The UN Climate Action Summit and New York Climate Week provided compelling reasons for an urgent and renewed call to action around climate change, and parties from many corners delivered. For IRENA, the week brought new opportunities to shape the energy transformation, mitigate climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through a series of new partnerships across the intergovernmental community.
The Climate Investment Platform (CIP) was one of the most important new initiatives announced during the event. The partnership between IRENA, Green Climate Fund, Sustainable Energy for All and the United Nations (UN) Development Programme aims to scale-up climate action and translate ambitious national climate targets into concrete investments on the ground primarily, by working to increase the flow of capital to renewable energy in developing countries.
A report released by IRENA just ahead of the Climate Action Summit found that global renewable energy investment must double to around USD 750 billion per year to meet climate goals. The establishment of CIP will go some way to addressing the low-carbon technology investment gap.
The Agency’s focus on collaborative action continued throughout the week as Director-General Francesco La Camera penned a number of new agreements to bring the Agency closer than ever to the UN community, and the ambition and priorities established by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to move beyond words to action.
The new partnerships forged include the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), UN High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (UNESCWA) and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
At the signing of the MoU with the UN-OHRLLS, IRENA Director-General summarised the importance of aligning efforts, saying: “The energy transformation brings significant opportunity to developed and developing countries alike. Renewables are not only our most effective response to rising emissions, but they are also an engine of low-carbon development, supporting energy access, energy security and climate resilience in the world’s most vulnerable countries.”
In total, IRENA agreed six new partnerships – representative of the interconnected nature of the SDGs and reinforcing the fact that achieving a number of development goals is directly or indirectly dependent on the achievement of another. SDG7, the provision of access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, underpins socio-economic opportunity as well as climate mitigation and resilience therefore contributing across the development spectrum.