IRENA Youth Talk — Impact of COVID-19 on the renewable energy sector

Following the first IRENA Youth Forum held on 10 January 2020 at the margins of the Agency’s tenth Assembly, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is launching IRENA Youth Talk — a series of webinars aimed at strengthening the Agency’s engagement with the youth, amplifying their voice and actions in supporting renewables, achieving climate stability, and advancing the sustainable development agenda.

Through this webinar series, young people from around the world will have the opportunity to exchange ideas amongst themselves and other stakeholders.

The first IRENA Youth Talk, organised in collaboration with the SDG 7 Youth Constituency of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth, was structured under the theme ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the renewable energy sector: a youth perspective’.

Youth representatives discussed the impact and consequences of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the renewable energy sector with IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. Young people also presented successful examples of their contribution to the deployment of renewable energy in their communities.

The first webinar took place on 8 June 2020 from 7.00 PM to 8.30 PM Gulf Standard Time and was open to people of all ages are.

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Young people are key agents for social change, economic growth, environmental protection and technological innovation. As countries across the world continue to take bold steps towards decarbonising their energy systems, the need to include youth in the energy transformation is becoming increasingly clear. Today's youth will lead the sustainable development agenda of tomorrow. It will be incumbent upon them to inject renewed momentum into the global energy and development discourse, and it is therefore only fit that they have a seat at the table.

In view of this, IRENA has actively pursued youth engagement initiatives including the IRENA Youth Forum, the Agency’s major event for and by the youth that emphasises the vital role that young people play in achieving climate and sustainable development goals and the energy transformation; GROWTH@IRENA summer trainee programme, which gives undergraduate students the opportunity to gain practical experience by working with the Agency; the IRENA Student Trainee Programme to support Governing Body Meetings, in which high school students assist the Secretariat during the IRENA Council Meetings and Assembly Sessions; and the Youth Circle at the World Future Energy Summit, wherein students engage in dialogue with representatives and experts in the renewable energy sector.

IRENA’s aim to spread awareness on the multiple benefits of renewable energy is not limited to information dissemination alone – the Agency strives to ensure that various stakeholders including the youth are given a platform to voice their input, and that their voice propels the renewable energy discourse to greater heights.