Leading renewable energy players under the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action have issued a joint statement, urging renewable energy and agriculture sectors to break down silos and collaborate. By jointly advancing the integration of renewables in the agriculture sector, stakeholders can make an essential contribution towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals and global climate objectives.
Energy use is responsible for about one-third of greenhouse gases emitted by the food systems. With its continuously declining costs, renewables have become an attractive and effective way to fuel the achievement of key sustainable development goals including food security.
However, large disparities remain in the access to and use of sustainable, clean energy for agricultural activities across the world. In the lead up to the UN Food Systems Summit and the High-Level Dialogue on Energy, accelerated action is needed to achieve sustainability and climate resilience for both food and energy systems.
In their joint statement, Coalition for Action members urge governments, the renewable energy sector, and the agriculture sector to jointly consider the following five recommendations:
- Cross-sectoral strategies to co-ordinate the planning and implementation of energy transition and food systems transformation.
- Multifaceted financing tools to improve access to capital for farmers, enterprises and end-users.
- Innovative, cross-sectoral business models that enable energy access and improved agricultural yields while protecting biodiversity, ecosystems and communities.
- Capacity-building initiatives to provide local actors with relevant skills, knowledge and resources to integrate renewable energy solutions in agriculture projects.
- Improved data on renewables applications in agriculture to de-risk projects, improve acceptability and effectively guide sustainable investments.
Strong collaboration across sectors will be critical to successfully delivering on the energy transition and food systems transformation, the statement said.
Earlier this year, IRENA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies in agri-food, fisheries and forestry chains and sustainable bioenergy.
Following the partnership, IRENA and FAO are working together on a joint report about renewable energy use for agri-food systems, to be released towards the end of this year.
Both organisations are also leading an Energy Compact on “Energising Agri-food Systems with Renewable Energy” to be submitted during the UN High Level Dialogue On Energy this week—to implement a set of actions that support the advancement of renewables solutions in agri-food systems.