International Renewable Energy Agency

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organization mandated to facilitate cooperation, advance knowledge, and promote the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy. It is the first international organisation to focus exclusively on renewable energy,[1] addressing needs in both industrialised and developing countries. It was founded in 2009 and its statute entered into force on 8 July 2010. The agency is headquartered in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.[2] The Director-General of IRENA is Francesco La Camera, a national of Italy.[3] IRENA is an official United Nations observer.[4]

International Renewable Energy Agency
International Renewable Energy Agency Logo.png
IRENA map.svg
Members as of January 2019
Formation26 January 2009; 12 years ago (2009-01-26)
Typeinternational organization
Legal statustreaty organization
Purposepromotion of renewable energy
HeadquartersMasdar City, United Arab Emirates
165 states and the European Union (2021)
Francesco La Camera
Main organ


The first suggestions for an international renewable agency is based on the 1980 Brandt Report activities. NGOs and industry lobbying groups like Eurosolar,[5] the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) and the World Wind Energy Association have promoted IRENA since several decades.[6] In 1990, the Austrian government of Franz Vranitzky suggested a reneweables agency to the UN.[7] One of the drivers was Hermann Scheer, a German politician and lobbyist which was acting as president of EUROSOLAR and chair of WCRE.[7]

On 15 June, at their annual event, the WWEA gave their 2010 World Wind Energy Award to the Founding member States of IRENA. They stated: "The creation of IRENA can be seen as the most important decision ever taken on the global level in favour of renewable energy. The founding of IRENA sent out a very strong signal to the world community that renewable energy will have to play and will play a key role in the future energy supply all over the world. With the Award, WWEA would also like to indicate that WWEA is committed to work closely with IRENA and will continue to give its full support."[8]

Since 1981, several meetings took place to discuss the formation of IRENA. The Preparatory Conference for founding IREA was held on 10 and 11 April 2008 with 54 countries participating. Here, government representatives discussed the objectives, activities, finances, and organizational structure of IRENA. Participants expressed a need to begin a swift transition to a more secure, sustainable renewable energy economy with the assistance of an international body.[9]

The Founding Conference of the International Renewable Energy Agency was held in Bonn, Germany, on 26 January 2009. 75 countries signed the Agency's statute. The statute entered into force on 8 July 2010, 30 days after the 25th country deposited its instrument of ratification. The Founding Conference established the Preparatory Commission for IRENA, which consists of all signatory states.[citation needed]

During the first session of the Preparatory Commission in Bonn on 27 January 2009, the signatory countries adopted criteria and procedures for selecting IRENA's Interim Director-General and its interim headquarters. An Administrative Committee was created to assist the commission in preparing its second session. The Administrative Committee prepared draft proposals for an interim work programme and budget as well as for interim staff regulations and interim financial rules.[10] Nominations for the Interim Director-General and the interim headquarters were submitted by 30 April 2009.[11]

The second session of the Preparatory Commission met in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 29–30 June 2009, to elect the Interim Director General and decide the location of IRENA's interim headquarters. It was decided, that the interim headquarters will be located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The UAE thus became the first developing country to host a major international organisation. In addition, an innovation and technology center will be located in Bonn, and an office dedicated to liaising with the United Nations and other international institutions will be located in Vienna.[12][13] Hélène Pelosse was elected as the Interim Director-General.[14] The second session of the Preparatory Commission also adopted an interim work programme and budget as well as for interim staff regulations and interim financial rules.

The fourth session of the Preparatory Commission on 24–25 October 2010 in Abu Dhabi appointed Kenyan representative Adnan Amin, Deputy Interim Director-General, to perform functions of Interim Director-General after resignation of Hélène Pelosse.[15][16] On 4 April 2011, Adnan Amin was sworn in as the first Director-General.

The agency has staged a number of events bringing together member states for interaction on ways and means of furthering renewable energy, and conducted significant research and development into viable solutions for the future. On 8 September 2014, IRENA published a notable report on its works titled REthinking energy, which encouraged "speedier adoption of renewable energy technologies," as "the most feasible route to reduce carbon emissions and avoid catastrophic climate change." The study set out to gauge the global power sector and establish how technological advances, economic growth and climate change are transforming it. "A convergence of social, economic and environmental forces are transforming the global energy system as we know it. But if we continue on the path we are currently on and fuel our growing economies with outmoded ways of thinking and acting, we will not be able avoid the most serious impacts of climate change," Director-General Amin said at a function to release the report.[17]

The Ninth Meeting of International Renewable Energy Agency Council was held on 10–11 June 2015 at Abu Dhabi.[18]


IRENA aims to become the main driving force in promoting a transition towards the 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.

