRENA’s youth engagement initiatives and joined them in an interactive dialogue to shape future efforts.

“It is important to integrate the contribution of young people in the pursuit of sustainable development and climate action,” IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera, said. “I believe in young people, their ideas and their ways to look at the future. They are concerned about it and they want to be active, find solutions, implement them and make a difference by building a climate-safe renewable energy future”, he highlighted.

IRENA can build on a track record of initiatives to foster youth engagement within the Agency. These include involving students in IRENA’s governing body meetings, the IRENA Youth Circle during the World Future Energy Summit and the GROWTH@IRENA summer trainee program. To further deepen cooperation, IRENA’s next Assembly will provide an opportunity for young people around the world to participate and engage in the conversation on renewables and to connect with thought leaders in the global energy transition.

Enhanced cooperation at IRENA's 10th Assembly in 2020

At the 2020 Assembly, IRENA will hold its first official youth event. The event will highlight stories that showcase the connectedness of renewables with a myriad of socio-economic factors, including gender, education, equity and energy access. The Agency has recently launched a call for applications to select 40 young people to attend the innovative youth event, that will take place in Abu Dhabi, UAE on 10 January 2020.

Find out more about IRENA’s youth event and submit the application