First COP29-IEA High-Level Energy Transition Dialogue brings energy and climate leaders together to discuss ambitions for Baku

240515 First Cop29 Iea High Level Energy Transition Dialogue

Participants spoke about COP29 Presidency’s plan for this year’s UN climate summit, as well as implementing the energy commitments made at COP28

The COP29 Presidency and the International Energy Agency (IEA), in close partnership with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), today held the first in a series of High-Level Energy Transition Dialogues ahead of the COP29 climate change conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, building on the success of the five Dialogues co-hosted with last year’s COP28 Presidency.

The Dialogue – which was co-chaired by COP29 President-Designate Mukhtar Babayev and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol – gathered over 70 energy and climate leaders from across the world at the IEA’s headquarters in Paris. It marked an important step towards building international consensus on what is needed to transform the energy pledges made at COP28 into action and limit global warming to 1.5 °C, one of the key goals set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Participants included UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell; African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid; Germany’s State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action Jennifer Morgan; and Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Climate, Environment & Communications Eamon Ryan – as well as Malawi's Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola; Sierra Leone’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jiwoh Abdulai; Togo’s Minister for Energy and Mines Mila Aziablé; Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu; and Türkiye’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change Fatma Varank, in addition to COP24 President Michał Kurtyka and COP26 President Alok Sharma.

In their exchanges, participants focused on how to implement the energy outcomes from COP28, part of what is known as the UAE Consensus – including the 2030 commitments to triple global renewable power capacity, double energy efficiency improvements, substantially reduce methane emissions, and accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels – and shared what they see as the top priorities for this year with the COP29 Presidency.

Many participants focused on the importance of boosting financing for energy transitions, especially in emerging and developing economies, where access to capital for projects and high borrowing costs remain a pressing challenge. Participants also spoke about the need to accelerate progress in deploying crucial solutions, such as energy storage, and to reflect higher collective ambitions in national policies and the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) required by Parties in the Paris Agreement, supported by appropriate means of implementation. The critical importance of ensuring that energy transitions are just and equitable was a major theme.

“It is essential that after making significant energy promises at COP28 to keep a 1.5 °C world within reach, countries are laser-focused on implementation – while continuing to raise their ambitions to ensure that global energy transitions are equitable, affordable and have strong public support,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “I am encouraged by today’s conversations with energy and climate leaders, who expressed their commitment to these principles and raised concrete steps to promptly realise them. I look forward to continuing to build on this progress in the subsequent dialogues we will host ahead of the COP29 summit in November.”

“Scaling up climate finance to help countries with their national climate plans that align with 1.5-degree pathways as informed by the latest science, and in light of national circumstances, is a key part of the COP29 Presidency’s plan. We are very pleased to continue such dialogues ahead of COP29 in Baku, given that even greater cooperation is needed to ensure the implementation of the goals that were set,” said COP29 President-Designate Mukhtar Babayev. “The COP29 Presidency’s plan is to call all Parties to enhance ambition and enable action – and we are committed to advancing these two mutually reinforcing pillars, where action on each sends a strong signal for how the other can be delivered. We will continue to engage with all stakeholders on priorities and expectations, and what is needed to achieve them.”

The IEA and its partners also hosted the Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa prior to the High-Level Dialogue, which Dr Birol and Mr Babayev pointed to as a sign of what can be achieved with international collaboration and collective willpower. The landmark Summit mobilised $2.2 billion in financial pledges from governments and the private sector to boost access to clean cooking supplies in Africa, where around 1 billion people currently lack it – a major energy issue that also has consequences for public health, gender equity and the climate.