IRENA provides advice and support to governments on renewable energy policy, capacity building, and technology transfer. IRENA will also co-ordinate with existing renewable energy organizations, such as REN21.[19]

Member statesEdit

The statute to gain IRENA membership requires that a state be a member of the United Nations and to regional intergovernmental economic-integration organizations. States that gain membership to IRENA must uphold the organizations statute to the best of its abilities.[20]

As of October 2021, 165 states and the European Union are members of IRENA, and a further 18 are in the process of accession.[20]

On January 9, 2019, Canada became IRENA's 160th member.[21]

Institutional structureEdit

The AssemblyEdit

This assembly is IRENA's main institutional governing body, which includes one delegate from each member state.[22] The assembly meets once yearly to discuss all IRENA management including things such as budget, membership applications and yearly goals.[23] The 9th Assembly took place in January 2019 with the 10th Assembly scheduled for the 11th and 12 January in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.[24]

The CouncilEdit

The IRENA council is composed of 21 elected officials from member states, who each serve for two-year terms and must answer to the assembly.[22] Council members rotate between states to ensure an efficient and fair representation of various member country sizes, geographic location, rates of development and particular concerns. The council deals directly with IRENA matters related to budgeting and annual reports.[25]

The SecretariatEdit

The Secretariat is the executive branch of IRENA and consists of the Director-General and their staff. The Secretariat acts as oversight to the council and assembly and offers technical support to these governing bodies.[22] The current of Director-General of IRENA is the Italian Francesco La Camera who was appointed to the position during IRENA's Ninth Assembly[26] and assumed office on 4 April 2019.[27]

IRENA's first Director-General was Adnan Z. Amin, a Kenyan national.[28] He was elected to the post in April 2011 and completed a second term that ended April 2019.[29][30] Afterwards, he was accorded Amin the honorary title of Director-General Emeritus.[31] Along with his work as Secretariat, Amin also served as the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) at their New York office and as Special Representative of the UNEP Executive Director where he played a crucial role in reviewing international governance and his organizations participation at the World Summit of Sustainable Development.[28] During his time as Director General of IRENA, the organization was involved in the implementation of policies such as the Paris Agreement, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the G7 and G20.[28] IRENA's membership also grew to include nearly all countries world-wide.[32]

United NationsEdit

Various UN organisations work in the field of renewable energy. But IRENA is the only one dedicated to the promotion of 100% renewable energy worldwide. IRENA and the UN will join forces to speed up the transformation of the global energy sector.

Hélène Pelosse, former Interim Director General of IRENA, met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during 2009 Climate week in New York City, and together with Mr Ban explored future fields of cooperation between IRENA and various UN bodies. IRENA also seeks to cooperate with the UN and associated organisations like the United Nations University, UNESCO, the World Bank, GEF, UNIDO, UNDP, UNEP, and WTO in the areas of education and training, financing, access to energy, potential studies and trade.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "A milestone for future-oriented energy supply - BMU-Pressreport". (in German). Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  2. ^ Abbas Al Lawati (29 June 2009). "UAE to host Irena HQ". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Francesco La Camera Appointed as New IRENA Director-General". /newsroom/pressreleases/2019/Jan/Francesco-La-Camera-appointed-as-new-IRENA-Director-General. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 May 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ EUROSOLAR-Memorandum zur Einrichtung einer Internationalen Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien (IRENA)[permanent dead link], May 2001
  6. ^ "World Wind Energy Association". Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b The long Road to IRENA- A chronology, by Hermann Scheer Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "World Wind Energy Association". Archived from the original on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Renewable Energy News". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Preparatory Commission of IRENA". Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  11. ^ Lily Riahi (16 June 2009). "Hans Jorgen Kock explains why IRENA is 50 times more than the IEA". Renewable Energy World. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  12. ^ Abbas Al Lawati (29 June 2009). "UAE to host Irena HQ". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 1 July 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  13. ^ "Renewable energy agency to call United Arab Emirates home". Deutsche Welle. 29 June 2009. Archived from the original on 7 July 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  14. ^ "France's Helene Pelosse named head of Irena". Gulf News. 30 June 2009. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  15. ^ "Irena promotes deputy Adnan Amin to replace Pelosse". ReCharge. NHST Media Group. 26 October 2010. (subscription required). Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  16. ^ "'Fearful' Frenchwoman replaced as renewables agency chief". AFP. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  17. ^ "Speedier adoption of renewable energy mooted to offset climate change". Abu Dhabi News.Net. 9 September 2014. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  18. ^ "India to be the Chair at 9th Meeting of IRENA at Abu Dhabi in June". 11 April 2015. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  19. ^ "World Wind Energy Association". Archived from the original on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  20. ^ a b "IRENA Membership". IRENA. Archived from the original on 11 August 2021. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Canada Joins International Renewable Energy Agency". /newsroom/pressreleases/2019/Jan/Canada-Joins-International-Renewable-Energy-Agency. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  22. ^ a b c "Institutional Structure". /institutionalstructure. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  23. ^ "IRENA Assembly | Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  24. ^ Hub, IISD's SDG Knowledge. "Event: Ninth Session of the IRENA Assembly | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  25. ^ Hub, IISD's SDG Knowledge. "IRENA Council Meeting Addresses Strategic, Budgetary and Programmatic Issues | News | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  26. ^ "New IRENA Director-General: Francesco La Camera appointed". Power Technology | Energy News and Market Analysis. 14 January 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  27. ^ "Francesco La Camera Assumes Office of IRENA Director-General". /newsroom/pressreleases/2019/Apr/Francesco-La-Camera-Assumes-Office-of--IRENA-Director-General. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  28. ^ a b c "Director General Biography". /directorgeneral/biography. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  29. ^ "IRENA Staff Bid Farewell to Director-General Adnan Z. Amin". /newsroom/articles/2019/Apr/IRENA-Staff-Bid-Farewell--to-Director-General-Adnan-Amin. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  30. ^ "Adnan Z. Amin | Planetary Security Initiative". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  31. ^ Contributor, Guest (14 January 2019). "IRENA Director-General given honorary title". Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  32. ^ "[Press Releases] Mr. Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to visit ." Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Retrieved 6 March 2019.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit