20 January 2021

Renewable Energy Key for Nourishing Growing Global Population, Ensuring Prosperous Future, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Sustainability Week Event

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message for the International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA/Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week side event on “United Nations Food Systems Summit and United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Energy”, today:

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, thank you, Dr. Nawal, for your introduction.  I am pleased to join you in exploring synergies between the Food Systems Summit and the High-Level Dialogue on Energy.

2021 must be the year we bend the curve of COVID-19 and take decisive steps to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Even before the pandemic, the world was struggling to eradicate poverty. Hunger was on the rise.  Inequalities were widening.  Biodiversity loss was staggering.  The virus has thrown us even farther off track in our work for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

But pandemic recovery offers a chance to change course.  Energy consumption of fossil fuels is responsible for the majority of global carbon emissions.  At the same time, access to energy is essential for eradicating poverty, maintaining health and empowering women.

We need to ensure a just transition to renewable energy, while providing sustainable energy services to the 789 million people currently without access to electricity and the 2.8 billion people lacking access to clean cooking solutions.

At the same time, hunger and poor nutrition are on the rise.  By 2050, the world will need to feed about 10 billion people.  As with energy, there is a risk of making things worse.  Food systems are currently associated with 30 per cent of energy consumption and 29 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Addressing this link is critical for enabling our planet to nourish a growing global population, while ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for everyone.  That is why the Secretary-General is convening the Food Systems Summit and the High-Level Dialogue on Energy this year.  The goal is to raise ambition and catalyse actions towards transforming how we produce, distribute and consume both food and energy.

The outcomes from these summits will provide a springboard for climate ambition for the Nationally Determined Contributions and long-term strategies due by COP26 [Twenty-sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)] in Glasgow this year.

I urge all countries, cities, businesses and civil society actors, and especially women and youth, to fully engage in our efforts across the Decade of Action to advance the SDGs and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

I thank the United Arab Emirates for their support and wish you a fruitful discussion.

Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.