On 30 June and 1 July 2008, some 100 participants representing 44 countries met in the Paul Löbe Parliament Building in Berlin. They came together at the invitation of the German Federal Government to attend two parallel workshops of the preparatory process for the Foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The specific purpose of these workshops was to develop an initial work programme for IRENA and discuss its Statute and financing.
The workshops formed a major stepping stone in the Foundation of IRENA. Participants agreed that IRENA should aim to establish itself quickly as the primary international agency for renewable energy. This echoes the sentiments expressed by attendees at the Preparatory Conference for the Foundation of IRENA, held in Berlin earlier this year.
The two workshops helped prepare the ground for the Foundation of IRENA.
Workshop I discussed the initial work programme and Articles II to V of the Statute, relating to the organisation's objective, definitions and activities. Nine main activities were identified as a guideline for initial action, the details of which continue to be revised in a dynamic process using comments and contributions from country representatives. Key initial activities include the Agency’s own core competency development and providing policy advice. Consensus was reached that IRENA will not be a funding agency but rather facilitate information on how members can receive financial support. The private sector received special attention as the emphasis was on an integrative policy and practice approach.
Workshop II debated the Statute and financial mechanisms for IRENA and agreed on key elements of the Agency’s organisational structure. Three main organs (the Assembly, Council and Secretariat) along with subsidiary organs were agreed on, although a clear distinction between the role of the main and the subsidiary organs has yet to be made. Participants broadly agreed that membership should be open to as many applicants as possible and that procedures for admitting new Members and observers should be swift. Further discussion is necessary on the question of membership of international organisations and whether private entities and states should also be allowed to become observers.