Energy-Climate Dialogue Event Advancing Energy Transition in Western Balkans and Eastern Europe countries through Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions

The Paris Agreement heralds a new era of climate action through actively involving countries around the globe while taking into account their specific circumstances, priorities, responsibilities and respective capabilities. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) form the basis for climate action to be undertaken towards the overall objective of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. Countries are encouraged to continuously raise their climate ambitions and revise their NDCs every five years. In that regard, a revision round is underway for submitting enhanced NDCs prior to the upcoming COP 26 in Glasgow.

Emissions from the energy sector currently account for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. IRENA estimates that by 2050 the accelerated deployment of renewables and the implementation of energy efficiency strategies can potentially achieve 90% of the required emission reduction. Thus, ratcheting up efforts to decarbonise the global energy system is vital to meet the climate mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement.

With more than half of their electricity produced by old and inefficient thermal power plants burning solid fossil fuels, Contracting Parties (CPs) of the Energy Community will have to take decisive steps for moving away from coal-based electricity production and subsidies. In the framework of its Southeast Europe regional initiative, IRENA has conducted numerous studies that identify the largely untapped cost-competitive renewable energy potential of the region and provided its technical and analytical support to policy makers and investors.

On their path towards the energy transition, CPs have already committed to climate neutrality through the Sofia Declaration on the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. The Energy Community Ministerial Council reinforced these commitments in December 2020 by tasking the Secretariat, in cooperation with the European Commission, to develop a decarbonization roadmap for 2030 and beyond. More importantly, the development of ambitious and comprehensive NDC2s and National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) plays a crucial role for Southeast Europe to successfully contribute to the EU Green Deal objectives and the increased collective efforts to address the global challenges of climate change.

IRENA, in partnership with the Energy Community Secretariat and UK COP 26 Presidency, hosted a Conference on "Advancing the Energy Transition in Western Balkans and Eastern Europe countries through enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC2)" as a forum for discussion on the raised ambition of the national climate pledges in the region, and their successful implementation through the enhanced energy component of the NDCs.

This virtual event aimed to encourage all governments of the region towards more ambitious climate action driven by energy transition. The first part of the conference explored key drivers behind the NDC enhancement measures undertaken by countries across the region and provide a better understanding of the process followed in elaborating their NDCs, including potential benefits and pitfalls. The second session gave stakeholders the opportunity to engage in discussions about the challenges and opportunities in the process of decarbonisation and transformation of the energy sector.

The detailed agenda is available here.