IRENA partners with UNICEF on access to renewable energy for children

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Access to clean energy is vital to improving the well-being of children. That is the main goal of a partnership between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

IRENA and UNICEF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to expand access to renewable energy for children globally.

The two seek to promote low-carbon initiatives that can help protect children from climate change, unsustainable energy practices and environmental degradation. IRENA and UNICEF have committed to helping governments with the technical expertise and regulatory advice on how to accelerate renewables deployment and the energy transition whilst protecting children.

The two organisations will help countries to build the skills and competencies necessary for children and young people to contribute to a sustainable energy future, enable an exchange of knowledge and best practices, as well as provide technical support and access to climate finance for resilient infrastructure supporting children and youth.

Ending poverty amongst children is critical for the world to achieve goals set under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Change Agreement, according to IRENA. And by curbing poverty through renewables deployment, especially in developing economies in Africa and Asia, the world is able to improve health, water, sanitation and education services for children. This means a just and inclusive energy transition.

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IRENA and UNICEF will ensure the participation of children and youth in international, national, and local discussions and policymaking around renewable energy such as IRENA’s Youth Forum and Youth Talks.

IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera, said: “We must act today to ensure the world we leave to our children and grandchildren is prosperous, equitable and sustainable.

“This MoU sends the vital message that a just and inclusive energy transition must both benefit and include children and youth. IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook shows that a transformed energy sector can create 122 million jobs in 2050. We need to begin today to skill and prepare young people for these jobs so that the next generation can benefit from a global energy transition.”

Francesco La Camera is one of the speakers speaking at Enlit Europe 2021 in Milan. La Camera will discuss developments within the renewable energy sector, what has been achieved, and what still needs to be done to ensure a successful energy transition.

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Fayaz King, Deputy Executive Director at UNICEF, added: “Renewable energy is crucial to a more resilient, low carbon, sustainable future for children, and yet for too many, green solutions remain out of reach.

“By combining forces, UNICEF and IRENA will gain momentum in improving access to renewable energy and building green skills to support young advocates in their climate and clean energy actions. The only way forward is with children and young people as leaders in climate action everywhere.”