ECO Secretariat participated in the 9th session of IRENA Assembly
The 9th session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and related meetings were held from 10 to 13 January in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The session brought together ministers and other delegates from 160 IRENA Member States, representatives of intergovernmental organizations, civil society, academia, business leaders and other stakeholders in the field of renewable energy. ECO participated in the event as an observer of the 9th session of the Assembly.
IRENA is an intergovernmental organization supporting transition to a sustainable energy future, and serving as the principal global platform for international cooperation on renewable energy with a membership approaching near-universality. ECO and IRENA have been collaborating since 2014. Nine ECO Member States are Members of IRENA, while one is in accession process. Despite its young age, IRENA has proved itself as a well-recognized international institution advanced in realization of successful projects in renewables with regional focus. The Assembly represents the supreme decision-making body of IRENA convening annually.
The 9th session held against a backdrop of a growing recognition of socio-economic benefits of renewable energy, its falling cost as well as calls for stronger climate action and dynamic energy transformation based on renewables. The 9th session presided over by Mr. Li Fanrong, Vice President of China’s National Energy Administration.
At the Opening Session, statements by the President of the Assembly, the Host Country and high-level guests highlighted the latest trends and developments in the field of renewable energy. The Assembly featured several key discussions in numerous plenary and thematic sessions on critical issues related to the advancement of renewable energy and key drivers of the ongoing energy transformation. Notably, two ministerial roundtables provided for high-level discussion on the role of renewables in achieving universal electricity access, and the transformative impact of innovation in accelerating renewables deployment. Furthermore, three regional ministerial meetings, the launch of a first of its kind report on the geopolitical implications of energy transformation in the age of renewables, presentation of a ground-breaking new IRENA study on ‘Gender in the Energy Transformation’ and other activities took place.
IRENA Assembly elected Francesco La Camera (Italy) to be the next Director-General of IRENA for a term of four years. Mr. La Camera will take office on 4 April 2019, succeeding Adnan Z. Amin, who has been IRENA Director-General since 2011.
On the sidelines of the 9th Assembly session, ECO Secretariat networked with the representatives of the ECO Member States, IRENA and other stakeholders in the field of renewable energy (EU, SolarPower Europe, REN21, Enel, etc.) on the ongoing and potential areas of cooperation. Most notably, Mr. Fuad Farzalibeyov, ECO Director of Energy, Minerals and Environment held the consultation meeting with Mr. Gurbuz Gonul, Director of Country Support and Partnerships and his team. The consultation meeting streamlined priorities for cooperation between ECO and IRENA while both sides resolved on continuing result-oriented interactions that would pave the way in launching collaborative activities. Both sides expressed their intention to build strong institutional linkages, and ways/means for further enhanced engagement through policy framework documents. IRENA emphasized its encouragement by the ongoing prioritization of sustainable energy in ECO’s energy agenda and forthcoming launch of the preparatory phase of the project on establishment of ECO Clean Energy Centre. ECO invited IRENA to consider the possibilities for becoming one of the partners of the subject project and supporting it in its preparatory and operational phases, as well as for conducting study on establishment of ‘Clean Energy Corridor’ in the ECO Region that could target, among others, the identification of potential coherence, synergies and complementarities among the CECECO Project, ECO Regional Electricity Market (ECO REM) and the possible establishment of ‘Clean Energy Corridor’ in the ECO Region. Both sides also expressed their willingness in designing and implementation of joint bankable projects and programmes that could contribute to energy transformation in ECO Region, as well as in subsequent supporting ECO Member States in renewable energy financing and risk mitigation. With this in mind, ECO and IRENA could engage in on-demand and tailor-made joint activities and projects. Likewise, IRENA invited ECO to support the process of implementation of the “Regional Action Plan unlocking Renewable Energy Potential in Central Asia”.