Lawmakers from around the world gathered in Abu Dhabi to discuss the policies needed to accelerate transformation of the global energy system, in a Legislators Forum organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and a Parliamentary Forum jointly organised by the United Arab Emirates’ Federal National Council (FNC).
Held the day before the opening of the Eighth Assembly of IRENA, the 2018 IRENA Legislators Forum, “Renewable Energy – the Role of Legislators in Catalysing Action to Accelerate the Energy Transformation” is the third meeting of its kind hosted by the Agency and seeks to facilitate dialogue between legislators on the deployment of renewables and the critical challenges facing the global energy transformation. Participation in this year’s Forum doubled from last year’s, including attendees from 30 countries around the world.
“Legislators have a key role to play in enacting and overseeing the laws that govern the energy sector, and in widening the support for renewables through their respective constituents,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin during the opening of the Forum.
“As the energy transformation gathers momentum, it increasingly brings with it important economic, social and environmental benefits to citizens and communities all over the world,” continued Mr. Amin. “Therefore it is crucial that as our energy system evolves, lawmakers’ remain engaged and informed advocates of a low-carbon energy future.”
In addition to covering areas of policy, legislation, and the tools necessary to support legislators, discussions at this year’s Forum focused on renewables deployment from the power sector to end-use sector, and on raising the level of ambition of renewable energy in Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.
“Legislators play a significant role in supporting the advancement of renewable energy technologies and their faster deployment by contributing to the development of enabling policy frameworks, institutional capacities and encouraging public-private partnerships,” said His Excellency Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, participating in the session.
“The UAE unveiled an ambitious energy strategy with targets of 44% renewable energy, 38% gas, 12% clean coal, and 6% nuclear by 2050, while reducing the country’s carbon footprint from power generation by 70% and reducing residential energy consumption by 40%.” His Excellency added.
“Energy transformation is a global priority and we see a strong commitment among many parliamentarians to contribute to it,” said Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretary General Martin Chungong who delivered a keynote speech during the event. “We need to keep parliaments informed and make sure that they have the capacity to legislate and support efforts in this area.”
Lawmakers participating in the Forum took part in a Public-Private Dialogue, consisting of a roundtable discussion with members of the Business and Investors Group of the IRENA Coalition for Action, government representatives, and parliamentarians.
Yesterday, prior to the Legislators Forum, IRENA partnered with the FNC to convene a joint Parliamentary Forum on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and strengthening the engagement with the private sector in this context.
During the Parliamentary Forum, special focus was given to the food-energy nexus, as an illustration of the interlinkages between energy access and other Sustainable Development Goals, and the latest trends and developments in bioenergy. Participants were also given a guided visit of the Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System plant, in Masdar City.
The IRENA Legislators Forum takes place in the context of the eighth IRENA Assembly, which gathers global energy leaders from more than 150 countries. During the Assembly delegates will discuss IRENA’s strategic and programmatic direction to help countries accelerate deployment of renewable energy, and in doing so, meet climate goals, boost the economy, and increase energy access and security. Outcomes from today’s Legislators Forum will be reported to Assembly delegates.