IRENA to be launched

IRENA-Conference BonnPress release, Bonn, January 22, 2009

The International Renewable Energy Agency will be established on 26 January 2009 in Bonn, Germany.

More than 100 states will attend the Founding Conference of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) next Monday in Bonn. Approximately 50 states announced that they would sign the treaty. Since the nineties EUROSOLAR and the WCRE have continuously promoted the idea of IRENA. The German government has initiated the process that now leads to the foundation of IRENA.

The idea to establish IRENA can be traced back to Hermann Scheer. Over the last two decades, as president of EUROSOLAR and chair of the World Council for Renewable Energy, he has constantly argued for the establishment of a political institution in the form of an international governmental organisation for renewable energy. „IRENA will provide advice and support for both industrialised and developing countries for a rapid introduction of renewable energy. IRENA will offer practical and concrete policy advice, accelerate technology transfer and facilitate access to effective financial mechanisms. The agency will support the know-how-transfer and help build capacity.” says Scheer who will deliver a speech during the Founding Conference. IRENA will act as an institutional counterbalance to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Energy Agency.

The German government has invited all members of the United Nations to attend the Founding Conference. Members of government from numerous participating  countries will issue statements, Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister for Development Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and Minister for the Environment Sigmar Gabriel will speak on behalf of the host. Spain, Denmark, France, the Scandinavian countries, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, India, Chile, Colombia, Nigeria and Kenya have amongst others announced to become part of IRENA in Bonn. On the day after the Founding Conference, signatories will discuss next steps and future activities of IRENA. Decisions will be taken on the selection procedure for the seat of IRENA’s secretariat and the Founding Director General of IRENA.

EUROSOLAR president Hermann Scheer introduced the „Memorandum for the Establishment of an International Solar Energy Agency (ISEA)“ in 1990. In 2001, EUROSOLAR organised an international impulse conference for IRENA. At the International Parliamentary Forum on Renewable Energies in 2004, more than 300 members of parliament asked for the establishment of IRENA. „The long road from the start of the initiative to the establishment of IRENA shows that forward-looking ideas are not always sufficient. Persistency and perseverence are equally important” states Hermann Scheer, recalling the struggle since 1990.  

He continues: “IRENA is the single most important step for an acceleration of the global introduction of renewable energies. IRENA will have to start first activities and build up initial structures immediately after 26 January 2009. After nineteen years of preparations we cannot afford to loose any more time.“

Contact: Nina Alsen, office of Hermann Scheer MP
Tel: 0049 30 227 73836

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