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IRENA Assembly Ratifies Headquarters in Abu Dhabi, Inaugurates Renewables SIDS Network, Welcomes China’s Decision to Become Member State

IRENA14 January 2013: The third session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly convened on 13-14 January in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), to discuss IRENA's work programme and budget for 2013, medium-term strategy, progress on programmatic activities, and implementation of policies on ethics, conflicts of interest, and the secondment of personnel.

The Assembly marked the UAE's ratification of its headquarters agreement with IRENA, which finalized the agency's legal establishment and accorded it all the rights, privileges, and protections of an international organization. It also formalized IRENA as the first international organization to be headquartered in the Middle East. On this agenda item, IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin remarked, “The ratification of our headquarters agreement, and the presence of a record breaking number of ministers and policy-makers at the 2013 Assembly, marks IRENA's coming of age,” adding, “What began as a visionary idea in 2009 has truly taken form. The renewable energy era is upon us.”

The Assembly included two ministerial roundtables on financing renewables for development and the costs and benefits of renewable energy, as well as programmatic presentations on various IRENA reports and activities, notably a report on “Africa's Renewable Future: The Path to Sustainable Growth,” the “Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy,” Renewables Readiness Assessments, and the launch of a report: "Doubling the Global Share of Renewable Energy: A Roadmap to 2030" which identifies policies and actions needed to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix to 30% by 2030. In an address delivered by UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that the renewable energy roadmap, titled “REMAP 2030,” will serve as a hub for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. REMAP 2030 joined IRENA's flagship Renewables Readiness Assessments and Global Renewable Energy Atlas as integral parts of the SE4ALL agenda.

The Assembly also marked the launch of the Global Renewable Energy Islands Network (GREIN), which will build capacity of policy-makers, utilities, regulators, and financial institutions in Pacific small island developing states (SIDS); and link renewable energy skills to higher education programs. Germany and UAE will help finance the effort.

Other highlights included China's plans to become an IRENA member state. On China's decision to join the agency, Amin said he was “delighted with the confidence China has shown in IRENA,” calling it “a milestone in international efforts to promote renewable energy.”

The Assembly commenced the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which also convened the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference (ADIREC), the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), and the International Water Summit 2013. [IRENA Assembly Website] [IRENA News Release on Day 1 of the Third Session of the IRENA Assembly] [IRENA News Release on Day 2 of the Third Session of the IRENA Assembly] [IRENA News Release on REMAP 2030] [IRENA News Release on Ratification of Headquarters] [IRENA News Release on China's Accession] [Publication: Doubling the Global Share of Renewable Energy: A Roadmap to 2030]