Rwanda has effectively assumed the 14th Assembly Presidency of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
IRENA is an intergovernmental organization mandated to facilitate cooperation, advance knowledge, and promote the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy.
Rwanda was elected to IRENA Presidency during the agency’s 13th assembly which took place from 14-15 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Assembly was held under the theme ‘World Energy Transition- The Global Stocktake’.
Amb. Emmanuel Hategeka as Permanent Representative accepted the responsibility on behalf of the Rwanda Government.
In a video address to the participants, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres said that renewable energy is the only credible path forward if the world is to avert a climate catastrophe, outlining a five-point plan for a just transition.
“Only renewables can safeguard our future, close the energy access gap, stabilize prices and ensure energy security,” he said.
The world still relies heavily on fossil fuels, and the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is fast slipping out of reach, Guterres warned.
“Under current policies, we are headed for 2.8 degrees of global warming by the end of the century. The consequences will be devastating. Several parts of our planet will be uninhabitable. And for many, this is a death sentence,” he said.
Renewable energy sources currently account for nearly 30 percent of global electricity. Guterres said this must double to over 60 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by mid-century.
Guterres called for removing intellectual property barriers so that key renewable technologies, including energy storage, are treated as global public goods.
The UN Secretary-General said that countries also must diversify and increase access to supply chains for raw materials and components for renewable technologies without degrading the environment.
“This can help create millions of green jobs, especially for women and youth in the developing world,” said Guterres.
The UN chief urged decision-makers to cut red tape, fast-track approvals for sustainable projects worldwide, and modernize power grids. He stressed the need to shift from fossil fuels to clean and affordable energy, adding that “we must support vulnerable groups affected by this transition.”
According to Guterres, public and private investments in renewables should triple to at least $4 trillion a year.
Noting that most investments in renewables are in developed countries, Guterres urged countries to work together to reduce the capital cost for renewables and ensure that financing flows to those who need it most.