IRENA meet concludes with $350m partnership deal
IRENA partners with Abu Dhabi Fund for Development for renewables
Irena's governing council has concluded its inaugural meeting after two days of deliberations among 53 countries in Abu Dhabi, marking a milestone in the Agency's history. Irena was formally established as an intergovernmental organisation by 148 member states and the European Union at the first session of the Assembly in April 2011.
The council is one of the two governing bodies of Irena, reporting to the Assembly, and convenes twice per year. The membership consists of 21 countries for a term of two years. The Council was opened by the President of the First Assembly, Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, Special envoy for energy and climate change for the United Arab Emirates. Australia was elected as the Chair of the Council, and the Republic of Korea the Vice-Chair, for 2011. Additionally, 32 observer states participated in the meeting.
The Director-General, Adnan Amin, provided members with an overview of activities implemented since the Assembly, including operational and programmatic progress. Irena has initiated a number of projects related to Innovation and Technology, Knowledge Management, Capacity Building and Policy Advice, involving collaboration with actors across the renewable energy sector.
During a round table discussion on the Work Programme of the Agency, members expressed their desire to further position the Agency at the centre of renewable energy worldwide through strategic partnerships and further staff recruitment, and to engage in fruitful exchanges of views with private sector and academia. Members also noted the work program priorities identified by the Africa High-Level Consultative Forum on Renewable Energy, a summit of 62 countries, including 27 African energy ministers, which the Agency hosted 8-9 July in Abu Dhabi.
The Council additionally endorsed and approved the membership and terms of reference of three Committees: Policy and Strategy, Finance, and Governance and Legal. These committees will support the Council and the secretariat through intensive support and review of matters assigned to them. Each Committee has a membership of eight countries, not including a Chair and Vice-Chair, but is open to full participation by observers. Antigua & Barbuda chairs the Finance Committee, Tonga the Governance and Legal Committee and the UK the Policy and Strategy Committee.
The Council also approved the selection procedures for a $350m partnership between Irena and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Abu Dhabi's government leading development agency. The fund will launch at the second Assembly, 14-15 January 2012, and Irena will immediately call to receive applications for funding. The fund was established in 2009 to disburse concessional loans for renewable energy generation and transmission projects located in developing countries that are signatories of the Agency. As part of the operationalisation of the fund, the Agency will begin later this year a call for experts, who will lead technical review of the applications.
The Director General concluded the meeting by expressing his appreciation of the interest and support of member countries, adding, "It has been an inspiring discussion, and it is impressive to see the strong commitment of countries in supporting Irena's work and way forward."