ABU DHABI, On the sidelines of the ninth session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today participated in the high-level segment titled 'Taking Stock of Progress'. Other attendees included world leaders and ministers from IRENA member states, Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, and Li Fanrong, President of the Assembly.

Addressing the audience, Taneti Maamau, President of the Republic of Kiribati, said: "Global perceptions of renewable energy have witnessed a considerable shift for the better in the last 10 years, enabling large-scale deployment of renewable energy solutions � particularly in the electricity sector � and continued innovation. Today, renewable energy technologies are viewed not only as tools for improving energy security, and mitigating and adapting to climate change, but are also increasingly recognized as investments that can provide direct and indirect economic advantages."

He added: "I wish to acknowledge the instrumental role of IRENA in the decarbonization efforts of its members. IRENA's support towards Kiribati, notably in the development of the Kiribati Integrated Energy Roadmap: 2017-2025, deserves special recognition."

In his speech, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, said: "Through associating with IRENA, Uganda has benefited, among others, from renewable energy resource assessments under the Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative and from capacity building in long-term energy planning. We have also initiated strong bilateral collaborations, such as the solar simulator that uses our town of Kasese as a pilot."

Dr Al Zeyoudi said: "IRENA's unprecedented progress has a special significance for the UAE, not only because we are the host country, but because our decision to host IRENA marked a fundamental and historic moment in our country's trajectory. In addition to challenging the perception of the Middle East as a hydrocarbon region, it highlighted the ample potential of renewable energy in developing countries."

He added: "The UAE set the region's first renewable energy targets amid widespread doubt about its viability and value. Today, renewable energy is the cheapest source of power in the GCC region � cheaper than oil, gas and nuclear options. Ten years later, we increased our clean energy target to 27 percent by 2021."

Outlining the UAE's progress in the field of renewable energy, Dr Al Zeyoudi said: "The UAE has broken the world record for the lowest solar energy cost multiple times. Through projects such as the 100 MW Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Abu Dhabi and the 5,000 MW Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park that is under development in Dubai, and with IRENA's support, we have gone global in our advocacy for renewables."

He also praised the role of Adnan Z. Amin in driving renewable energy deployment around the world during his 10-year tenure.

For his part, Adnan Z. Amin said: "IRENA was established at a time when the challenges of energy access, energy security and climate change were rapidly gaining prominence. Renewable energy had the potential to tackle each of these problems. It could provide access to those who lacked it, revitalize livelihoods and reshape economies."

He added: "Today, the Agency has shaped a major international cooperation framework for renewable energy. It is a globally recognized center of excellence, a source of authoritative advice to countries, and a catalyst for partnerships and concerted action. Its voice is heard in leading global and regional settings, in corporate boardrooms and expert discussions. IRENA is indeed a success story of international cooperation and multilateralism."

On the sidelines of the Assembly, Dr Al Zeyoudi discussed the increasing global uptake for renewable energy with Joao Pedro Fernandes, Minister of Environment and Energy Transition of Portugal. He also exchanged experiences in environmental sustainability with Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources of Singapore, and explored prospects for further collaboration with Benoit Revaz, State Secretary and Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

Source: Emirates News Agency