Friday, November 14, 2008

Creating an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

What has been within reach is now ready to be settled: 51 states from different continents agreed on the Statute (Treaty) of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at the Final Preparatory Conference held on 23-24 October, 2008 in Madrid (Spain).

The final stage in the foundation process - the Founding Conference – is scheduled for 26 January 2009, in Bonn (Germany). At the Founding Conference, the Statute will be signed and IRENA will be established.

Considering the magnitude and urgency of the tasks IRENA faces, many states agreed that the Agency commences operating and establishing effective working structures right after its foundation.

Accelerating the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy’s vast potential

Renewable energy is one of the key solutions to the current challenges facing the world’s energy future. Germany has been pursuing an ambitious renewable energy policy over the last decade, successfully promoting renewable energies on the national level and within the European Union. Many states already foster the production and use of renewable energy through different approaches on a political and economic level as they recognize the urgent need to change the current energy path. The current use of renewable energy, however, is still limited in spite of its vast potential - the obstacles are manifold.

This is where IRENA - the International Renewable Energy Agency – comes in. Mandated by governments worldwide, IRENA aims at becoming the main driving force in promoting a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale.

Acting as the global voice for renewable energies, IRENA will provide practical advice and support for both industrialised and developing countries, help them improve their regulatory frameworks and build capacity. The Agency will facilitate access to all relevant information including reliable data on the potential of renewable energy, best practices, effective financial mechanisms and state-of-the-art technological expertise.

Discussions conducted with governments spanning the world’s regions have shown that numerous countries welcome the German initiative and would like to be involved in setting up the agency.

The German Parliament supports this endeavour as seen from the decision on 19 June 2008, where a large majority voted in favour of establishing IRENA.

Progress report

On 10 and 11 April, 2008, representatives of 60 countries met in Berlin at the invitation of the German Federal Government to attend the Preparatory Conference for the Foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). At the Preparatory Conference, representatives expressed their overall support for the foundation of IRENA. Discussions centered on the future objectives, activities, organisational structure and financing of IRENA. In particular, participants drew attention to the importance of effective coordination with other international organisations and networks. It was agreed that IRENA should constitute an independent driving force behind renewable energy and help to create a level playing field for the development of renewable energy.

Since then, the German Federal Government has hosted two workshops dedicated to IRENA. Held in parallel on 30 June and 1 July, 2008 the workshops addressed IRENA's initial work programme as well as its statutes and finances. Together, these workshops formed another crucial step on the road towards the foundation of IRENA.


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