Mr. Andris Piebalgs (EU), Keynote speaker at the Founding Conference
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was officially established in Bonn on 26 January 2009. This was a milestone for renewable energy and a clear sign that the global energy paradigm was changing, due to the accelerating commitment from governments.
A total of 125 delegations attended the Founding Conference and a total of 75 nations, developing and industrialised alike, signed the agency’s statute. Some of the Founding Members include: France, Italy, Poland, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Guatemala, Chile and Argentina. Many other nations expressed their strong commitment to IRENA’s goals, and their intention to join.
The conference was chaired by Germany's Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, and Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul. because Denmark and Spain had actively supported Germany in IRENA’s development from the beginning, their respective Ministers, Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard and Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Miguel Sebastian Gascon were elected vice-chairs.
The aim of the new agency was to promote a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy worldwide. IRENA was the first international organisation to focus exclusively on renewable energies, addressing the needs of both the industrialised and developing worlds. IRENA would offer advice to Members on creating appropriate framework conditions, undertake capacity building and foster the dissemination of and learning from best-practice examples in technology transfers and the financing of renewable energies. IRENA would also cooperate with other international organisations and institutions active in the field of renewable energy.
The agency began its work only a day after the Founding Conference, on 27 January 2009. During the first session of the preparatory commission, the agency’s interim body, signatories to the IRENA Statute adopted criteria and procedures for selecting its Interim Director-General and its interim headquarters, and invited all Members to submit offers and nominations by 30 April 2009. They also created the institutional framework to allow IRENA to embark on the first elements of its work programme. The Preparatory Commission welcomed Egypt’s invitation to host the next session, scheduled for 29-30 June 2009. Decisions concerning the interim director-general and interim headquarters would be made during that session.
Download all documents regarding the Founding Conference