IRENA opens council meeting amid global calls for expanding renewable
05/11/2014 1:27 pm EDT

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The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) gathered representatives from over 90 countries in Abu Dhabi to review and recommend actions to scale-up renewable energy around the world.

The two-day meeting opened on the heels of the release of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recommended the decarbonisation of the world’s energy mix by 2100.

“Any solution to address climate change requires a massive scale-up in renewable energy,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “And as momentum builds around the climate issue, so does the focus on renewable energy – because not only can renewable energy combined with energy efficiency keep the global climate to a two degree temperature rise, it can do so affordably,” he added.

Among the major areas of focus at the two-day meeting, the Council discussed strategies to increase IRENA’s engagement in the global climate change effort.

IRENA’s expanding role in the international climate change community came to the fore at the UN Climate Summit in September when countries, international organizations, businesses and civil society rallied in support of two major renewable energy initiatives spearheaded by IRENA, the Africa Clean Energy Corridor and the Small Island Developing States Lighthouse Initiative.

“Since the establishment of the Agency over three years ago, we have been working closely with our membership to establish the business case for renewable energy,” said Mr. Amin. “And now that the economic advantages of renewables are evident for the world to see-and their remarkable socio-economic benefits become increasingly clear-it is imperative for IRENA to participate, even lead, some of the climate action efforts,” he added.

Renewables will continue to play a major role at the UNFCCC high-level climate talks in Lima, Peru next month. This event is seen by many as a precursor to the COP21 meeting in Paris in 2015 when the international community will gather to try and reach a global agreement to address climate change.

Taking the opportunity of the increased participation at the 8th meeting of the Council, IRENA further expanded its permanent representation. In a succession of ceremonies taking place on the eve of the Council, three diplomatic representatives presented their credentials to IRENA Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin. They included H.E. Mr. Siray Alpha Timbo, Ambassador of Sierra Leone; H.E. Mr. Conrod C. Hunte, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and; H.E. Mr. Nelson Yemil Chabén Labadie, Ambassador of Uruguay. These representatives join permanent representatives from 23 other countries who have already been accredited to the Agency under the system of permanent representation, which enables Members to participate actively and continuously in IRENA activities.

IRENA’s Council is composed of 21 members elected on a rotational basis from the Agency’s growing membership. In just over three years, IRENA membership has grown to 135 Members, reflecting a surging international interest in renewable energy and country commitments to engage in international cooperation. The IRENA Council, which convenes twice yearly, guides the Agency’s programmes and activities and helps set the agenda for the annual Assembly in January 2015 (17-18).

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