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UN Food Systems Summit and UN High-Level Energy Dialogue @ IRENA/Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

The world will need to feed some 10 billion people by 2050 while achieving the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals – a high bar given that food systems already account for over 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 30% of energy consumption and are vulnerable to climate change. At the same time, the world must ensure universal modern energy access for the 800 million people currently without electricity and the 3 billion without clean cooking solutions, most of whom live in agriculture-based economies.

The United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit and the summit-level UN High-level Dialogue on Energy will be held in September 2021 in New York, two months before COP26 in Glasgow. These three milestones will be vehicles for new solutions and commitments that capture synergies across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and decouple food and energy systems from greenhouse gas emissions.

Based on this nexus, a joint Ministerial Meeting in support of the UN Food Systems Summit and summit-level High-Level Dialogue on Energy preparatory processes will take place in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Arab Emirates as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the IRENA Assembly. The Ministerial Meeting is intended to raise awareness of the summits and identify potential outcomes – such as initiatives, targets, policies, and other concrete deliverables – with simultaneous food, energy, and climate benefits that can be considered for both Summits, as well as COP26.

The ministerial leverages the IRENA Assembly’s and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week’s stakeholder and public reach. Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week typically attracts 45,000 delegates from over 170 countries and is the world’s largest annual sustainability event. The IRENA Assembly is the largest annual meeting of energy ministers.

Summits Background

Food Systems Summit: During the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene the Food Systems Summit to drive progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement through the lens of food systems. The Summit will launch new actions to transform food systems, making food healthier, sustainable, more affordable, more resilient, less wasted, and better-distributed. The preparatory process includes thousands of dialogues at the global, national, local, and entity levels, as well as a formal pre-Summit meeting in Rome in July 2021. Further information is available at https://www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit

High-level Dialogue on Energy: Mandated by General Assembly resolution 74/225, the Secretary-General will convene a High-level Dialogue on Energy at summit level during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2021 in New York, to accelerate SDG 7 action for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. The Dialogue represents the first summit on energy under the UN General Assembly since the UN Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy in 1981. It is preceded by a preparatory process involving a number of thematic and regional forums. Further information is available at https://www.un.org/en/conferences/energy2021.

Event Format

The Ministerial Meeting was virtually with around 30 ministerial and executive participants (including 5 youth delegates) “seated” at the virtual table, in addition to hundreds of audience members who will be listening in. Following brief opening remarks by the co-hosts, the moderator will invite participants to propose a specific potential outcome for the Summits under their preferred agenda item. The format will not use written statements, as it is meant to be conversational and fast paced.

Agenda

13:00 to 13:15 Welcoming remarks
  • • H.E. Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security
  • • H.E. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Opening remarks
  • • H.E. Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit
  • • H.E. Damilola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, and CoChair and High-level Champion for the High-level Dialogue on Energy

13:15 to 13:20 Overview of the food-energy-climate nexus • H.E. Francesco La Camera, Director-General, IRENA
13:20 to 13:40 Potential action and initiatives related to primary food production
13:40 to 14:00 Potential action and initiatives related to food drying, storage, and agro-processing
14:00 to 14:20 Potential action and initiatives related to biofuels and electrification
14:20 to 14:40 Potential action and initiatives related to clean cooking
14:40 to 14:45 Wrap-up and next steps by moderator

Outcome

A list of the proposed actions and related initiatives discussed in the roundtable will be compiled and circulated to participants, as well as all IRENA missions and UN missions in New York and Rome. The organizers of the Food Systems Summit and High-level Dialogue on Energy – as well as of COP26 – will also share the outcomes as inputs into the preparatory processes of the summits during the course of 2021. IRENA Member States will evaluate progress in the action areas in the 2022 Assembly.