ABU DHABI, 23rd May 2016 (WAM) – Tonight at its headquarters in Masdar City, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) gathered Member State representatives, international stakeholders and local leaders to celebrate its fifth year of operations. Since its first Assembly, 80 additional countries have joined the Agency bringing its total membership to 148, with 28 more countries in the process of joining.

“The five years since the establishment of IRENA as a fully-fledged intergovernmental organisation have seen unprecedented development in the deployment of renewable energy at a global scale,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. “Renewable energy has emerged from the margins of the global energy system and is increasingly seen as the solution to a myriad of challenges including climate change, air pollution, energy security, energy poverty and sustainable economic development.”

“IRENA’s presence at Masdar City has been a source of pride for us. As an international force behind implementing renewable energy solutions around the globe we believe that IRENA’s mission is aligned with UAE’s commitment towards diversifying its economy and expanding its renewable energy sector,” said Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

“We are proud of what the agency has achieved in the past five years, and we feel that its strategic efforts has had an instrumental effect on advancing the renewable energy sector both locally and globally.”

“Germany has supported IRENA from the very beginning and it is great to see the success of this truly global agency in such a short time,” said Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. “Renewables have undergone an incredible development in the past five years. A change in our energy landscape is taking place and this trend must be accelerated in the coming years. IRENA can support this transition with sharp analysis and concrete advice on the ground. May IRENA’s voice become even louder in the future.”

The evening highlighted the successes of IRENA and of the renewable energy sector over the last five years. In addition to substantial development and growth in renewable energy capacity, investment, jobs and policies, a flourishing system for international cooperation on renewable energy has emerged. IRENA’s engagement with more 175 countries is producing outcomes that are filling knowledge gaps, strengthening domestic capacities, informing policies, highlighting the business case and raising awareness about the many benefits of renewable energy.

“The growth of IRENA as an Agency is not just an IRENA success, but rather a testament to the strong commitment to renewable energy worldwide,” said Amin. “IRENA was created to support and accelerate the ongoing global energy transition. Together with the strong support of our Members, we have made great strides in our first five years. We expect even greater achievements in the years to come.”

To push forward the work of the Agency into its next five years, more than 300 high-level government representatives from 94 countries will gather for IRENA’s 11th Council meeting tomorrow in Abu Dhabi. Composed of 21 IRENA Members, the Council meets twice annually to facilitate cooperation among Members, oversee implementation of the IRENA work programme and complete substantive preparations for the Agency’s annual Assembly.