The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was officially established in Bonn on 26 January 2009. Currently, IRENA has 154 Members and include almost all Eastern Caribbean States. More than 26 States have started the formal process of becoming Members. States in the process of becoming Members (Signatories / States in Accession) include Dominica.
Mandated by these governments worldwide, IRENA aspires to become the main driving force for promoting a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale. As the global voice for renewable energies, IRENA envisages providing practical advice and support for both industrialised and developing countries, thereby helping to improve frameworks and build capacity. Moreover, the Agency intends to facilitate access to all relevant information, including reliable data on the potentials for renewable energy, best practices, effective financial mechanisms, and state-of-the-art technological expertise.
With the establishment of the Preparatory Commission, the Agency began work the day after the Founding Conference on 27 January 2009. The Preparatory Commission consists of IRENA’s Signatory States and acts as the interim body during the founding period. The Commission will be dissolved after entry into force of the Statute, which will occur upon the 25th deposit of an instrument of ratification. The Agency will then consist of an Assembly, a Council, and a Secretariat.
Energy is a basic human need – indeed, it makes the world go round by increasing rates of productivity. Without energy, everything would come to a standstill. A necessary factor in fostering human development and economic growth is a secure, affordable, reliable, clean, and sustainable energy supply. Today we face monumental challenges: global warming, the waning of natural resources, explosions in population growth, increasing energy demand, rising energy prices, and unequal distribution of energy sources. All of these factors contribute to the urgent need to transform the energy sector - which primarily relies on fossil fuels - to one that uses renewable energies and energy efficient measures.
Renewable energy is one of the key solutions to the current challenges facing the world’s energy future. Many countries already foster the production and use of renewable energy through different approaches on a political and economic level because they recognise the many benefits renewable energy provides. The current use of renewable energy, however, is still limited in spite of its vast potential. The obstacles are manifold and include: lengthy permitting procedures, import tariffs and technical barriers, insecure financing of renewable energy projects, and insufficient awareness of the opportunities for renewable energy.
This is where IRENA comes in. A major task of the Agency is to develop comprehensive solutions to the above-mentioned challenges, such as fostering all types of renewable energy, and to consider various renewable energy policies at the local, regional, and national levels. In fulfilling its work, IRENA considers specific environmental, economic, and socio-cultural conditions of its Members. The active involvement of stakeholders from the energy industry, academia, civil society, and other institutions is very important for the Agency to implement successful and enduring policy solutions. Therefore, it intends to regularly consult and cooperate with organisations and networks already engaged in the field of renewable energy in order to complement and pool their work resources, thus creating added value.