The Fourth Vice-President of the Spanish Government and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge is participating in the 11th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which began this Monday virtually and will end on Thursday 21, and will set the course for low-carbon development.
"We are all very aware of the urgent need to change course towards a sustainable energy future: with more than 70% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions coming from this sector, the energy transition plays a key role in managing the global climate emergency," said Ribera, who is chairing the Assembly, according to the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates, WAM.
The opening of the Assembly, organised in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be marked as World Energy Transition Day. The event will be spread over four days of high-level discussions. The sessions on the 18th, 19th and 20th will include a high level panel on energy transformation for sustainable post-COVID recovery, followed by four ministerial discussions covering the topics of national energy planning and implementation, scaling up financing for renewable energy, moving towards carbon neutrality and the role of energy transition in energizing health care.
In addition, the conclusions of the preliminary stakeholder meetings that took place on 13-14 January, including the IRENA Legislators' Forum, the Public-Private Dialogue and the IRENA Youth Forum, will also be taken into account by the Assembly.
Nearly 2,000 high-level participants, including heads of state, ministers, senior energy officials, multilateral organisations, and private sector actors, will participate in meetings under the overall theme of 'COVID-19 - Energy Transition'.
UN Secretary General, António Guterres of Portugal, said that "the trillions of dollars needed for recovery from the pandemic must be used simultaneously to move our economies towards net zero emissions". He expressed the need to "build a global coalition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050" and stressed the leading role of renewable technologies in achieving this goal.
Ribera, for his part, praised the opportunities that "developing countries, economies in transition and highly industrialised countries" have in the decarbonisation of the economy. "Access to energy and security, solid economic growth, modernisation of industry and job creation" are some of the benefits he highlighted.
The Spanish Vice-president and Minister of Ecological Transition was also proud of Spain for aligning itself with the efforts of IRENA, which she said had "become a beacon in the energy revolution we need".
This year is seen as a key moment for countries to commit themselves to making greater efforts to mitigate the climate crisis, by investing in more renewable energies and aligning their economic growth strategies with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. COP26, which was postponed due to the pandemic, will take place at the end of 2021.
"The COVID-19 pandemic defined 2020," said Francesco La Camera, Director General of IRENA. "However, as countries seek to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic and rebuild in a more resilient, fair and sustainable manner, we can define this year as the time when we place the energy transition at the centre of global policy and investment decision-making.
"IRENA's global mandate offers us a unique opportunity to convene global leaders, promote knowledge sharing and build the partnerships needed to promote low-carbon development and reap the immediate and long-term benefits of the transition," continued La Camera. "The Assembly is at the heart of these efforts."
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2021 features a series of virtual events in addition to the IRENA Assembly, including the ASDW Summit itself, the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum, the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Forum, the Youth 4 Virtual Sustainability Forums and the World Future Energy Summit webinars.
"As our economies and industries begin to recover from the impact of the global pandemic, we have an opportunity to set ambitious targets, invest in new technologies and implement the policies needed to achieve a sustainable recovery. Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week embodies the UAE's proactive and forward-looking approach to climate change and sustainability and highlights the UAE's role as a solution-oriented global citizen, enabling dialogue to be turned into action," said the UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Sultan bin Ahmed al-Jaber.
Among the most prominent guests were: Prince Albert II of Monaco; Lucas Joppa, Microsoft's environmental director; Maimunah Mohd Sharid, executive director of UN-Habitat; and Noel Quinn, executive director of the HSBC Holdings group, among others.