IUCN, through representatives of the its Commission on Environmental Law (CEL), attended the final Preparatory Commission Meeting and the Inaugural Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which took place in Abu Dhabi on 3 - 5 April 2011. At an audience with the newly elected Director General, Adnin Amin from Kenya, he expressed the desire to work with other organizations like IUCN, and obtain research assistance.
IUCN is keen to ensure that biodiversity risks and opportunities of different energy technologies for biodiversity are recognized, and managed. This can be done through integrated planning as well as comprehensive environmental impact assessments. Other areas in which Mr. Amin expressed interest in collaboration include life cycle analyses, elimination of subsidy market distortions, evaluation of renewable energy options, and enhancement of the role of women.
IUCN was represented by Richard Ottinger, Chair of the Commission’s Energy Law and Climate Change Specialty Group and Group member Professor Shakeel Kazmi. Ottinger noted, “The Preparatory Commission and Assembly meetings were notable for the harmony among the participating nations and their accent on making significant substantive progress on the IRENA mission.”
IRENA is a unique organization dedicated to the promotion of renewable energy. Its mission is “to promote the widespread and increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy … and to promote, both domestically and through international cooperation, the transition to a sustainable and secure energy supply.” IRENA will share experiences on best practices and lessons learned regarding policy frameworks, capacity-building projects, available finance mechanisms and renewable energy related energy efficiency. Also IRENA was requested by the Assembly to ensure the inclusion of renewable energy in the UN Rio+20 deliberations.
“The inaugural assembly was very productive,” declared Ottinger. “Our participation offered to IUCN significant opportunities to contribute to the work of IRENA.”