22 January 2019
IRENA Assembly Discusses Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, Appoints new Director-General
UN Photo/Ariane Rummery
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The ninth session of the IRENA Assembly released reports on the geopolitics of energy transformation and gender perspectives on renewable energy.

Delegates appointed Francesco La Camera as new Director-General and named outgoing Director-General Adnan Amin 'Director-General Emeritus' in recognition of his role in establishing IRENA.

13 January 2019: The ninth session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) discussed, among other issues, the findings of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, and the role of women and gender equality in renewable energy. Delegates appointed Francesco La Camera as the Agency’s new Director-General.

The ninth session of the Assembly of IRENA, the agency’s supreme decision-making body, was attended by approximately 1200 participants from its 160 member states, including from IRENA’s newest member, Canada. The meeting’s agenda comprised: three regional ministerial meetings for Africa, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Latin America; and two ministerial round-tables on catalyzing off-grid renewable energy deployment towards universal electricity access and transformative innovation in the energy sector.

Highlights included:

  • The release of the report of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, which outlines how the global shift towards renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels will impact countries and change international relations. The findings include, among others, that the ongoing transformation will increase energy security and safety in most countries; and that fossil fuel exporting countries will need policies to adapt to decreasing fuel prices and diminishing political influence as decentralized renewable energy infrastructure will reduce the dependency to current energy importing countries.
  • The launch the report titled ‘Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective,’ summarizing the results of a survey among businesses and organizations in renewable energy from 144 countries. The publication shows that while women occupy a larger share of jobs in the renewable energy sector than in the conventional oil and gas business, they are still underrepresented in jobs requiring STEM skills. It also identifies barriers to increasing women participation and outlines measures to address them.
  • The appointment of Francesco LaCamera as the Agency’s new Director-General. Currently serving for the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, LaCamera will succeed outgoing Director-General Adnan Amin for a term of four years starting 4 April 2019. IRENA Director-General Amin was named Director-General Emeritus in recognition of his role in establishing IRENA and promoting its work as a leading organization in the global energy transformation.
  • The approval of US$31 million in funding for renewable energy projects in Guyana, Liberia and Togo by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and IRENA Project Facility. The funded projects aim to use cost-effective renewable energy solutions to achieve national energy access targets, while also reducing poverty through new jobs and providing electricity to healthcare facilities and schools.

The ninth session of the IRENA Assembly took place at the beginning of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW 2019), which also included the World Future Energy Summit (WFES 2019). Under the theme ‘Industry Convergence: Accelerating Sustainable Development,’ ADSW 2019 brought together representatives from 850 companies in 175 countries to explore new opportunities emerging from the digital transformation of the world economy, including regarding the global energy transformation and other sustainability challenges. WFES 2019 focused on the theme ‘Disrupting the Water-Energy-Food-Nexus to Optimize Efficiency, Security, and Sustainability.” Summit participants discussed, among other issues, how advancements in desalination and other technologies can support low-carbon, cost efficient clean water production.

ADSW 2019 took place from 12 -19 January 2019. The ninth session of the Assembly of IRENA opened right before ADSW, taking place from 11-13 January. WFES 2019 took place from 13-16 January. [IRENA Assembly blog and video coverage] [IRENA Press Release, 11 January, Global Commission Report][Report of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation] [Report on Renewable Energy and Gender] [IRENA Press Release, 13 January, Director-General Appointment] [IRENA Press Release, 13 January, Director General Emeritus] [IRENA Press Release, 12 January, IRENA/ADFD Project Facility Approvals] [ADSW 2019 Website] [WFES 2019 Website]

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