Today, during the historic first session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), member nations officially confirmed the United Arab Emirates as the permanent home to the global organization. The first session of the General Assembly gathered 800 delegates from 150 nations and was attended by more than 90 ministers. Irena – the intergovernmental organization dedicated to promoting the adoption of renewable energy worldwide – also selected Adnan Amin, the former Acting Interim Director General as the Director General of the Agency.
Adnan Amin is slated to hold the post for the next 4 years.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, CEO of Masdar, and President of the ongoing session, said: “Today’s first meeting of the Assembly is a momentous occasion for Irena, demonstrating the vision of our wise leadership as well as the strong global determination to work cooperatively to advance the use of renewable energy around the world. The UAE is honored to be the permanent home of Irena and will continue to be a strong advocate for further global collaboration and the deployment of renewable energy.
“As an international centre for renewable energy innovation, our nation will provide Irena with a solid foundation for open, multi-lateral dialogue and real action. We are pleased with the election of Mr. Amin today and congratulate him on his permanent role. The UAE is fully confident in his leadership and we look forward to working with him, and fellow member nations, toward our shared vision for a transition to clean energy solutions that will benefit our communities, economies and lives,” added Dr. Al Jaber.
Irena's first Assembly officially marks the end of the organisation’s foundational stage, which has built a strong institutional framework since its 2009 inception to facilitate effective multilateral collaboration. Irena represents both developed and developing nations dedicated to expanding renewable energy both domestically and abroad. To date, 148 countries, and the European Union have signed the Statute of the Agency. Moreover, 64 countries and the European Union which ratified the statute of Irena participated in the Assembly. Amongst Irena's membership are 48 African, 38 European, 35 Asian, 17 American and 10 Australia/Oceania member states.
With the UAE confirmed as the home to Irena, the agency becomes the first truly international organisation based in an Arab country.
“The United Arab Emirates provides an environment that promotes the future growth of renewable energy and is a natural fit to be the long-term home to Irena,” said Irena Director General, Adnan Amin. “I am honored to be entrusted by the esteemed member nations to lead Irena, and I look forward to working together as a dedicated, united voice to advocate for the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy.”
The UAE has placed renewable energy and climate change high on its agenda. The UAE’s Department of Energy & Climate Change was established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March 2010 as a direct result of the UAE's winning bid to become Irena's home, and acts as the focal point for the UAE's engagement with Irena. The nation’s strong commitment to advancing sustainable technologies and solutions has also been demonstrated through a variety of actions, including the inception of the Masdar initiative, the Abu Dhabi green building code (Estidama), the World Future Energy Summit and the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
The UAE’s long-term commitment to expedite the adoption of renewable energy, paired with its designation as the home to Irena, further confirm the increasing international recognition the nation is receiving as a leader in renewable energy and climate change issues.
“As a conduit for knowledge sharing and collective decision-making, the UAE is confident that Irena will accelerate the pace at which renewable energy is deployed and integrated around the globe,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “We look forward to building on the important progress of this week and hope to see more countries ratify by the second Assembly.”