IRENA Youth Forum 2022: Global youth meet to advance the energy transition

During the 2022 IRENA Youth Forum "Global Youth Gather to Spur Action on Energy Transition", over 400 young energy leaders gathered to call on organizations, governments, the private sector, academia, and civil society to take action.

The Forum was opened by IRENA Director General Francesco La Camera, who addressed the young delegates in his opening speech, encouraging the youth representatives to continue to embody their ideals in their actions. Next, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates, emphasized the role of young people in tackling climate change. 

She pointed out how collectively and individually, the innovations of the youth will help develop renewable energy that will accelerate the energy transition and put the world on track to meet climate goals. 

The following discussion featured the findings of the Global Youth Energy Outlook report by Student Energy. This youth-led international organization empowers young people to accelerate the sustainable energy transition. Helen Watts, Senior Director of Global Partnerships at Student Energy, presented the report's findings, pointing out that most young people surveyed want their country to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030. 

Esther Wanza, Field Operations Coordinator at RAYNOW Energy, gave an example of a start-up success story implementing a 3-kilowatt photovoltaic project with a 2.5-kilowatt storage system that enables a health center in Kenya to treat more than 60 patients per day. 

The Forum also discussed the need to invest in training. There is enough solar, wind, and biomass energy to power Africa but a lack of trainers to pass on this knowledge to younger generations. 

Ibrahim Togola, President of Mali-Folke Center Nyetaa, stressed the need for a more robust government policy framework, stating that regulations are crucial to accelerating the energy transition.

The young leaders welcomed the implementation of youth initiatives announced by IRENA for 2022, including the establishment of the Global Council on Enabling Youth Action for SDG7, a training program for young climate and energy leaders launched at the request of the Youth4Climate Pre-COP in Milan, and educational activities, including support for teacher training.

Watch the recording here