IRENA HQ heads to Abu Dhabi

At the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) second session of the Preparatory Commission in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the Signatories designated Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, as the interim headquarters.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first developing country to host a major international organisation - the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena)'s headquarters will be located in Masdar City, which is currently under construction. Masdar City will be the world's first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city completely powered by renewable energy.

Germany and Austria withdrew their bids after realising an overwhelming majority of nations were going to vote for the UAE. However, while Irena's headquarters will be in the UAE, the former West German capital Bonn will host the organisation's "innovations branch" and Vienna will host Irena's office for liaison with the UN and other international energy organisations, the German Ministry of Environment announced.

Irena says its mandate will come from its 129 member countries, and it is expected to help industrialised and developing countries in improving their regulatory frameworks and build capacity for renewable energy.

The decision comes after high level lobbying. And recently, even former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair added his weight behind the UAE.

NB: the fallout from the news that IRENA will be located in Abu Dhabi should significantly raise the profie of next year's World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi (18-21 January 2010).

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