GBEP Bioenergy Week: FAO stresses the need to ensure sustainability of bioenergy in achieving climate goals and SDGs

The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) 11th Bioenergy Week officially kicked off today at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters, bringing together over 120 stakeholders from 27 nations, including country representatives, experts, industry leaders and researchers.

The international conference that runs until 21 June, aims to catalyze discussions and initiatives on advancing sustainable bioenergy as a key solution for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Related topics include climate-change mitigation, food security, better land use, and sustainable energy for all.

” We really have to look at bioenergy in the global setting of the transformation of agrifood systems. Our FAO’s Energy-Smart Agrifood Systems programme,-recognizes that sustainable bioenergy is a key opportunity to diversify farmer income, increase locally available energy sources, and enhance the circularity of organic waste… All this, builds farmers’ resilience to climate change impacts and contributes to decarbonizing many economic sectors, in alignment with FAO’s Strategy on Climate Change 2022-2031,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo delivering remarks at the opening ceremony. ”Sustainable bioenergy can help to increase food security and nutrition,” she added.

The Week is organized by FAO in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security, both of whom are founding members of GBEP, a partnership hosted by FAO, and initiated in response to the Gleneagles Plan of Action in 2005 by the G8 +5 countries.

Since 2006, GBEP has had an active role in advancing knowledge and public awareness on modern bioenergy, also providing tools for monitoring, evaluating and guiding the increased sustainability of the bioenergy sector. As of today, the GBEP sustainability indicators for bioenergy are the most widely recognized and agreed set of indicators for assessing the sustainability of all types of bioenergy pathways.

Bioenergy is derived from organic material, known as biomass, such as plants, agricultural residues, animal manure, and municipal waste. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), it is the largest source of renewable energy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognizes bioenergy has the potential to be a high-value and large-scale mitigation option to support many different parts of the energy system.

Given its key role in climate action, and also to ensure clean and universal energy access while also enhancing food security and preserving biodiversity, FAO considers it crucial to embrace the complexities of bioenergy and develop it in a sustainable way including by considering local environmental, social, economic and political contexts. FAO’s Climate Change Strategy for 2022-2031 also highlights the need for accessible renewables, including sustainable bioenergy.

The GBEP Bioenergy Week provides an important platform to exchange views, best practices, and lessons learned in meeting global energy needs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable bioenergy while safeguarding food security and environmental sustainability.

In his remarks, Francesco Corvaro, Italy’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, emphasized the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to address climate change, highlighting the potential of bioenergy as a sustainable solution. He also acknowledged its challenges and expressed enthusiasm for introducing new bioenergy technologies and keep supporting FAO in the future.

During the Bioenergy Week, participants will engage in high-level panel discussions on specific themes, such as policy and regulatory frameworks supporting the development and deployment of sustainable bioenergy, linkages between sustainable bioenergy and bioeconomy, and clean cooking solutions.

2024 GBEP Youth Award

Ahead of the official opening of the 11th GBEP Bioenergy Week, FAO hosted on Monday the first Bioenergy Youth Day, in partnership with the Youth and United Nations Global Alliance (YUNGA). Attended by more than 100 high school and university students, the event aimed to raise awareness among young people about the potential of sustainable bioenergy in addressing global challenges such as climate change, energy access, and rural development.

In a ceremony, Czaneil Gomez, an engineer from the Philippines, was recognized with the 2024 GBEP Youth Award for her research on an enhanced rice straw biogas pilot facility in her country. ”Receiving this award recognizes my passion and dedication for finding sustainable approaches for rice farming communities in the Philippines,” she said.

The Youth Day also featured interactive sessions, workshops, and presentations by experts in the field of bioenergy, providing young participants with insights into feedstock production, conversion technologies, and the socio-economic impacts of sustainable bioenergy.

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