From 14 to 15 January 2017, the seventh session of the Assembly of IRENA gathered 3 heads of state, 75 ministers, government officials from over 150 countries, and representatives from the private sector, civil society and other international organisations. As IRENA’s ultimate decision-making authority, the Assembly brought together the international community to reaffirm the global renewable energy agenda and make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transition.
Taking place at the St. Regis Saadiyat Hotel in Abu Dhabi, with a day of preliminary meetings and discussions on 13 January, the Assembly focused on the critical role of renewable energy in combating climate change, expanding energy access and meeting global sustainable development goals.
This year’s Assembly designated Uruguay as President of next year’s eighth session, and the Afghanistan, Nigeria, Norway, and Sudan as Vice-Presidents.
The Assembly featured a number of strategic and programmatic discussions around central themes of the Agency’s work and mandate. They were designed to promote an exchange of information and best practice among Members and experts in support of efforts to increase the uptake of renewable energy — taking advantage of the annual sessions of the Assembly as the global cooperation platform in the field of renewables.
The Assembly also featured a photo exhibit of the winning pictures from the International Photo Competition IRENA held in 2016.
Notable events that took place throughout the three days included:
- The 2017 IRENA Legislators Forum on 13 January, which gathered legislators from around the world to facilitate dialogue on the deployment of renewables and critical elements of the energy transformation underway in countries around the world.
- A High-level meeting on renewable energy in South East Europe on 13 January, which discussed the opportunities and challenges in expanding the share of renewable energy in the region’s energy mix. The event was a platform for IRENA to launch its publication on cost-effective renewable energy generation in region.
- A High-Level Event on renewable energy in islands settings on 13 January, provided insight into planning the transition of island energy systems, discussed recommendations for future work, and obtained feedback and guidance on how to best leverage the work carried out to date and increase the overall impact of IRENA’s islands programme.
- A Ministerial Roundtable on 14 January, ‘Towards an Economy Fuelled by Renewable Power: Innovation for the Next Stage of the Power Sector Transformation’, discussed the tools and technologies for the power sector transformation, approaches to coordinate that the transformation, and how IRENA can assist in innovation strategies.
- On 14 January, IRENA and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) announced the funding of renewable energy projects in developing countries as part of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility.
- A Ministerial Roundtable on 15 January, ‘Catalysing off-grid renewable energy deployment – Towards universal electricity access and the attainment of SDGs’, discussed how off-grid renewables can be best integrated into national electrification strategies and maximise socioeconomic benefits.
- There was a high-level event to mark the launch of Rethinking Energy on 15 January, an IRENA publication that examines the dramatic changes of the energy sector under way in many countries — the growing maturity of the renewable energy market, coupled with technology advancements and policy refinement — providing an opportunity to develop an energy system that underpins sustainable development objectives.
- There were also programmatic discussions on ‘Enabling the private sector to accelerate renewable energy deployment – Corporate sourcing of renewables’ and ‘Driving the decarbonisation of the energy sector through innovation’ on 14 and 15 January respectively.
- A press briefing featuring IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin and United Nations General Assembly President Peter Thomson, which can be viewed in its entirety on IRENA’s Facebook page.
Followers of IRENA’s Twitter feed, the hashtag #IRENA7A, and IRENA’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were kept up-to-date on the developments of the Assembly. Photos from the Assembly are available on Flickr.