FAO and IRENA join forces to boost renewables in food and agriculture


Renewable energy can boost sustainable and innovative agri-food system transformation

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have underscored their continued commitment to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies in agri-food, fisheries, and forestry chains and sustainable bioenergy through the signature of a collaboration agreement.

Signed by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu and IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera in a virtual meeting, the new memorandum of understanding (MoU) aims to improve the profitability and sustainability of the food and agriculture sectors by accelerating the use of renewables and sustainable bioenergy while fostering climate action and resilience.

Energy-smart agri-food practices based on renewables can increase both agricultural productivity, food chain decarbonisation, and food security. Accelerating renewable energy solutions will also boost economic growth and create jobs in a sustainable agro-industry – addressing critical development challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries.

“Renewable energy is essential for agri-food systems transformation, climate resilience, and net-zero strategies. Through our collaboration, we aim to generate and share knowledge, innovative products, and technologies, as well as data and information. This agreement will allow us to strengthen the role of renewable energy within FAO’s Initiatives,” said Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General.

Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General, added: “Renewables in agri-food systems are central to any sustainable support strategy for inclusive rural development. Renewables enhance food and water security, drive industrial productivity, and offer much needed socio-economic benefits in recovering from Covid-19. By combining our organisations’ knowledge, we can contribute to economic growth around the world – ensuring access to clean and affordable energy and raising the standard of living of rural and most vulnerable communities.”

The strengthened collaboration focuses on advancing cutting-edge knowledge on the energy-food-water nexus and spur collaborative efforts on projects and activities, including capacity building, knowledge exchange, tailored policy advice as well as the development of financing initiatives.

The collaboration will also support countries in realising their sustainable bioenergy potentials and planning national energy transitions and net-zero strategies. Joint knowledge products will be accompanied by regional and country-level viability assessments of decentralised renewable energy solutions for the entire agri-food supply value chains.

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