The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has been established to promote a global shift towards renewable energy and marks a milestone on the road to a future-oriented energy supply.
In January 2009, 120 government delegations and 75 signatory countries – developing and industrialised nations – gathered in Bonn, Germany for the signature of the Statute for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This is the world’s first organisation to focus solely on renewable energies.
IRENA will promote renewable energy as the pathway to climate protection, energy security, economic growth and future employment. The Agency complements the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by providing renewable energies with a clear international voice.
Founding of this ground-breaking entity was a German Government initiative, actively supported from the outset by Spain and Denmark. The establishment was jointly coordinated by the German Federal Environmental and Development Ministries, assisted by the Federal Foreign Office.
“With the foundation of an International Renewable Energy Agency, we want to contribute to the sustainable development of renewable energies’ vast global potential,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
IRENA's main function will be to facilitate the spread and global uptake of renewable energies. It will achieve this by providing advice and support, particularly in relation to capacity building and establishing frameworks, to industrialised and developing nations.
In addition, the Agency will nurture the development of comprehensive solutions to the challenges facing renewable energy, and assist in the drafting of policy in this area at all levels. To ensure the policies produced by IRENA are both successful and enduring, stakeholders from the energy industry, academia, civil society and other institutions will all be actively involved.
The Agency's budget will be financed through mandatory contributions. In addition, specific activities will be financed from voluntary contributions and project-related voluntary contributions. In the start phase, the budget will be based on voluntary contributions from the signatories.
Following the official signing ceremony, the Preparatory Commission met to plan the swift establishment of the organisation. The session established committees for the selection of an interim Director General and interim headquarters that will to be chaired by Lithuania and the Republic of Korea respectively.
IRENA Website: http://irena.org/
‘A milestone for future-oriented energy supply’ (German Government press release)
By March 2009, 77 nations had already signed the Statute of the Agency. Collectively IRENA already represents 2.5 billion people globally, more than a third of the world’s population. There are 27 African, 27 European, 16 Asian, and 7 Latin-America countries already participating in the organisation. The two most notable exceptions, the UK and the USA, are both expected to have observatory roles. Once fully established, the Agency will be overseen by an Assembly, a Council and a Secretariat.